Bird Survey Report 01 May 2021

Bird Survey as of 01 May 2021 by Trevor Morgan

We have been conducting a bird survey, mostly weekly, since 19th April 2018. We have been counting the number of birds of the species that we have seen. Three areas have been surveyed – Darrick Wood and Meadow, Newstead Wood and Meadow and Darrick Wood Hornbeam area/Broadwater Wood.

It should be noted that this is not a scientific survey and bird numbers cannot be accurate as birds are very mobile. We have only recorded species which we can positively identify by sight. But in the case of the Tawny Owl we are identifying it by the sound of its call.

We have been continuing just as monthly surveys from last year and this will continue.

During the 2nd quarter of 2021 we have seen and heard two new species – the Blackcap, which is a member of the warbler family and the Canada Goose. We always suspected that we had Blackcaps in the woods because other members have reported hearing them. We had also thought we had seen fleeting glances of them, but we could not be sure that it was in fact a Blackcap. Our Blackcap was a male seen near the Tile Farm road entrance to Newstead Wood. Canada Geese are, of course, common, but they are an invasive species. We are recording Jay’s more often and sometimes in company of one another. We, therefore, conclude that Jays are resident in the woods.

2020 along with 2016 was the warmest years in official records and some of the months were our driest. By early August, the large pond near Lovibonds Avenue had completely dried out.

April 2021 was also very dry and one of the coldest months on record, however our ponds have not dried out owing to the intense rain in March 2021.

Every time my wife and I have walked through the reserve after dusk we have heard Tawny owls, so I think it is safe to say they are resident.

Recently, we saw a Grey Wagtail feeding near the small pond. This is the second time that my wife and I have seen a Grey Wagtail in the reserve. A friend of ours, Michael Lee took a good photograph of it – below. Even though the Wagtail was not observed on the official survey I am going to record it as a definite species seen in our woods. The Grey Wagtail is now regarded as rare in Bromley, so Bromley RSPB has been given its photograph and the actual co-ordinates of where we saw it.

The Grey Wagtail at the small pond by Michael Lee (Pictures of the Great Spotted Woodpecker and the Goldcrest are featured below)

The Goldcrest by Trevor Morgan                                                                  

The Great Spotted Woodpecker by Trevor Morgan

 A list of bird species seen or heard and recorded on the official monthly survey is shown below (40+ Species):

Carrion Crow

Magpie

Jackdaw

Jay

Wood pigeon

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Song thrush

Blackbird

Robin

Great Tit

Blue Tit

Long Tailed Tit

Marsh Tit

Starling

House/ Tree Sparrow (difficult to distinguish between the two species from a distance)

Swift

Wren

Ring Necked Parakeet

Stock Dove

Treecreeper

Nuthatch

Dunnock

Common Redstart (06 November)

A Warbler species not a Blackcap (06 November) possibly a Chiffchaff

Goldcrest (20 November 2018)

Collared Dove (20 November 2018)

Common Gull (26 November 2018)

Domestic Pigeon (26 November 2018) pure white): this is the same species as the feral pigeon.

Feral Pigeon (same species as the domestic pigeon)

Chaffinch (26 November 2018)

Greenfinch

Green Woodpecker

Black Headed Gull

Redwing

Pied Wagtail

Fieldfare

Tawny Owl (heard only)

Goldfinch (15 Feb 2019)

Coal Tit (20 Feb 2019)

Garden Warbler

Grey heron

Blackcap 6th April 2021

Canada Goose 6th April 2021

Grey Wagtail – 03October 2020 and 22 April 2021

Birds heard on survey but not positively identified by sight (1)

Chiffchaff – warbler family

Other birds reported as seen or heard by members but not recorded on survey (5 Species).

NB, some members are better at identifying birds by call rather than sight. Also, some bird species such as starlings and jackdaws are capable of mimicking other bird species to the confusion of humans and the mimicked species.

