Showing posts from October, 2016

Rainscapes in LB Enfield


DEFRA and Natural England come to Tolworth Court Farm Moated Manor

On Friday team members from Natural England and DEFRA,  from  the south-east and London regions, descended on Tolworth Court Farm Moated Manor on an awayday; to assist us with the ongoing management of the site. Elliot gave a tool talk, prior to participants extending the dead hedge along the boundary with the Hogsmill footpath. Materials were procured from a local woodsman who delivered to us before the day began.

Hazel faggots  and stakes were unloaded and taken to an area under where the previous group - a Duke of Edingburgh award scheme- had finished. By the end of the day our compost toilet had a coat of protective paint and the hedge had increased substantially in length.
Participants were surprised at the amount of bird life present as we watched jays,  woodpeckers and kestrels; as well as a number of small birds such as goldfinches.

Habitat Creation at Hampton Court Park

Members of the Richmond Biodiversity Partnership enjoyed a walkover of the paddocks at Hampton Court Park (aka Home Park) to see the newly created wetland habitats- including  sluices to aid control of the Longford River-  installed over the last two years.

Part of good stewardship of the wildlife in this  oasis- is the control of mink -which are prevalent in this catchment, particularly from the river Mole and our stretch of  the Thames. They have caused havoc with local water vole populations.
The  skins emphasised the size difference between  the male and female, with the latter able to gain access to a water vole burrow.The wildlife officer demonstrated the use of the mink rafts, which are in use at many wetland sites in  south-west London.
This one is missing the roof to demonstrate the wet clay, which serves to reveal footprints of the visiting animals, to warn of the possible presence of mink.

We were told that the rafts are no longer baited with food as they became a magnet …

Hogsmill Electrofishing

Over the last two days members of the Environment Agency have been undertaking fish surveys at four locations along the Hogsmill. This is from Hogsmill Lane (just off Villiers Road) to Oakland Way-Chamber Mead KT19 upstream, just  across the borough boundary.
This type of survey is  usually undertaken by boat - although backpacks were used in the shallows upstream at Ewell. Circular electrofishing 'anodes' attract the fish, which swim towards the the charged equipment, where they are stunned but not harmed. They are then decanted to large buckets for further examination or 'processing'.
During the initial survey  at Elmbridge Meadows, a surprising catch of ~100 fish was made in the first of three runs. This is virtually one fish every metre of the ~90m netted area and included: chub, dace, roach, stone loach, gudgeon, stickleback, minnow, bullhead and an eel.

At  Worcester Park Road-Tolworth  A240  a similar number of fish were caught. By far the majority of the minor