20th January 2021
Congratulations to Joe and Kamala and praying for a kinder world going forward from today.
16th January 2021
Trusting the Light is at the end of this tunnel we find ourselves in and we work together for the good of all in 2021.
12th January 2021 - Kissed a frog to find your Prince/Princess or Socially distancing?
9th January 2021 - Below is our piece for the Twickenham Tribune online paper today!
Dear Teresa and Berkley, Happy New Year!
We are writing to thank you for this excellent community online news publication which allows so many of us to have a voice on local issues. The River Crane Sanctuary group was set up to alert and inform neighbours/public about Metropolitan Open Land in private ownership and its importance as a habitat along the River Crane corridor in West Twickenham. It achieved its initial aim to raise awareness and went further to gain a solid base of people passionate about wildlife and nature who supported us in successfully completing objectives which highlighted further actions needed to safeguard and enhance the environment here for the wellbeing of all life. We had amazing support from local groups and in particular Colin Cooper, Habitats and Heritage/previously SWLEN, who helped us from the beginning with expert advice and practical tools as we were only amateurs in this area compared to the wealth of knowledge already present in the community. Our main strength was decades of witness knowledge of where we lived and what was present and worth saving; plus, the passion to keep going against bureaucracy and mis-information.
The climate has changed with all that 2020 has highlighted to a greater audience of what is truly important and we have noticed better ecological management in some areas which were saved from residential buildings but neglect in other areas to promote a build which has been refused twice and is now awaiting an appeal decision. Councillors Elengorn, Fleming, Allen and the Labour and Green Party have all taken an interest in issues raised in this location and we thank them for their unbiased and objective actions when needed.
We have noticed more input from environmental groups and nature loving individuals which are fantastic and because we would like to hear and see voices/photos from other points of view we will continue to submit our piece only on the first Saturday of the month and trust others will fill the gap! With Love and Gratitude - Sammi and Iain.
Poem by O. Herford.
“I heard a bird sing in the dark of December.
A magical thing and sweet to remember.
We are nearer to Spring than we were in September.
I heard a bird sing in the dark of December"
Don’t forget the Big Garden Bird Watch and listen for the different songs and sounds from visitors.
This Starling even bathed in our water bowl on the grass whilst a Redwing waited.
Both Red Listed!
2nd January 2021 - Happy New Year!
“Every day is a fresh beginning; Listen , my soul, to the glad refrain,
And in spite of old sorrow and older sinning, And puzzles forecasted and possible pain,
Take heart with the day, and begin again.” c.Susan Coolridge
Snow Drops greet the New Year and below are some photo memories of 2020.
Butterflies in Spring, Bees and Flowers of Summer and then the Russet of leaves in Autumn.
What will this New Year bring with climate change and all the other issues?
We wish everyone a peaceful and healthy 2021 with a return to a more balanced way of life that enables us to share this wonderful planet with all its inhabitants
29th December 2020 Moon shot!
26th December 2020
“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost:
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.” J.R.R. Tolkien
Boxing Day ends a week which has been up and down for many of us but we trust that readers will enjoy the Wise Words above and Robin below and look forward to a better New Year. Robins remind us of our dear Dad, Neville, and always brings a smile now instead of sadness. We have birds ‘allocated and named’ after all our departed loved ones which help us and our children cope with losing a beloved person in our lives. Perhaps this simple activity will help those who have lost someone cope with their grief and loss.
The Winter Solstice on Monday 21st December also saw Jupiter and Saturn align in the night sky closer together than they have been for 400 years. Interconnectedness is the way forward. Nature and the natural world are truly wonderful.
23rd December 2020
Happy Christmas Eve. Winter solstice passed with Jupiter and Saturn closer together and let's hope we will be too in the New Year.
Stop Press: Urgent action needed! 22nd December Deadline to lodge objection comments
Please support our objection by writing to local Nature Groups, Councillors and direct to the Appeal Office at above link to lodge your concerns with this contentious application which has no support accept for one tacit support comment from the Owners of the adjacent MOL following their own failed attempts to build on the MOL/Greenspace itself.
rcschurchview2019 objection Click here for our Objection also available on the Planning Site below link if it is working!
19th December 2020
Are You Dreaming of a White Christmas?
Here is a photo from Christmas Past. Like the snow, the Sycamore Tree is no more having been felled some years back. It was a haven for tree creepers, woodpeckers, redwings, song thrushes and gave so much joy to neighbours. Councillors voted unanimously to keep TPO 1046 on this MOL/Greenspace in March 2020 but unfortunately, we have seen another established cherry tree hacked away on this border and no doubt it will now be deemed damaged and permission granted to fell it; if indeed permission is actually sought. The Woodland Trust gave out small Cherry and Rowan tree bare roots to plant which will take some years to reach the height this beautiful Cherry Tree had established and which again offered so much to wildlife here and beauty for us to enjoy. Maybe the Councillors who were at that meeting could chase up the Tree Officer to see what he has actually done in the nine months since they voted for supervision of this river corridor space as it was of such value to the community? Many thanks for those who have already registered objections to the Churchview Garages Planning Application and Appeal and you have until 22nd December to still say your piece and encourage the Appeal Officer to listen to local voices. We can but hope!
Look behind You! – Kestrel bathes in stream as we keep our respectful distance and no flash or noise photography.
Live in harmony with nature.
13th December 2020 Bend in the River
Beautiful sunny Sunday walk along the Sanctuary route from Kneller Gardens towards the Shot Tower. The Café in the Gardens is a Community enterprise project offering training and work experience to the under twenty-fives and it is good value with scrumptious home-made cakes and hot/cold food. Please support this worthwhile cause before or after your walk. We noticed that our Egyptian Geese, Toot and Carmen, had moved house to this spot although it may be another pair choosing the secluded lawn to socially distance from the more crowded river bank by the recreation park!