Sparrow Hawk

Buzzard – Photo Member’s article in News Letter

Bull Finch

Mallard

Mandarin Duck

Not seen on Bird Survey but expected (3 species)

Mistle Thrush

Pheasant,

Coot

 

 

Say No to The Mow

FODNW members might be interested in this opinion piece. The full article including photographs can be read in the attached PDF – just click on the link.

Say No to the Mow Poster

 

Say No To The Mow

Join Plantlife’s, ‘Say No to the Mow’ Campaign this May (or all
summer) see https://www.plantlife.org.uk/uk/discover-wildplants-nature/nomowmay
Why is it a good idea to leave some grassland (including parts of lawns and
some road verges) uncut during spring and summer before being cut and
cleared (on a high cut)?
• Flowers allowed to develop provide food for pollinators
• Long grass provides:
• food and shelter for many invertebrates e.g. grasshoppers &
caterpillars of Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Large, Small and Essex
Skipper butterflies
• opportunities for predatory insects and other invertebrates
• Grass & wildflowers are food for many declining butterflies & moths
• Invertebrates and seeds in long grass provide food for birds
• Undisturbed grassland is good for carbon capture & storage
• Wild verges can link green spaces
• Wild lawns provide foraging opportunities and shelter for larger
animals e.g. hedgehogs, toads and frogs
• Grassland insects which fly at night are food for bats
Biodiversity and the ecosystem services it supplies are in crisis and
we all need to help!
• Ask for some of your local park to be managed as wildflower
meadow
• If you have a garden, let part of your lawn grow long this summer
• Contact www.fixmystreet.com if you like an uncut verge & complain
to fixmystreet & Local Councillors when verges you value are cut.
• Contact bromleybiodiversity@gmail.com if you know of verges of
value to wildlife and people. Thank-you. Bromley Biodiversity Partnership

An appeal from Janey Marriott regarding Saplings

Saplings

Bromley Council plants many new trees every year in our Borough. But they need watering, especially in the first three years of their life. Trees are planted with a green hydration sack around them. This sack has a double layer of the green material down one side which opens to form a bag in which water can be poured. The water seeps slowly through the bottom of the bag giving the tree a better chance of absorbing the water. If you see a tree with a green hydration bag around it, it means the tree is still young enough to need watering. So please consider giving trees near where you live a helping hand; you will be rewarded with a beautiful tree for years to come.

Janey Marriott April 2021

A Note about Road Verges from Dr Judy John of Bromley Biodiversity Partnership   

A Note about Road Verges from Dr Judy John

When Bromley’s road verges were cut in May 2020 following the first Covid-19 lockdown many residents contacted Bromley Biodiversity Partnership devastated at the loss of wildflowers. We kept a list of these verges and why people were so upset. Many missed them simply because they thought them beautiful, others were worried because it meant there was no nectar for pollinators, some felt the flowering verges provided a gateway to their area, that they linked areas of greenspace enabling species to move between them and that it was more interesting for children going to school.

Bromley Biodiversity Partnership have been promoting more wildlife friendly verge management following Plantlife Road Verge Management Guidelines (see Plantlife :: Managing Grassland Road Verges) for several years but there are worries that some people perceive uncut verges as untidy and uncared for.  However, the problems of biodiversity loss and climate change are becoming ever more acute and managing road verges for wildlife can help: native grasses and wildflowers provide food (foliage, nectar and pollen) and shelter for invertebrates, including pollinators, and can link areas of greenspace so wildflowers can spread and butterflies , bees and other pollinators can more easily move between green areas. They also store carbon in the soil beneath them.

 

Verges uncut during spring and summer, as proposed, can be highlighted for their positive impacts. For example, an initiative called the Blue Campaign (partnered with Keep Britain Tidy and Eco-Schools England) encourages installing a small blue heart on a wooden post in road verges and other grassland newly managed as meadow, see https://bluecampaignhub.com. Cutting a narrow strip along the edge of road verges can also help.

 

If you do have any verges near you that you think might be worth managing for wildlife (where safe to do so) please let us know with the reason you value the verge. Contact bromleybiodiversity@gmail.com, talk to other Residents and Residents Associations and email your local councillors to let them know.

