Showing posts from June, 2016

Hogsmill River: Spates and Sewage

Today the Hogsmill reached 1.1m at the Grange Road/Watersplash Close gauging station. This is the highest level since 2000. There is a good website to view this data relayed from gauging stations here https://flood-warning-information.service
An amount of this water is from road  or pluvial run-off; but unfortunately a component-apparent from the smell- is sewage.

Every part of the already hard-pressed sewage infrastructure is overtopped: leaching and  leaking; pouring and pooping - a soup of raw sewage. The bankside vegetation captures that which is generally known as 'rag'. This includes the nappy liners, the wet wipes, condoms, tampons, dental floss etc.
 This is additional to the daily dosage from the many misconnections polluting every outfall along it's nine mile course. see previous posts on sewage spills and dead fish and rag removal (21.2.16,19.4.16 and 2.5.16) and related Flood risk position and catchement approach (10.3.16, 19.3.16).

 Yesterday, in attempt to q…

News from Tolworth Court Farm Moated Manor

The Environment Trust has been undertaking habitat management at Tolworth Court Farm Moated Manor with a number of participants from two Challenge group events. 
They have cleared large amounts of debris left last year after the willows were pollarded. The initial clearance  was undertaken by the company employed by the electricity generator, to keep the area under the pylons clear of tall vegetation.

Some of the brush has been used to make a dead hedge (above right) that will create habitat as well as secure the site,  preventing access from the road.  

Fingers crossed we will soon  have our own compost toilet. This has been donated from a site in Twickenham. It was  carefully dismantled last week and hopefully we will be able to put the pieces back together again!
A reptile survey has commenced with 30 x felt squares -1 x 50cm- placed at three transects around the site. A student has volunteered to check them on a regular basis; while undertaking a parallel project at the  Universi…

Friends of Kingston Cemetery

The Friends of Kingston cemetery had its second task day yesterday: litter was collected, brambles tamed and a flower walk was undertaken.

An area around the  Japanese knotweed was cleared so that it can be sprayed to prevent its spread.

The conservation areas have been extended, giving the wild flowers in the old turf a chance to thrive.

It is hoped the group will convene once monthly, so watch for a notice on the gates for the next one-all welcome.

Field madder, ox-eye daisy, birds foot-trefoil and meadow vetchling are attractive to pollinating insects.

Mr Biscuit, the brown long-eared bat

Lovely as they are, I pretty much dread getting brown long-eared bats to look after; as they do not like being captive and often fail to thrive. Mr Biscuit (named by the family that found him) was an exceptional bat, that was able to increase his weight from 6gs to 8.5gs in only ten days. He quickly learnt how to feed himself on mealworms, a diet these animals would never encounter in the wild; and then he soon learnt how not to feed, in order to get me to feed him, so he could fall asleep in the warmth of my hand!
Brown long-eared bats rarely leave the canopy of woodland and so they are usually found  at  few local sites in our urban landscape, including the greenbelt and the larger parks. The only known local maternity colony was lost a few years ago due to the development of Normansfield hospital and now all local records pertain to solitary animals (rather than a colony).  This one was returned to the area near Kingston bridge, where he was found last Friday. He flew three or fou…

Bat woman feature!

Nice feature on  my work in the current Earth Island, includes: Citizen Science, public education as well as consultancy. Good understanding of   factors affecting bats such as light pollution and increased urbanisation.

'Light pollution is also a major concern, as it disrupts bats’ nocturnal rhythms and thus behaviors such as feeding and commuting'......

Effects of urbanization vary by species. Overall, however, the impact of urban development on bats has been harmful — and dramatic. According to Jo Ferguson, built environment officer for the Bat Conservation Trust, some of the United Kingdom’s bat populations declined by more than 90 percent over the twentieth century. This was largely due to such factors as the loss of natural roosting, commuting, and foraging habitat. (Climate change and weather variability also played a part.) '

Harp Trapping, Jubilee Wood, Chessington

Last night's harp trapping at Jubilee Wood was the final session until the end of July. This is to avoid the bat birthing period. We caught 6 bats in the first part of the evening -until 00.17- when the last bat  turned up on the string-pole rather than the catch-bag!

When weighed it was obviously larger than the four soprano pipistrelles that had formed the bulk of our evenings catch up until that point. Although the -fifth  finger measurement divided into the  forearm length- did not produce the 1.25 ratio required to confirm the identification of a Nathusius pipistrelle; the split cell veination on the wings, rough mane around the neck, larger size as well as their propensity to 'play dead' was sufficient to validate the species ID. Just in case a dropping was taken for DNA purposes.

The most exciting catch of the evening was a Whiskered/ Brandts bat. The only other record for this species in the borough was the prolonged surveys undertaken at Seething Wells during 201…

Harp Trapping for bats in Richmond Park

This year the London Bat Group joined the Bat Conservation Trust's Nathusius Pipistrelle Survey. So far this project has collected some great information about the distribution and movements of Nathusius' pipistrelle in the UK, and will be continuing in 2016.

Our involvement required the purchase of 4 harp traps, sonic lures and a range of ancillary equipment such as tripods and spring balances. The next step was to obtain some training. Although I had participated in harp trapping with the Surrey Bat Group at Teazle Wood and  Old Bury Lake in Dorking; putting together a harp trap requires  patience and skill.

During March, Katherine Boughey from BCT along with her partner, kindly demonstrated the putting together of our new purchases. We were joined by members of the Bat Group, BCT, along with the conservation team from Chessington World of Adventures - on whose land we are hoping to trap in future.

The next step was the in-field training with the project leader Daniel Hargr…