Wild areas, with self-seeded trees and large fruiting ivies, are an essential habitat for many insects and creatures. It takes years to establish patterns of foraging and lines of navigation which are not easily replaced by hacking down ‘overgrown’ hedgerows and stating that ‘they will recover’. The height of these trees, whether native or not, cannot be replicated with saplings for many years and we are already in a crisis for insect and species survival. Add to this the use of unprofessional but cheap contractors and we have another environmental impact that could be avoided with proper inspections and enforcement. Unfortunately, we seem to have tree officers who can only look at trees and not habitat in making decisions and we are told that we are ahead of the law as it stands at present asking for these considerations to be taken into account and especially if it is on private land. It is vital we stop further builds in nature sensitive spots for these reasons alone. Churchview Garages site object here: Appeal Objections due by 22nd December 2020
5th December 2020
Redwings visiting us and feeding along the Hedgerow and Trees bordering the Churchview Road Garages site by Trafalgar Infant School’s Playing field.The sports area was built on part of this MOL and the habitat and remaining dark space is ever decreasing for our precious wildlife. A new Appeal has been launched by the Developers to build two new houses of three storeys in height. We buried a redwing on Wednesday which fell victim to one of the many domesticated animals which are here now due to the impact of housing in this congested area. Nineteen back gardens have been lost in Churchview Road to add to the 75 flats and new vicarage. Campbell Road itself has lost the old Vicarage and its large garden to six new builds and a block of flats and opposite these is another block built on our previous corner shop. I think we have given to the housing market in West Ward here and we need our precious Green Spaces protected for our own wellbeing. The footfall on the opposite bank of the River Crane (which is only 40 metres away from the proposed build site) was recorded as 1000 in 2019 and 2500 in 2020. Permitted development rights have exploded the loft/extensions along Lincoln Avenue also bordering this narrowest part of the river making it vulnerable to pollution.
The area immediately behind the Appeal site is designated Site of Importance for Nature Conservation SMINC but this is not even mentioned in the newly submitted Ecology Impact statement which also fails to note other important details of relevance for the protection of this dark space and rare site. The timing of this Appeal is months after the deadline for submissions but which has been allowed and gives us only until 22nd December to launch contesting evidence against their seven-document case. Happy Christmas! If you think that building over the garages’ narrow imprint is unacceptable please make a representation on the above link.
28th November 2020
Male and two female Hooded Mergansers visited the Barnes Wetlands and so did we last week. Sir Peter Markham Scott’s statue commemorates his substantial contribution to conservation of wildlife and wild places. He was one of the Founders of the World-Wide fund for Nature and designed its Panda Logo. We are lucky to have the variety of places to visit in our borough which connect us to nature and offer opportunities for learning at all stages of life. The Hides are closed during lockdown but it is still worth visiting this amazing place and we even saw some Reindeer in the Woods on a carpet of glorious autumn colours. More photos are on our Flickr website showing what is visiting us even as the weather grows colder. Wrap up and get out there and let nature lift our spirits and connect with others with a smile in our eyes even if we are wearing a mask
22nd November 2020
Water is an invaluable resource for all life and for the quality of life on our planet. How it is managed and shared will be one of the major challenges to face as Climate Change continues to influence housing, infrastructure and other economic pressures to build in inappropriate places such as flood plains and ancient woods. The long-term goal is now said to be about not just sustainability but also regeneration and it requires integrated thinking and co-operation to succeed. Perhaps we need to include learning and appreciation of these essential attributes higher up in our education curriculum and skills training as they seem to be in short supply in many so-called World Leaders.
Wikipedia has a very comprehensive page on Water Resource management for those wishing to learn more.
“If you walk into a Mist a story begins.
If you eat Snow, snowmen appear in your dreams.
If you see the Moon in a pond you’re nearly grown up.
Falling in streams brings you good luck.
These are the Laws of Water, Sky’s Daughter."
“If you watch a river too long you start to feel old
One cup of water is worth two buckets of gold
If you watch clouds long enough a dragon will appears
Icicles don't grow on my grandfather's beard.
These are the Laws of Water, Sky;s Daughter." c. Matt Black
15th November 2020
“Keep a Poem in your Pocket and a Picture in your Head
And you’ll never feel lonely at night when you're in Bed.
The little Poem will sing to you.
The little Picture bring to you a dozen dreams to dance to you at night when you're in Bed.
So.....Keep a Picture in your Pocket and a Poem in your head
And you'll never feel lonely at night when you're in Bed."
c. Beatrice Schenk de Regniers
Autumn is delivering amazing ‘pictures’ in our green spaces to entrance us and remain as memories when we cannot get out for whatever reasons. Artists have given us so many inspirational works, often drawn from nature, and with an inner eye and perspective maybe we have not seen for ourselves but can appreciate once shown. Meditating on a Poem or picture has a deep ability to relax the mind and body and refresh the spirit as so many have found in the current climate of rapid change and unrest. Our gratitude goes out to the many Artists from all genres who give so much often for so little and who make life beautiful.
13th November 2020
Diwali approaching and we need the Light over Darkness so here is our video from 8 years ago to share with all who value Forgiveness and Peace. Om shanti shanti shanti.
7th November 2020
A Quiet Place
“Warmth of the Sun upon my Face. I found a Quiet Place.
Sound of Water Soothes my Mind. A Quiet Place is hard to find
But as amongst the Trees you wind there is a Place to Soothe your mind.”
