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Autumn 2020 Newsletter

Co Chair Update

AGM

See at the end of this newsletter about the AGM on Thursday 24th September 2020 to be held on Zoom. You will need to register to attend.

Register Here

As lock down eases and life returns to pre pandemic ways (or not), the use of the park will change again.  We have had no information from the Council as to when or if they will be opening the children’s play area although questions have been asked.

The park was a source of great relief during the lock down to so many, where exercising, walking, space were difficult to get.  The Council didn’t always get it completely right, but they did listen to requests and responded well as possible during difficult times for them as well.  We would like to thank them for their policing of the Thames path, the signage and keeping the services going. 

Unfortunately there have been some unsavory aspects to the lock down.  Although the toilet block is now open again and being cleaned, people are not using it, preferring to relieve themselves in bushes.  Unpleasant for the gardening crew, difficult for dog walkers and unclean for the rest of us. This is something that needs to be sorted out as soon as possible. 

Mini Forest

River view in Bishops Park, credit Alex Gee

There is some discussion about turning the Moat Garden into a ‘Mini Forest’ – the idea of planting over 600 native trees on the space of a tennis court.  Native trees, grow 10x faster, 30x denser, are 100x biodiverse and 100% organic.  Urban forest acting as mini carbon sinks.  If you look at this link there is more information and an excellent YouTube film of some of the mini forests that have already been planted.  

The Moat Garden is not a suitable place as there is a restriction on any works/roots that might affect any archaeology below the surface. However there are other sites in the borough that might work.

Rose Garden

We will wait until either the autumn or next year to plant out the new rose bushes.  Although the dead heading and care that the gardening group have given the garden has resulted in the most amazing display this year.  We do hope that you managed to get out and appreciate the garden.

Nature Notes

words and photographs by Jane Swithinbank
 One of the pleasures of summer is to sit beside the purple loose-strife fringed pond in Bishop’s Park and watch the newly emerged dragonflies and damselflies in their magnificent adult form.  Some species will have spent up to five years as nymphs hatched from eggs crawling around the depths going through a series of between five and fifteen different molts to finally reveal the winged adult.  They will only have a brief time to find a mate and begin this extraordinary cycle all over again.

Of around 57 species of dragonfly and damselfly in the UK the ones I photographed were the male migrant hawker dragonfly and the male blue-tailed damselfly.  At rest, the damselflies have their wings stretched along their bodies while the dragonflies have theirs at right angles.  Dragonflies have the largest eyes for their body size of any animal, taking up most of the head. About 80 % of the brain deals with visual information.  Fossils have revealed that their ancestors had a wingspan similar to that of a kestrel!

We have had several moorhen broods as well as mallard and tufted ducklings.  I didn’t see any mandarin young this year after seeing the males in full breeding plumage in the Spring.  They probably set up home at The London Wetland Centre.

Among the lovely plants like Marsh Willow Herb and Water Mint around the ponds it was good to see thistles which provide habitats for spiders to make their homes in and are excellent food for bumble bees and also leaf cutter bees.  In the last few Nature Notes we have been following the Dogwood family through the seasons and here it is in summer with its heads of creamy-white four-petaled flowers.

The long, dry spell has brought on very early signs of autumn this year with many trees dropping their leaves over the past few weeks as a survival strategy.  Hopefully they will all be successful and I look forward to seeing them all refreshed in the Spring.  Enjoy the Autumn.