Hedgehogs in Darrick Wood by Trevor Morgan

We have not seen any hedgehog in Darrick and Newstead Woods even though we have put “camera traps” alongside the borders of the woods and human habitation and gardens. I was of the opinion that there were no hedgehogs in the area , so imagine my surprise when I saw a hedgehog waddling along the pavement near to our house in Northlands Avenue which is just a stone’s throw from the woods.

I have not seen a living hedgehog in Britain for over 40 years, and I had almost forgotten what they looked like. My wife and I saw ours at around 9 30 pm, a week ago, as it was beginning to get dark.  At first I thought it was a large rat and was confused by the shape until we got a little nearer. We were delighted to see this iconic animal alive and well near our garden.  I wasn’t quick witted enough to photograph it as it disappeared under a car.

When, I was a lad in Wales nearly everyone would see a hedgehog in their garden. We used to pick them up; they seemed to be unafraid of us as they were wrapped up tightly in defensive mode. Foxes could not harm them, neither could cats or dogs, but badgers could easily unravel them. Hedgehogs and badgers have, however, lived alongside each other for thousands of years. The demise of the hedgehog in Britain can surely be attributed to human beings not from picking them up but from habitat destruction.

Some human beings preyed on hedgehogs which would be wrapped in clay and then cooked on a fire so that the spikes could easily be removed. This country pursuit although cruel did not lead to the demise of our favourite insectivore. Hedgehogs were easily surviving the 1950’s and 1960’s; but they are now having difficulty surviving habitat destruction.

If you see a hedgehog then do not pick it up as it will have plenty of fleas and ticks living on its spiky skin: it should be left alone. You can help their cause by leaving gaps in your garden fence to allow them to roam freely. Also, why not dispense with the use of pesticides in your garden to give insects and other invertebrates  a chance – the hedgehogs feed on them.

Recording your sighting will help hedgehog researchers and you can input your observation here: https://bighedgehogmap.org/

For more information on hedgehogs see here: https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/

Bird survey as at 03 June 2019

Bird Survey as 03 June 2019

 

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 we are identifying by the sound of its call.

 

A list of bird species seen or heard and recorded 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.

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 garden warbler.

Chiffchaff – warbler family

Other birds reported as seen or heard by members but not recorded on survey (11 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.

Tawny Owl – heard and seen

Bull Finch

Mallard

Mandarin Duck

Not seen on Bird Survey but expected (3 species)

Mistle Thrush

Pheasant,

Coot

 

Bird Survey as at 01 March 2019

Bird Survey as 01 March 2019

 

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 we are identifying by the sound of its call.

 

A list of bird species seen or heard and recorded is shown below (36/37 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) probably 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.

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)

Birds heard on survey but not positively identified by sight (2 or 3 species)

Garden warblers, Black caps – these two species can easily be confused by song.

Chiffchaff – warbler family

Other birds reported as seen or heard by members but not recorded on survey (11 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.

Tawny Owl – heard and seen

Bull Finch

Mallard

Mandarin Duck

Not seen on Bird Survey but expected (2 species)

Mistle Thrush

Pheasant

The Constitution of Friends of Darrick and Newstead Woods

The Constitution of the Friends of Darrick & Newstead Woods & Common as amended March 2018

 

 

Article 1

Name: The group will be called the Friends of Darrick & Newstead Woods & Common.

 

Organisation: The Friends of Darrick & Newstead Woods & Common is a non-profit making organisation

 

Article 2

The aims and objectives of the Friends will be as follows:

 

  • To help to secure and promote the conservation and protection of Darrick & Newstead Woods & Common. To monitor its plants animals and wildlife habitats and maintain and improve its biodiversity.
  • To promote its use as a place for quiet, informal enjoyment, recreation and study.
  • To help with practical conservation through voluntary action for the benefit of wildlife and the community under the supervision of the London Borough of Bromley’s Parks and Green Space Contractors and its professional officers.
  • To assist in providing an educational experience for the general public in the history, natural history and biodiversity of Darrick & Newstead Woods & Common.
  • To seek funding or donations to further activities which meet the above aims and objectives.