Noise is everywhere in the urban environment and with the reduction of the big offenders such as Air and Vehicular traffic there has been an increased awareness of bird song in nature and better air quality. More of us are drawn to green spaces to gain respite and it was sad to witness the disturbance caused by leaf blowers in The Woodland Gardens destroying the peace and enjoyment for everyone in the sunshine on Wednesday before the Thursday lockdown. What is wrong with using a rake which also does not produce the noxious smells of this horrible invention? I am sure there are volunteers who would enjoy some gentle/vigorous exercise raking up the leaves in such a beautiful spot and let the sleeping babies sleep whilst their parents enjoy a walk.
I was amazed at the work of Bernie Krause on soundscapes and how they can give a better picture of the health of a habitat rather than relying on how many trees we can see or how nice a landscape looks. We know about the need for keeping some ‘wild’ areas in our gardens for hedgehogs and other endangered wildlife but the insights in this talk may not be so well known and it is worth listening to even if you are already knowledgeable in this area as he presents it in a very accessible way. . The Voice of the Natural World Bernie Krause
The Moons in November have been spectacular and the photo below was taken during a stormy night with heavy cloud cover when the moon peaked out like a beacon illuminating the dark sky. Fungi has also proved to be prolific along the Sanctuary river corridor.
31st October 2020
Look up and you may be surprised at what is sitting quietly in the tree above. This Kestrel has made a kill and can still be seen circling the skies along the River Crane Corridor in search of its next meal. No food banks for nature in the lean times but habitat is higher up the agenda and voices are being raised about the lack of enforcement in nature sensitive areas even when they have designated protection classifications. Let’s hope that action follows and not just more hot air otherwise we will have to face greater nature horror stories even after this Halloween is over. It is wonderful to see re-wilding projects and the changes in farming and gardening which encourage better biodiversity and awareness of the harm that can be caused by chemicals and other practices. The recent nature TV programmes have helped with suggestions and demonstrations to show alternative ways to promote wildlife friendly areas whilst still achieving good food production and lovely flowers. What one thing will you do this weekend for the natural environment? It can be as simple as putting out a tray of water. See who comes to visit. Read the RSPB advice on Birds and Water
23rd October 2020
Glorious Trees are still holding on to their leaves and green colour but the weather is changing and we have the red/golds of autumn appearing on our walks along with all the berries needed for hungry urban wildlife getting ready for hibernation or hard times. We had a magical experience on a walk when an abundance of ladybirds suddenly appeared from a tree stump crevice and landed on us and children. These are likely to be Harlequin ladybirds forming a winter roost and “they are migrants from Asia via the US in the 80s! Used to manage aphids in crops they have proved too successful in establishing themselves in the UK. They take over our native ladybird habitats and sadly eat them too (and each other!). Human interference once more.”
Many thanks to Caroline Rose from my Instagram group who sent the above information which she read about in Dave Goulson's book. It seems that migration is the big topic in all areas and how we act to accommodate and mitigate problems will determine our ‘Humaneness’
Humane Definition: Characterised by sympathy, tenderness and compassion for people and animals, especially for the suffering or distressed.
Tree Stump Ladybird nest.
17th October 2020
Many of the Ash Trees are still healthy along the River Crane Walk and it is hard to believe that the above views are available so close to Twickenham’s concrete landscape. Take a walk along what we call our ‘Sanctuary’ route from The Meadway to the Shot Tower and enjoy some respite from all the conflict and anxieties which seem to be dominating our lives
There is a map and more photos on our Website and Instagram and we hope to see you on the route where we have met so many lovely people already
The wildlife is engaging with many humorous and curious episodes to be found even on a short walk. This Drake seems to be harvesting an acorn whilst our Squirrel has decided to alter his diet and try some wild mushrooms
Luv Song poem by Benjamin Zephaniah
“I am in luv wid a hedgehog I’ve never felt this way before
I have luv fe dis hedgehog an everyday I luv her more an more,
She lives by di shed Where weeds and roses bed
An I just want de world to know
She makes me glow.”
Love for nature makes life worth living.
9th October 2020
This Chiff Chaff was still for a change and gave us a photo to share along with all the fungi growing in abundance after the rain.
Mushrooms by Mary Oliver “ Rain, and then the cool pursed lips of the wind draw them out of the ground - red and yellow skulls pummelling upward through leaves, through grasses, through sand; astonishing in their suddenness, their quietude, their wetness, they appear…….”
We have been re-reading Richard Mabey’s 1972 book, Food for Free – A guide to the edible wild plants of Britain and it describes over 300 foods which include fungi, seaweed, edible roots, weeds, flowers and fruit. Nutritional and gastronomical values are discussed and how to find, gather and cook these free foods. The Illustrations by Marjorie Blamey are works of art as well as informative. Leave your ‘phone at home and take a book with you on your walks to look up what you see or to sit on a bench and be astounded at what can be found in our wonderful green spaces. The Author dedicated this book “For my Mother” and we need our parents/carers more than ever to teach our children the value of nature so they can remember us with fondness.
Acorn hunter strikes again!
The Real Junk Food Project 2020 at The ETNA Centre is worth supporting and take a look at their video explaining what they do and how you can Help, Get Free Food and enjoy home cooked offerings and company in their café. Click here : real food project 2020
2nd October 2020
Goldfinches Galore, Blue Tits and Bumblebees still about enjoying the water we take for granted at our peril. Heron reflects by the Pond and the River Crane recovers from low water as the beautiful rain fell.
We have been encouraged by neighbours and supporters letting us know that they have put in a water-bowl pond and composting which is the way forward if more of us decide to do our little bit. See our Ecology page on the website for links to practical ways to achieve these simple installations and where to get more advice. Water is a major conservation issue and it is more far reaching than many of us realise in the fight to save our planet from further destruction. Our increasing demands for Water cause many of the problems facing Nature but we can change our behaviour and have a big effect. We learnt a lot looking at articles on this subject and admit we were ignorant of the magnitude of this issue. Did you know? “All of those flushes can add up to nearly 20 gallons a day down the toilet. If you still have a standard toilet, which uses close to 3.5 gallons a flush, you can save by retrofitting or filling your tank with something that will displace some of that water, such as a brick.”Friends of the Earth have suggestions we can adopt to save water and these may include options and arguments that readers have not considered: 13 Best Ways to Save Water
Rain comes in various sizes.