 

Thank-you for any help you can manage,

Dr Judith John for Bromley Biodiversity Partnership                                                   23rd February 2021

 

Below are attached some examples of wildlife usually seen on verge sides.

Brimstone Male Butterfly on Red Clover Flower:

Buff Tailed Bumblebee:  

                                                  

 Skipper Butterfly:

Essex Skipper, Thymelicus lineola. Hesperidae. Grass day at Beeche, then to Down House and its Great House Meadow, led by Dr June Chatfield. 6 July 2015.

Hoverfly on Yarrow Flowers:

 

Large White Butterfly on Yarrow Flowers:

Skipper Butterfly on Knapweed:

 

 

The Age of a Tree by Alan Oliver an FoDNW member

The Age of a Tree

How old is a tree and how long is a piece of string? The answers to these two questions are, somewhat surprisingly, interconnected.

I have often wondered about the ages of the large oak trees in Darrick Wood and, in particular, the one in the roadway leading to the swimming baths which my wife and I pass by every day when taking our dog for a walk.

I knew that a tree’s age could be calculated by counting its rings but as chopping down one of our oaks wasn’t really an option, I decided to investigate whether there was any other way.

As is invariably the case these days the internet had the answer, or rather several answers, all of which involved measuring the circumference of the tree – hence the piece of string. With the aid of a trusty assistant (my wife in this case) holding one end of the string stretch it around the trunk at about shoulder height and then measure the relevant length of the string with a tape measure. You should then divide that figure by the rate at which the tree grows each year (the website shows the growth rates for various different types of tree; in the case of an oak it gave a figure of 1.88 cm per year).  Using this method I calculated the age of the oak in the baths road at approximately 160 years.

This method will give you a rough estimate of a tree’s age but the growth rate of an individual tree apparently depends on a number of factors including the proximity of water, the nutrient base of the soil and competition from trees nearby.

I tried this method of calculation out on a fir tree in our garden which I know the previous owners planted as a rooted Christmas tree in the mid 1970’s (it is now over 40 feet tall) and the result was certainly pretty accurate.

I have tried, without success, to find a significantly larger and hence older oak in the Wood than the one in the baths road but if anyone knows better why not get to work with your piece of string!

Bird Survey as at 15 January 2021

Bird Survey as of 15th January 2021 by Trevor Morgan

We have been conducting a bird survey, mostly weekly, since 19th April 2018. We have been counting the number of birds of the species that we have seen. Three areas have been surveyed – Darrick Wood and Meadow, Newstead Wood and Meadow and Darrick Wood Hornbeam area/Broadwater Wood.

It should be noted that this is not a scientific survey and bird numbers cannot be accurate as birds are very mobile. We have only recorded species which we can positively identify by sight. But in the case of the Tawny Owl we are identifying it by the sound of its call.

We have been continuing just as monthly surveys from last year and this will continue.

During the last quarter of 2020 we have not seen or heard any new species. However, we are seeing Jay’s more often and sometimes in company of one another. We, therefore, conclude that Jays are definitely resident in the woods.

2020 along with 2016 was the warmest years in official records and some of the months were our driest. By early August, the large pond near Lovibonds Avenue had completely dried out.

This winter has been exceptionally wet so far and the ponds are now full to the brim.

The few cold spells that we have had have seen the arrival of Redwings and we observed a flock of them in December. We have also been hearing Green Woodpeckers but not seeing them. This year we have not seen any Fieldfare but another cold spell could see them arriving.

Every time my wife and I have walked through the reserve after dusk we have heard Tawny owls, so I think it is safe to say they are resident.

 

A list of bird species seen or heard and recorded on the official monthly survey is shown below (40+ Species):

Carrion Crow

Magpie

Jackdaw

Jay

Wood pigeon

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Song thrush

Blackbird

Robin

Great Tit

Blue Tit

Long Tailed Tit

Marsh Tit

Starling

House/ Tree Sparrow (difficult to distinguish between the two species from a distance)

Swift

Wren

Ring Necked Parakeet

Stock Dove

Treecreeper

Nuthatch

Dunnock

Common Redstart (06 November)

A Warbler species not a Blackcap (06 November) possibly a Chiffchaff

Goldcrest (20 November 2018)

Collared Dove (20 November 2018)

Common Gull (26 November 2018)

Domestic Pigeon (26 November 2018) pure white): this is the same species as the feral pigeon.

