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Showing posts from 2019

Fungi of Kingston Cemetery

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Glistening ink caps The fungi in Kingston cemetery has been astounding this year both in abundance and diversity.  Glistening ink caps have been found in all grassland areas especially near the river. Through a hand lens a small crystal of mica can be seen in the caps which is where they get their name Coprinellus micaceus.  Downy boletes are located wherever there are birch trees and great examples have been found at three locations. They are popular with slugs and woodlice, so none of them has made a great photo. Brown roll rims have exhibited great burrows and tunnels. It has been wonderful to see the fungus gnats laying their eggs, or in one case appearing through exit holes as they take their first flight  ready for the evening's bat food.  The stags horn on coniferous wood which is probably from the bark chips spread on a grave.  A fresh fly agaric with no sign of a veil within the canopy of the birch  An another Amanita this time panthe

Autumn bats

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This Autumn we emptied about 30 bat boxes on Tooting Common. These were situated mainly on the great two-hundred year old oak trees, but also on the occasional ash and clumps of willow trees. Every single one had been used by an animal or bird. Mostly blue and great tits had used the boxes for bringing up their broods, but wrens had used them as night roosts (quite recently according to fresh droppings). Wood mice had entered a few (near the lake) and we suspect a pygmy shrew in the one below, where there was a clearly defined small exit hole, near the pink area in the photo.   In some cases birds will nest in the box bottom and bats can hang in the top, benefiting from the warmth of the birds. In all cases, spiders had used the boxes for breeding and we found centipedes, large numbers of two species of slug, woodlice and earwigs. Althouh we didn't find any bats but with the range of species recorded- it is more than likely- that bats  spend many nights within these solid

Nightsniffing: a field ecology of urban change

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'Nightsniffing' is the brainchild of Cliff Hammett and investigates how we can best understand the processes that change the city in relation to all the beings that inhabit it. It aims to create public bat walks that combine the exploration of hidden urban creatures with an interrogation of the systems and structures that shape the city. The latter is undertaken with a 'data sniffers', that hook up to the GLA planning authority database. We went to Brunswick Park and other local greenspaces in the Denmark Hill area, to try and track down some late season's bats. Although we didn't find any bat activity we did find there had been a lot of planning applications in the vicinity including 'changes of use' and a reduction in social housing provision.  It was interesting to see that a massive London plane tree had recently been granted a Tree Protection Order and was sporting a notice to that effect. Large trees are important features for bat

Cambridge Road Estate KT1 3JB

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filming the Capture TV series  CRE is an air-cleaning, nutrient-recycling, housing estate of 230 trees planted on the top of former 1960’s hubs such as: The Feathers public house, a church and an ice-cream parlour…… These lost conversations  found voice, in a new row of 1970’s shops, heralded by a giant printing press, next to a hairdresser, a mini-mart and newsagent (where the latest heart attack and domestic disputes were hot topics). Appearances on dramas such as ‘The Bill’ and currently ‘The Capture’ are not exactly reputation enhancing, but ‘crime- ridden’ is unjust, as neighbouring wards top the statistics x a factor of 4 for most crimes except anti-social behaviour. Politicians suffer amnesia from sentiments in the Addison Housing Act, playing down positive actions, such as hard working, community spirit, beautiful gardens and not least..... a 100 feather bundles which ‘sparrow’ along the roofline, popping in and out of dropped tiles, sweeping dusty gutters. Pale-e

Green Lane Sewage Spill 24.9.19

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Nitrate top score Last weekend was the annual Waterblitz co-ordinated by the Earthwatch Institute's Freshwater watch. Volunteers head out with testing kits over the same long weekend so that all the data points are comparable to the next.The data goes to a central database so that researchers can identify areas for further investigation. Nitrates and Phosphates are tested at 5 sample sites and I usually choose the same ones. The confluence of the Bonesgate and the Hogsmill has had phosphate levels and the two sites below the Hogsmill Sewage works always has high nitrate readings. Heras fence  Sample site three is just above  confluence of the Tolworth Brook with the Hogsmill near Green Lane recreation ground. Less than 24 hours after taking samples a sewage spill occurred at the Green Lane Recreation ground at the site where it was suggested we should have a community orchard. It is almost  a year since the last event 15.10.18 that led to a closure of the open space fo

The Tolworth Apple Tree

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I wondered if there was ever a time that the progeny of an old apple tree, that was situated by the A240 (just by the bridge over the Hogsmill stream... was ever.... kept in  darkened trays, affixed to the walls of the old Apple store or as windfalls rolled around the orchard floor to be pannaged by pigs Trying not to get myself wet I took some home for a prod and taste  the skin was tough, but the flesh quite sweet with essence of droves, fields and streets.

Guest Blog: 'Soundwalk' by Alison Whybrow

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Soundwalk on the Cambridge Road Estate, curated by Alison Fure I love the walks that Alison organises, I discover so much about the place I live. This one didn’t disappoint. About 20 of us assembled outside the cemetery gates wrapped up and ready to go, some from across London, mostly local. It was going to be a chilly evening. We took time to listen to the birds, Jackdaws, making a racket in a tree next to us, and notice the connections and avenues that the trees created both on and off the estate. The older the tree, the richer the biodiversity that it houses. Walking with Alison is a different way to experience place. A deeper more personal way, seeing things I wouldn’t see and sharing knowledge that google wouldn’t know how to provide. With recorded snippets of sounds and stories of her own life there, Alison introduced us to the people, the place, and the wildlife. The community hall where Save the world Club rescues perfectly good food destined for landfill and stocks th