Some rain is as small as a mist.
It tickles your face with surprises,
And tingles as if you’d been kissed.
25th September 2020
Dragonfly visits and is Sitting on the Fence like many of us?
The September Equinox last week heralded a move into cooler weather as it marked the first day of Autumn. Tuesday 22nd was also the day we heard from our ‘Leaders’ about the new measures needed to combat the spread of Covid. Nature has paradoxically been given more space and room to grow and regenerate in places as we have curtailed some of our more polluting activities. The recent relaxation of some restrictions, such as traffic in the parks, has not been welcomed by everyone but then we get the opposite point of view which highlights the need for access to these oases of peace and relaxation in nature. There are no easy answers to get the balance right for all but this is a time for considered action to protect our planet from further exploitation of natural resources which has resulted in the current crisis.
Mr Toad visited the Sanctuary Garden and enjoyed the washing-up bowl pond and mud bath!
The Environmental Agency reports that all rivers, lakes and streams in England are polluted. “Water quality has plateaued since 2016….it is not good enough” says EA Chair Emma Howard Boyd whilst EA CEO James Bevan endorses a proposal to weaken laws on quality!
Lord Byron’s poem, Darkness, written in July 1816, following the eruption of Mount Tambora and the growing inequality in society, predicted what would happen to the planet if humans did not change:
“The rivers, lakes and ocean all stood still, And nothing stirr’d within their silent depths;”
News Flash! Muntjac visits the Sanctuary Garden!
19th September 2020
Bumblebee on Hibiscus The bees are still foraging and so many moths are present along the River Crane Corridor which is heartening given the news of declining populations amongst insects and other species plus the real possibility of extinction for some. We have encouraged the reduction of Light Pollution by individual households especially if we live in nature sensitive areas and this is one easy action that we can all take to make a difference. The Richmond Biodiversity Partnership have an excellent leaflet – Rivers and Light Pollution – Text by A.Fure and P. Briggs. Reading this well researched document gives credence to the argument that, “artificial light, in the wrong place at the wrong time is a pollutant, which can harm the natural environment.” This may seem obvious but look around our Borough and see the amount of street lighting and school lighting which is left on when totally unnecessary and too bright. i.e. Trafalgar Infant school, The Meadway, is built next to the River Crane, partly on MOL and which looks like Disneyland as darkness falls and is still lit up in daylight. Lighting does not appear on the Nuisance reporting Council website and when investigated it is a judgement call by Officers as they do not carry Light Meters and do not seem to give it as much weight as Noise pollution. Sad when our Council actually funded this leaflet and presumably thinks it is worth reading and actioning!
Oxford Dictionary definition of Vermin:“Mammals and birds injurious to game or crops etc. noxious or parasitic worms or insects; vile persons”. We mentioned the collared doves in a previous article commenting on the List which allows them to be shot as Vermin. Given the horrendous farming practices which have denuded the land/ habitats/wildlife along with other contentious and damaging usage of green spaces; it would seem that some two-legged mammals meet the definition.
12th September 2020
I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness,
The Astonishing Light of your own Being! Hafez
Nature, with all its wonders, can relieve moments of loneliness and despair as we experience beauty and stillness even in moments of hopelessness and we get glimpses of our place in the universe. Giving access to greenspaces and safeguarding habitat for wildlife is now acknowledged by most as an essential part of quality of life for all. Yet we find that even spaces given protection are not that protected unless we fight for them to remain free from inappropriate incursions into habitat. Unauthorised buildings which are hidden from view for four years on MOL/private land cannot be removed and then impinge on open land/greenspace and leave a footprint for further development often under the debatable guise of community benefit or ecological improvements. Local Planning and Enforcement have their hands tied by contradictory policy guidance which allows high fences and hedges that block views that are also guided to be kept open for all as a borrowed landscape and to see what is happening on the land. This needs to be changed at national level by those who are concerned with the piecemeal erosion of these areas as housing becomes more urgent and pressure to build higher up the agenda. Visit: History of Planning Issues in the Sanctuary
Sleepy Dunnock and alert Songthrush peaks out from her hiding place ‘protected’ hedgerow
5th September 2020
“If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.”
Naturalist - E.O. Wilson of Harvard University as quoted on the Dark Skies link posted here last week but worth repeating with the dire conditions currently threatening so many species. We encourage small actions by many as a commitment to reversing this trend and planting even one tree or plant can make a difference. A magnet for Bees and a variety of other insects is the beautiful Borage plant and it is also edible and has documented medicinal benefits. Easy to grow in a pot as an annual or if space allows it can go in a border and it self-seeds so that it is more like a perennial!