 

Article 3

Membership will be open to anyone interested in promoting the aims of the Friends group.  Applicants for membership shall normally become members upon submission of their application form with or without a voluntary donation. Membership shall be renewed annually.

Renewals should be received by 30th April and will last for one year.

Membership will entitle each individual in the household over the age of 16 the right to vote.

At its discretion the committee may refuse to admit an applicant.

 

 

Article 4

Monies raised from donations, gifts, or grants awarded to the group shall be used for the express purposes of pursuing the aims and objectives of the Friends of Darrick & Newstead Woods.

The committee is empowered to pursue or make applications for grants to secure funds to support the Friends planned activities and may take whatever steps are necessary to meet the requirements of the awarding bodies.

No persons representing the Friends shall make or enter into any agreement with any persons or organisation that may incur a financial liability save for those purposes as agreed by the committee as necessary to carry out the objectives of the group.

 

Article 5

Management of the group

The management committee will consist of the Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and at least two other members.

The management committee shall be responsible for the day to day running of the organisation in accordance with its articles and will be answerable to members.

A quorum shall be four members of the committee present.

The committee shall have the power to co-opt.

The committee shall normally meet at least three times a year.

Representatives of the London Borough of Bromley’s  Parks and Green Space Contractors  shall be invited to attend committee meetings in an advisory capacity.

The Chairman will have a second and casting vote.

 

Article 6

Duties of the committee

To keep a register of the Friends of Darrick & Newstead Woods & Common.

To operate a bank or building society account to facilitate deposit and withdrawal of funds.  Three officers of the committee will have signing powers in regard to account operation.  Any two signatures may be used to effect withdrawal of funds.

Following election at AGM, members of Management Committee will elect from their number people to act for the following year as Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer. No committee officer will normally serve more than three years in the same office but in the event of no-one coming forward, the current officers can serve for one more year, during which time another person willing to take on the duties must be found.

 

Article 7

Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held in March of each year, with not less than 14 days notice given.

The agenda will include:

  • Minutes of the previous AGM
  • Chairman’s report
  • Treasurer’s statement including independently examined accounts, examined in January every year by any two ordinary members elected at the previous AGM.
  • Election of committee members for the following year:- Nominations for committee members should be received by the Secretary before the published date of the AGM but can be accepted at the meeting at the discretion of the Chair. Nominations shall be supported by 2 members and signed by the nominee indicating willingness to serve.

The activities of the group shall be approved at the AGM.

Decisions needing a vote shall be decided by a simple majority of those members present, the Chairman having a second and casting vote.

Voting rights shall be restricted to members of the group over the age of 16 years and each member shall have one vote.

 

Article 8

Amendments to the constitution can only be made at the AGM or at an Extra-ordinary General Meeting (EGM).  Proposed amendments must be circulated at least 21 days before the General Meeting at which they are to be considered, and must be approved by a majority of those members present. A minimum of 4 members may request an EGM.

 

Article 9

The Friends of Darrick & Newstead Woods & Common will be dissolved if a resolution to that effect receives a majority of those present at either an Annual or Extra-ordinary General Meeting.

In the event that fewer than four people can be found to form the management Committee then the chairman must call a General Meeting and table a dissolution resolution.

In the event that the friends of Darrick & Newstead Woods & Common ceases to operate, the Committee is given the right to assign any or all assets held by the group to a successor group or another local group with similar aims or a charity if required.

 

 

Saplings by Janey Marriott – 08 January 2019

Saplings

For the past 4/5 years I have been watering young trees in my road. It is a sad sight to see saplings struggling then dying because of the lack of water. We are fortunate to have a Council that so readily responds to the request for trees to be planted on our roadsides. The introduction of the green bags around newly planted trees has puzzled me; I couldn’t see how it helped with the retention of water and it certainly wasn’t to protect  them from any passing deer. I have however, recently discovered how they work. Down one side is a double layer of the green material; in my years of watering, I had not noticed it; this double layer opens up  to form a “sack” into which water can be poured;  the water then seeps slowly through the bottom enabling more efficient hydration of the tree. May I encourage everyone to look out for saplings in their area and give them the occasional good watering; in the height of the summer when there has been little or no rain, it is particularly important to give young trees sufficient water so that the water can seep down into the roots. You are then likely to be rewarded by a happy, healthy, adult tree to bring pleasure for years to come.