Feral Pigeon (same species as the domestic pigeon)

Chaffinch (26 November 2018)

Greenfinch

Green Woodpecker

Black Headed Gull

Redwing

Pied Wagtail

Fieldfare

Tawny Owl (heard only)

Goldfinch (15 Feb 2019)

Coal Tit (20 Feb 2019)

Garden Warbler

Grey heron

Birds heard on survey but not positively identified by sight (2)

Black caps – can easily be confused by song with the garden warbler.

Chiffchaff – warbler family

Other birds reported as seen or heard by members but not recorded on survey (7 Species).

NB, some members are better at identifying birds by call rather than sight. Also, some bird species such as starlings and jackdaws are capable of mimicking other bird species to the confusion of humans and the mimicked species.

Sparrow Hawk

Buzzard – Photo Member’s article in News Letter

Black Caps – heard

Possible sighting of Black Cap on Darrick Wood meadow during survey – too fast for positive identification.

Bull Finch

Mallard

Mandarin Duck

Grey Wagtail – 03October 2020

Not seen on Bird Survey but expected (3 species)

Mistle Thrush

Pheasant,

Coot

 

Bird Survey as of 16 October 2020 and a Grey Wagtail – By Trevor Morgan

Bird Survey as of 16 October 2020 and a Grey Wagtail

We have been conducting a bird survey, mostly weekly, since 19th April 2018. We have been counting the number of birds of the species that we have seen. Three areas have been surveyed – Darrick Wood and Meadow, Newstead Wood and Meadow and Darrick Wood Hornbeam area/Broadwater Wood.

It should be noted that this is not a scientific survey and bird numbers cannot be accurate as birds are very mobile. We have only recorded species which we can positively identify by sight. But in the case of the Tawny Owl we are identifying it by the sound of its call.

We have been continuing monthly surveys this year. We thought that we had exhausted our list of species, but I was surprised to see a Grey Wagtail when I went for a walk with my wife through Darrick Wood on the 3rd of October 2020. This bird cannot be recorded on the official survey as it was not on our standard route.

2020 has been one of the warmest years in official records and some of the months were our driest. By early August, the large pond near Lovibonds Avenue had completely dried out.

Darrick and Newstead Woods in general had also completely dried out. During the hot summer months, we were counting a reduced number of birds on the survey, especially the smaller species. In early October, the drought was really starting to be relieved. My wife and I took a walk through the woods before the deluge started. The large pond was beginning to fill up again and to our surprise we saw the grey wagtail searching for food alongside the edge of the new pond. Grey Wagtails can be confused with Yellow Wagtails, but they have longer tails and black feathers on their chin and throat. Yellow Wagtails migrate in October; Grey Wagtails are resident.

Our bird flew off the pond onto to the path alongside the Marsh and we got a better view to positively identify it. We got a very pleasant surprise and we have identified a new species that can survive in our reserve despite the unfavourable drought, as the Grey Wagtail needs water to survive. Perhaps the Marsh had not completely dried.

The full report can be see below:

 

Bird survey report 03 october 2020

Bird survey report 03 october 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Privet Hawk Moth

Whilst doing the July 2020 bird survey we saw the caterpillar of the Privet Hawk Moth on one of our paths in Darrick Wood. I was surprised to see such a caterpillar; it was between 7 and 8 cm long. This is a magnificent and colourful insect beast. I have never seen such a handsome and large specimen before.

The adult moth is equally as impressive, but it would rarely be seen in our woods as it only flies after dark.

Seeing this caterpillar and all the other wildlife in the reserve confirms to me that our woods should remain protected and preserved for future generations to see the wonders of nature.

https://butterfly-conservation.org/moths/privet-hawk-moth