"Goodbye, Goodbye to Summer!For summer’s nearly done; the garden smiling faintly, cool breezes in the sun; Our thrushes now are silent, our swallows flown away – but Robin’s here, in coat of brown, with ruddy breast-knot gay. Robin, Robin Redbreast, O Robin dear! Robin singing sweetly in the falling of the year. " Robin Redbreast c.Richard Allinghamn
28th August 2020
Eye-Candy-Dandy watches the Girls go by whilst Toot and Carmen stay together forever
“The rain that was expected tomorrow came today. So, the weather is now a day early” Roger McGough’s poem “Weather or Not” highlights how we do not live in the moment and experience what is present but rather want to know what is coming even when that is often proved to be erroneous. Take a stroll down to the River Crane by Kneller Gardens and you will see the Mandarin Ducks, Egyptian Geese and others, including human animals, enjoying all weathers whilst they snooze, preen and socialise! The Green Gym Volunteers, led by Pablo, were working hard to clear areas by the Fox Bench and if you want to join in on Wednesdays it is advisable to book as numbers are being limited to six at a time. Contact TCV. Learning to experience ‘Awe’ is now being shown to give us real benefits emotionally and physically as we lose ourselves in say the beauty of dark skies with endless stars as one very powerful example. Finding dark skies in the urban jungle is getting harder but we can cut down on our own domestic lighting to help bats, insects and nocturnal animals, like the endangered hedgehog, and gain some benefits for ourselves too. Nature and The Arts give us opportunities for those awe-inspiring moments when we take the time to be still and experience something bigger than ourselves.
25th August 2020 -Hedgehog Night visitor!
21st August 2020
The Red Rose in full bloom and the Toadflax Plant with the same named Caterpillar in the morning dew. Both beautiful in their own way and to the ‘Eye of the Beholder.’
A recent photograph on Instagram of an Impala with an Oxpecker Bird on its forehead described the concept of “Mutualism”. The bird rids the animal of harmful parasites and enjoys a meal for itself. Both benefit mutually from co-operating even if it is only for self-interest! We are being shown more ways to help nature with small changes in our own environment such as companion planting for pest control which avoids chemicals in our gardens and the hazardous drain off into the water table. This is cheaper in the long run for us with the same if not better results and very beneficial for wildlife.
Little frog appeared in our washing up bowl pond-cum-mudbath!
How about considering a Bog or Rain Garden section to also aid with surface water dispersal after the downpours we are seeing with climate change and the introduction of so many hard surfaces in the urban landscape? The bog garden is more for retaining moisture to reduce watering needs whilst the rain garden is a temporary hold for excessive water to allow it to drain away or evaporate without causing flooding. Water can be diverted from downpipes into an area where it will be very wet in downpours but then can drain away to be a grassy area or flowerbed again.
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
– I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference”
c. Robert Frost
16th August 2020
“Why, why repine, my pensive friend,
At pleasures slipp’d away?
Some, the stern Fates will never lend,
And all refuse to stay.
I see the rainbow in the sky,
The dew upon the grass;
I see them, and I ask not why
They glimmer or they pass.
With folded arms I linger not
To call them back; ‘twere vain:
In this, or in some other spot,
I know they’ll shine again.”
The Poem by Walter Savage Landor is called Resignation but it seems to ask us to be content with ‘what is’ rather than resigned in a negative way. Changing a word can influence how we see things and how we feel so I would rather call this poem “Contentment”. The words encourage enjoyment of nature and how things change and evolve and ends with a positive affirmation. The Armandii flower above is in bloom now out of its usual season and everywhere nature is changing and offering beautiful and interesting events. There is reason for alarm and concern but awareness of the positive is necessary to engage the young with a sense of possibilities and not to encourage disillusionment with taking part in community
Photo of the underwing view of the Jersey Tiger Moth shown here in the 8th August article. Would you recognise this if you did not see the Black and White wings?
Bees galore are about and this one loved the Cosmos Flowers. We are enjoying the honey! Take care with lawn cutting as some bees are nesting in the ground. Leaf Cutter and Mining bees are here!
Have you seen or heard the Sparrowhawks near Trafalgar Infant School? There is drama here with the Magpies dive bombing them and vice versa as the pecking order is fought out.
Who will win and who will lose this time?
11th August 2020 - Keep cool and calm like these little birds all meeting up for a dip and social!
"Where are my gang?" says the blue tit to the long tail tits
Building a nest perhaps like this great tit?
8th August 2020 - Jersey Tiger Moth and Purple Hairstreak Butterfly visit us.
The hot weather finds all of us seeking ways to keep cool and the Wren was lying on the earth by the River Crane and not at all worried by us walking quietly by her. The Blue-Tit visitor was cooling off in the bird bath and all the usual suspects were seen sunbathing in gardens along with their human neighbours. The change in our climate is seeing some migrant species such as the Blackcaps staying here and it is lovely to hear their melodious song in the birds’ choir. Another good way to connect everyone but children especially to nature is by playing a game to see who can match the sound they hear to the bird or animal. It is fun and teaches listening and communication skills which we can all benefit from improving in the current antagonistic atmosphere in our world. It is not important if we get it ‘wrong’ and we do not need an expert before we start trying this activity as it engenders curiosity and some will want to investigate more and some will not but will enjoy the game anyway! Squirrels make the most amusing sounds and this one looked so comical with dried grass s/he seemed determined to mow for bedding or eating?
2nd August 2020
Dragonflies and Damselflies are loving the warm weather and having a ‘staycation’ here
When twenty five percent of UK mammals are in danger of extinction it is sad to hear about the poisoning of a rare young White-Tailed Eagle in The Cairngorms National Park in Scotland in an area of Grouse Moors. Poison is an insidious way of killing animals and vegetation. The additional harm to the environment is avoidable and unacceptable and to see trees poisoned when they have root systems and pathways that connect with other trees and nature is unconscionable. It seems that the ability to enforce is the problem with many areas of concern now in our society. However, we can see how Nature responds if we do not listen and many people are now taking direct action too which is not surprising.
Take a walk along the River Crane and daydream and reflect like these two birds. The Moorhens have a chick but we kept our distance so as not to disturb the nest and signs inform us to restrain from feeding bread to the wildlife as it not only pollutes the water source but encourages vermin and is not nutritious for birds.
"Sometimes our best efforts do not go amiss, sometimes we do as we meant to. The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow that seemed hard frozen: may it happen for you." Sheelagh Pugh.
