Friday, 8 August 2014

What's been going on in Bedfords Park

Many apologies for the lack of information over the past few months. No excuse !!

Recent work parties have continued to litter pick, clear ditches, remove fallen trees from main track south of the visitors' centre and ditch. Repair fencing to the west of the main pond. We cleared the path in the south of the park that we built some years ago as this had become overgrown with brambles, nettles and a couple of fallen trees also had to be cleared. New steps were built to the north west of the main pond as the slope had become very slippery.

We had a cake stall at EWT's  (Essex Wildlife Trust) Easter Event which raised money for our funds.

We have also helped out at EWT's  11th birthday event in the park and we also had a tombola and cake sale which raised more money for our funds. In case you're getting the idea that we are making loads of money we ought to point out that most of the money raised goes towards out annual insurance that we have to take out as part of our agreement with the council when we became an approved 'friends group'.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Early Spring Butterflies in Bedfords Park

Here is the latest report from one of our members: (dated 17th March 2014)

In complete contrast to last year it has been a fine early spring. Most of the Prunus cerasifera (Cherry Plum) blossom has already gone over in the park and Prunus spinosa (Blackthorn) is coming out now. Many butterflies enjoyed nectaring on the former and also on Sallow blossom. Some of the sallow catkins have gone over already as well and one near the lake was covered with bees on 9th.

Bird news:  Daniel saw a Red Kite flying over the park on 8th March. March and April are often good months to look out for this majestic raptor, which usually involve passage/wandering birds. The first migrant birds are arriving in the park with 3 Chiffchaffs and 1 Blackcap all singing on 16th. The chiffs were in full song and had probably arrived a few days earlier. When they first arrive they tend to feed constantly (after a long migration in this case wintering in the Med) and sing more subdued or sporadically.

It has been one of the best early springs for butterflies, certainly in recent years.

Bedfords Park LNR  9th March (12.00-16.30):   32 Peacock, 15 Small Tortoiseshell, 15 Comma, 5+ Brimstones (4 male, 1 female) and 1 Red Admiral.

Bedfords Park LNR  16th March  (12.15-14.45):   20 Peacock, 18 Small Tortoisehell, 15 Comma and 5 male Brimstones. Also 1 Orange Underwing moth in Larch Wood.

All of the hibernating species had a good late summer and autumn last year and with this good start will hopefully continue to thrive in 2014.

Pam saw a White sp probably Small on 13th. If the warm weather continues the species which overwinter as pupa should all appear before the end of the month (this includes some Speckled Woods, Holly Blue and the other Whites incl Orange Tip). Watch this space!

I visited Havering Country Park on 12th - lots of butterflies here too including a total of 34 Commas!

The first four photos were taken in Bedfords Park on 16th March - two different Brimstones one with a little nick along the edge of the hindwing near the 'tail': the remainder in Havering Park .

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Wildlife in Bedfords Park 2014

Following  info on wildlife spotted in the park so far this year:

Birds recorded in the park so far this year are listed below. Still a few common species lacking which I have normally seen by mid-January (eg Meadow Pipit, Tufted Duck). If the weather improves (less rain) I will try some dusk visits for owls, Mandarin Duck and Woodcock; also some early morning visits. The Peregrine Falcon was reported on the SE Essex RSPB site on 14th by two visiting birders - seen over Larch Wood. I still need this species for my BP list. I have seen Peregrines over Gidea Park on two occasions which is not far away and there is at least one previous park record; all presumably wanderers from Romford Town Centre.

The 2 Firecrests continue the regular occurrence of the species for the site (fifth consecutive winter since 2009). 

Mute Swan
Canada Goose
Little Egret  (01/01/14)
Peregrine Falcon
Black-headed Gull
Common Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull  )
Herring Gull                       } flyovers
Great Black-backed Gull   )
Feral Pigeon
Stock Dove
Collared Dove
Green Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker

Song Thrush
Redwing  (150 on 15th)
Mistle Thrush
Firecrest (2)
Long-tailed Tit
Coal Tit
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Carrion Crow
Lesser Redpoll

Hi all.

A few butterflies have already been seen this mild February at a number of sites particularly from the 16th. I finally caught up with my first in 2014 in the park yesterday.

2 Peacock

2 Small Tortoiseshell  (also 2 seen by a n other including 1 probably same individual as 1 of mine)

1 Comma

I also disturbed a basking Grass Snake which slithered off before I could take a photo, the earliest I have seen here out of hibernation.

With the mild weather it remains very quiet for birds wintering in the park but many are singing. The plant growth is so in advance of last years very late spring. Prunus cerasifera is out in full flower but I could not find any nectaring butterflies on it - a few bees.

Friday, 21 February 2014

February 9th 2014 Work Day

This work day, just for a change' we decided to continue mulching the areas near to the visitors' center and, at last, we've used up all the mulch! We also carried out our usual litter pick. The litter we collected this time included a TV which was dumped in the visitors' center car park, a printer, a bag of plastic toys and a box of drinking glasses. These were all dumped by the recyclable bins in the main car park. Why ??? The glasses fitted in the glass container anyway so we did what someone else couldn't be bothered to do. Some of the toys were taken to a local charity shop. The Council (that's you and me) will have the expense of disposing of the tv and printer. The rest of the rubbish was the usual sweet wrappers, plastic drinks bottles, plastic bags, drinks cans etc etc. Most of this could have been taken home, or at least put in the bins provided. Never mind, we really look forward to picking up other peoples rubbish every month.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

December 2013 and January 2014 work days

December 15th 2013 was a combined work day and cake sale. Essex Wildlife Trust held their Christmas Event and we had a table selling home made cakes. We made a reasonable profit although it would have been higher if the weather had been better. This money will go towards our insurance costs. Although we are a voluntary group we have to take out and pay for our own insurance. The rest of us continued weeding and mulching in the areas planted with native shrubs and trees earlier in the year close to the visitors, centre. We did as much as possible until we were rained off. The pile of mulch doesn't seem to be getting any smaller!

Several hundred  bulbs have been planted each side of the track leading up to the Walled Garden which should provide a nice splash of colour later in the spring. Will also provide some much needed nectar for the insects. These were planted by the SEETEC guys who have been working with Havering Council for some months now both within the park and in the Walled Garden.

Our January work day was on  the 12th. Again we continued weeding and mulching. The pile of mulch still doesn't seem to be getting any smaller ! Also some pruning was carried out on the lime trees along the track that leads up to the walled garden. The 'epicormic' growth on the trunks and around the base of these trees hadn't been cut back for many years and was beginning to encroach on the track. In the afternoon we cleared away a couple of large branches that had fallen over the ditch and across the main drive that leads down towards Lower Bedfords Road. We continued south and around the main lake litter picking. The lake was, unsurprisingly, quite high due to all the rain we've been having.