Janey Marriott

2018 Plant Survey Report by Christine Wallace

Plant Survey 2018

 

Using the same Area plan as last year, Sue Hayes and I have completed the 2018 Plant Survey of Darrick and Newstead Woods.

 

There are 14 “Areas” grouped broadly into Meadows (4), Wet Areas (3) and Woods (7).  Please see attached map.  Inevitably of course, the meadows have woods or shaws on the boundaries and the woods have wet areas or open glades/ woodland edges etc. but the areas are fairly well defined geographically.

 

In 2014 we identified some 196 species; in 2015, 288 species and in 2016, 321 species.  In 2017, we were up to 328 species and this year, rather to my surprise, we are up to 345 having added 17 although not all have appeared this year.  I should perhaps say that just because we don’t see any particular plant one year, I don’t delete it from the list because it may be either that I haven’t found it or it may not have fully developed enough to be seen e.g. biennials or orchids that only appear when conditions are suitable.

 

The new species identified this year are:

110   Columbine                                                                    305   Box

114   Common Poppy                                                         320   Shining Crane’s-bill

114   Welsh Poppy                                                          366   Vervain

120   Wych Elm                                                                389   Buddleia

144   Red Campion                                                          392   Great Mullein

152   Sticky Mouse-ear                                                   394   Foxglove

178   Trailing St John’s-wort                                          402   Wall Speedwell

210   Hairy Bitter-cress                                                   R14   Downy Oat-grass

—-    Bay (Laurus nobilis)

 

Page references are to:  The Wild Flower Key ———————- by Francis Rose

or:   Grasses, Sedges, Rushes and Ferns — also by Francis Rose

 

Things we have noticed:

  • The weather has been distinctly odd this year: very cold (snow in March), very wet then hot in April, then cold, then a heatwave and dry since May until recently. The bluebell season was very poor. Early Purple Orchids gave a good display but the rest of the orchids were largely lost in the grasses. No Pyramidals at all in Newstead Meadow and only one Common Spotted. Lots of Southern Marsh and Common Spotted in Broadwater Meadow but very hidden in the grass and not growing very tall. There were a few Pyramidals and Common Spotted in Tubbenden Meadow – but again quite overwhelmed by grasses.
  • Having rediscovered the large patch of Creeping Cinquefoil in Newstead Meadow last year, I was somewhat surprised to find an even larger patch of it nearby this year — although it isn’t any easier to find in the long grass.
  • The moles in Newstead Meadow, after a late start (very dry, no worms) have been busy again in October and I look forward to seeing what seedlings develop in their tailings.
  • The Amphibious Bistort flowered this year. Oh dear.
  • Where the Friends have been working in the Triangle, removing bramble and heavily overgrown ivy – and no doubt churning up the earth, Red Campion, Great Mullein and Foxglove have appeared for the first time.
  • Similarly, where the Friends were working to remove bramble and blackthorn behind the houses near the Plane Crash site, Common Red Poppy has popped up in the disturbed and exposed ground.
  • Welsh Poppy is a new species and has had a very good year. It is all over the Stables End entrance and in the gulley behind Brian’s house (and has popped up in my garden too).
  • Bay (Laurus nobilis) is not normally considered a native wild plant but since I can see it in 5 of the 14 Areas of DNW, I have included it in the Plant Survey. It appears to be becoming naturalised!
  • Black bryony has been quite prolific this year, thankfully not in my garden. It has strong white roots that go deep.
  • A very poor year for walnuts and chestnuts – just too dry. (Poor squirrels.)

 

Our very grateful thanks are due especially to Judy John who has been the final arbiter of identification and to the members of the Thursday work party who have contributed to our lists by acting as extra pairs of eyes.

 

Christine Wallace   5/11/2018

DNW Plant Survey 2018 by Area DNW Plant Survey 2018 by Area

Map of DNW Areas