25th July 2020
Nature Tweet for Nature Lovers
“Unto those who Love, Ungenerous Time bestows a Thousand Summers”
Time does stand still in moments of absorption into beauty wherever we find it in our lives. Artists have been inspired by nature for millennia and through their vision we may see something deeper and more meaningful than we had discovered before. Supporting the Arts is not frivolous but an asset to our humanity and especially in times such as now when many are desperate for some hope and inspiration.
The Hayward Gallery presents ‘Among the Trees’ which celebrates works of art that are inspired by Trees and Forests. Take a look at these two videos from the exhibition which give a virtual tour of some of the exhibits and provide narratives which are thought provoking on current issues facing us all as well as giving an enticing look at the beauty of the artwork. The first Link is to Ralph Rugoff, Director of the Gallery, who highlights how many of us stop analysing when walking in a forest and “just enjoy the act of looking”.
The second video, below, is by: Marie-Charlotte Carrier, Assistant Curator, and she is engagingly genuine in her presentation of the value of trees and how they make us realise how short lived we are as a species compared to some of these giants which have been on the planet for thousands of years. Enjoy these virtual offerings and then maybe explore nature itself and hug a tree!
Our photograph above shows Kneller Gardens Play Area behind the Trees from which you can walk, cycle, jog all the way to the Shot Tower or further according to your own situation and needs. It is accessible for wheelchairs/mobility scooters too.
14th July 2020
The below FORCE submission to the Council highlights one of the contraventions on the MOL/SMINC in Private Ownership which River Crane Sanctuary has also fought to rectify. NB. Fencing has still not been replaced to make a permanent border between residential garden space and the MOL. We are still waiting for enforcement to enforce one year on.
Campbell Close Twickenham
Building on Metropolitan Open Land
FORCE believe that the sheds and platform are built on MOL without planning permission so raised a submission to the enforcement department.
We understand that the platform has been removed but not the sheds as their removal is unenforceable due to the passage of time. The fencing is also still to be replaced along the border of the MOL with residential gardens. This highlights the need for at least an annual inspection of MOL in private ownership to ensure illegal structures are not hidden from view without planning permission and oversight being sought.
FORCE also supported our Objection, along with local residents and other environmental groups/supporters, in 2016 when a build was proposed on the same MOL/SMINC .
|Sep 2016||Land Rear Of Campbell Close Twickenham||
A new build, three bedroom home, predominantly single storey. The proposed site covering is generally grass with mature trees and planting.
|This proposal would develop additional footprint for private benefit within MOL and the River Crane corridor. It would impact the integrity and wildlife/community value and be contrary to local and regional planning policy.||16/2815/OUT|
River Crane Sanctuary and Friends of the Earth Local Group also supported the TPO 1046 which Councillors decided was necessary for this land on 11th March 2020 Planning Committee. nb.This blanket TPO was initiated by the Tree Officer in Richmond's Planning Department.
See Webcast here: https://richmond.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/477974
Readers may like to see a Freedom of Information request links below which relate to this TPO and which sought to get supporters' submissions recorded in full to counterbalance the Objections on the agenda pack. We submit that this TPO was not presented correctly as a legitimate argument for environmental concerns but as a neighbourhood dispute unlike the Udney Park planning issue where there were neighbours for and against the plans but this application was not presented as a neighbourhood dispute. One could argue that this MOL on a river corridor with Nature conservation status as well as Metropolitan Open Land designation is rather more important than a neighbourhood tiff.
nb.There were data protection issues raised with the Council which has another FOI request in progress.
FORCE submitted an Objection to the Churchview Garages site which River Crane Sanctuary fought with local residents and other environmental groups and we commisioned the Ecology Report which you can Read here the Ecology Comments on Churchview site by Dr Sarah Cox which helped us again defeat this inappropriate developement alongside the same MOL/SMINC mentioned above.
garages adjacent 75 Churchview Road Twickenham
Demolition of the existing garage block and the erection of a mews development, consisting of 2 x 2 bedroom dwellings, together with associated car parking and landscaping improvements.
FORCE objects to this proposal as it constitutes over-development of a sensitive site adjacent to MOL, and does not offer community and environmental value to the Crane valley. We would welcome the opportunity for discussion of all matters raised with the developers and relevant council staff
River Crane Sanctuary objection: rcschurchview2019 objectiono Churchview Road Garages Application 2019
If you would like to see the full suport submissions for the TPO 1046 11th March 2020 Planning Committee, without redactions, from supporters who have given us permission to use their data, please contact us direct.
Click here for:river crane sanctuary patron tpo support submission
14th July 2020 (Tribune Article posted 18th July 2020 in newspaper)
An abundance of Bramble flowers near us has now produced a free food bank for our wildlife and humans can also be tempted to pick a few mouth-watering blackberries. Leave some for the Birds who give us their beautiful song in return for this bounty from Nature’s Larder.
The photo above shows a Female Black cap asking the Male to hurry up in the queue!
We have found the Identification page on the Butterfly Conservation site an invaluable education tool and it is a great way to learn about different species even if you do not see them in your locality. Below we have photos of three Butterflies from the Brown Family which we took this month and which you may know already but if you are not certain then click on this link: Butterfly ID
The Big Butterfly count runs from 17th July to Sunday 9th August and we are all encouraged to take part even if we have never done it before or think we do not know enough. Have a go and if nothing else enjoy 15 minutes of gazing at nature wherever you find yourself.
Readers may like to see a Freedom of Information request for Supporters’ Representations which were not presented on the Agenda at the TPO 1046 item /Planning Committee, 11th March 2020. These balancing documents are now available, albeit, too late for a transparent presentation of all points of view and facts to be available at the time for Councillors’ deliberations. FOI Link
12th July 2020
The weather is throwing all the seasons at us recently but there is something to enjoy every day in the flora and fauna in our neighbourhoods. The colours are enticing to the human eye and have a valuable part to play for attracting the pollinators as seen in the above photos of Teasel and Bergamot plants. Stone, Gravel and Fences also offer warmth in the sunshine for many to preen and rest like this Red Admiral Butterfly on the Wall. If you want to encourage more wildlife into your space then adding water in some form is arguably the easiest and most beneficial method to achieve a multitude of visitors.
This shy Robin stayed by the Washing-up Bowl pond for a long time and it is so easy and inexpensive to put in a small space and have precious rain water available for wildlife anytime. Click the link above for how to do it!
‘Artificial Habitats’ found in our gardens and parks have a vital role to play in conservation. Some argue that Buddleia, which is seen as an invasive weed in natural habitats, can be valuable as a source of nectar for many insects and in turn their presence attracts predators like Bats at night and Dragonflies by day. The number of visitors on our Wildsown Buddleia has earned it a place in the garden along with a few other plants that many would call ‘weeds’ for this very reason
5th July 2020
Watch this David Bohm Video film if you want to really be free from the 'lock down' and the pub or a get-a-way is not giving you the feeling of freedom that we were promised. 'Mystics have known all about it for Millennia. Modern Science is catching up.'
All is connected - we are one.
4th July 2020 - What are you celebrating today?
Stag Beetle emerges and Rose Chafer on the Elder Flower
We have our favourite wildlife and there are the stars of nature which get the most funding and support but the not so ‘beautiful’ or popular are all essential for life to flourish. The RSPB sent the below video link which is worth a look to understand what we are missing in the Small World.
Afterall, Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder. Small World video with subtitles!
Subtitles are helpful for identification and inclusion in so many situations and we would like to see more videos/webcasts libraries like this one which gives equal opportunity access.
Photo: Spider Visitor on the window
An Instagram follower gave us useful information on our bees in the lawn and thinks they are mining bees who have made a nest underground and in Spring we will see new life emerging! The children have made a flag with ‘Bee Home’ to mark the spot and so that we are careful around that area.
27th June 2020 - Glastonbury in the Garden!
Green Damselfly on the wild seeded buddleia and White Butterfly in the long grass.
Bumblebee Conservation Trustis asking us to “Look before you lop! If you can, wait until at least early autumn when bumblebee season has finished before getting the strimmer out this year, as strimming can severely damage or destroy bumblebee nests in long grass.
If you are strimming long grass, check it really thoroughly before you do, as species like the Common Carder Bee like to build their nests in areas of woven tussocky grass, often going unnoticed until the grass is strimmed and the exposed nest dies. Better still, keep lots of long grass habitat in your garden all year round to support not just bumblebees but other wildlife like slow worms, newts, hedgehogs, and butterflies!”
Unfortunately, we have seen on Instagram that hedgehogs are still getting hurt from Strimmers in our pursuit of the perfect lawn and garden. How about using the shears and doing some meditative, slow and mindful garden maintenance? Good for physical exercise and mental balance whilst getting the garden looking beautiful! Or, let your space grow a bit wilder and relax and enjoy the many visitors who will grace you with their presence and give so much joy and entertainment without turning on the tv or ‘phone. Allow some wildflowers or even ‘weeds’ to have room and watch what will be attracted in to feed and nest and know that you have helped species to survive by creating a habitat.
“I have a garden of my own but so with Roses overgrown, and Lilies,
That you would it guess to be a little Wilderness.” Andrew Marvel 1621 – 78
20th June 2020 - Summer Solstice
Happy Solstice today and Happy Father's day tomorrow. Plus there is a Solar Eclipse to investigate!
Butterfly Conservationare offering half price membership as a Father’s Day gift if you are still looking for something special for your special dad. The added benefits of this gift are the on-going fun you can have together identifying and observing butterflies plus learning about these fascinating creatures whilst enjoying nature on your walks or outside your window.
If birds are your passion visit the RSPB site which offers so much information and opportunities to learn more about our feathered friends and to meet other nature lovers.
Let me lie in today and chill before we go out and about! Thanks, from Dad (and Mum)
“I was happy when I was a lad. It wasn't all good, but it wasn't half bad.
We played with sticks, we played with stones; we built ourselves dens that we called homes.
We explored the woods, we climbed the trees, and we played with marbles on our knees.
Conkers in season we threaded with string. If your opponent missed, your knuckles would sting.
We built trolleys with old pram wheels.
We were often too busy to go home for our meals.”
This poem on Childhood Memories by Paul L Kennedy evokes feelings of a loss of innocence and highlights what many are saying needs to change to allow our young to thrive.
Another of his poems, Where I lived when I was a kid, is on the Pre-fabmuseum website with fascinating historical information. It is worth a look to see how these homes were valued by many and Paul’s home, on the Pilgrims Way Estate, was built on Green Belt which afforded children community and space to roam! Ironically, now we have the dilemma of Houses versus Nature and his childhood estate was returned to Green Belt when ‘better’ housing was built for families.
13th June 2020
“Farewell, Farewell - for what it’s worth - From the final Hedgehog left on earth”
The Last Hedgehog Pam Ayres’ beautiful, sad, funny and educational poem reminds us that it is up to us whether these endangered creatures become extinct. Enchanting Illustrations in this book are by Alice Tait.
“The poem sees our hero tell of all the terrible ends his family come to at our own hands – and exactly what we can still do to keep them alive, and see them thrive once more.”
Our long-term hedgehog family visitors still grace us with their presence and this little one posed for awhile after a drink from our shallow water trays this week. The Hedgehog Street site has more information on our spiky friends such as frequently asked question like, “When do they Mature?”
“Hedgehogs reach sexual maturity in their second year of life, and after this can breed every year until death. They reproduce between April and September, but the period of greatest activity, ‘the rut’, occurs in May and June in Britain.” Hedgehogs are nocturnal and if you see one in the day it may be in trouble. Avoid handling them unless you know what you are doing and telephone 01584 890801 for advice if you are concerned.
Five go on an adventure in the River Sanctuary!
“You can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes”
Winnie the Pooh words of wisdom.
6th June 2020
“I meant to do my work today
But a black bird sang in the apple-tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field
And all the leaves were calling me.
And the wind went sighing over the land
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand
So what could I do but laugh and go?”
Richard Le Gallienne
The poem quotes a ‘brown’ bird but I hope the Poet will not mind this change as the words of Maya Angelou “I know why the caged bird sings” kept coming into my thoughts as the horrors in America unfolded.
Blackbirds are so beautiful and their song fills us with joy amidst all the depression which comes with witnessing and fighting against injustices in the world again and again. We have to ‘sing’ and find respite wherever we can in order to keep standing up to the bullies.
LOVE in a Mist – Nigella - growing wild and free and Two Roses for Peace and Understanding.
Springwatch is showing us amazing scenes of Nature and the Conservation work being done by dedicated people all across the country. Young people are being given a voice and becoming role models for the changes which we want to see worldwide. Butterflies, bees, wildflowers and birds are glorious along the Sanctuary route so take a walk; stand and stare awhile. Bat pups will be born this month and when three weeks old may be found on the ground when they start learning to fly! Bats are important indicators of Biodiversity as they are sensitive to landscape changes and usage. Bat Conservation Site for more information
30th May 2020
"Nay lovely bird thou are not vain; Thous hast no proud, ambitious mind; I also love a quiet place that's green, away from all mankind; A lonely pool and let a tree sigh with her bosom over me."
W. H. Davies The Kingfisher poem and can you see two or three in John's photo below under 26th may entry?
What a wonderful sight to see new life on the stretch of the River Crane we call the River Crane Sanctuary. So many young birds are fledging on the River Corridor now and we observed a group of long tail tit fledglings which stayed preening and sunbathing for a while to brighten our day.
Being still and staying in the present moment brings many joys to all the senses and a deep relaxation as everyone is telling us now and nature lovers have known all along.
26th May 2020
Sightings along the Sanctuary recently.
Kingfisher and young spotted by John and thank you for these amazing photos to share with our group and viewers.
Recorded and Photographed: a group of long-tail tits with young, Blue and great tits nesting, kestrel, songthrush pair, blackbird and robin pair with young, nuthatch, tree creeper, manadarin ducks, mallard ducks and egyptian ducks with young. House sparrows,. Still seeing blackcaps, swifts, starlings. The Magpies are on the prowl and have young too but the crows are after them . Chiff chaffs heard more than seen. Owl heard. Collared Doves. Heron. Stag Beetles and Lesser Stag Beetles. Hedgehogs.
Blue damselflies and Chaser Dragonfly. Bumblebees galore and a nest in our lawn. Honeybees visiting the flowers. Holly blue, common blue, red admiral, speckled wood, Green veined white, moths and even a bat visitor feeding on the mass of insects flying in the night sky by the MOL. Fox.
Lots of wildflowers now to be seen on walks and photos on our Flickr pages with descriptions.
23rd May 2020
"It's not easy being Green" Kermit the Frog
It is getting easier as awareness grows and the young rebel. There is more support for those willing to stand up when it is not popular to do so and this helps voices to be heard and debate to take place. The frogs were making a loud noise in this dipping pool and you can see and hear them here: Short video on our Flickr
There are wildflowers growing on our verges and gardens which have encouraged wildlife to visit and we have noticed more insects. Birds with young are relishing these wild sources of food.
Fresh Water is needed more now for bathing and drinking and keeping the containers clean and free from parasites is the main consideration to promote the health of our visitors.
16th May 2020
“An inner impulse rent the veil, of his old husk: from head to tail came out clear plates of Sapphire Mail” Lord Tennyson Dragonflies are present basking in the warm sunshine and this Broad-bodied Chaser Libellula Depressor was identified and faved by a follower on our Flickr album: his Name is Erik the Cat – Struggling to keep up! That is true for many of us now, Erik, but it helps to share and see beauty with others. We are grateful to many of the visitors to the site who correct mistakes and give advice on all we discover on our walks and observation of nature here.
As Garden Centres open for business to the delight of gardeners; why not encourage the natural predators of aphids and other pests into our gardens and avoid chemical means of control? There is so much information available now from experts to help discover how to avoid potentially harmful pollutants being spread into the soil, air and food sources when other more environmentally friendly options really work. Attracting Natural Predators
We discussed ‘OPALS’ (Tom Ogren’s Plant Allergy Scale) in the 1st Sept 2018 Tribune Edition and with the hay fever season in full swing it is worth considering what we plant privately and in public spaces with so many sufferers in this area particularly with our air quality issues exacerbating breathing problems and ruining the enjoyment of going outside in nature for many.
Alfred William Frankland, immunologist, died recently, at age 108 years, after an amazing life which saw him advance knowledge in the field of allergy and even challenge Sir Alexander Fleming by asserting that “With the increasing use of Penicillin, it is to be expected that allergic re-actions will become more common.” Fleming did not accept this potential problem with his wonder drug. It seems we want “a pill for every ill” and a vaccine to allow us to continue behaviours which have not been conducive to a healthy environment for all Life on Earth.
Let go of the Struggle. Go with the Flow. Cultivate Contentment and Love in the Garden of the Heart. Price = Free Result = Happiness
9th May 2020
I came for inspiration. I came looking for grace and found my reflection in every passing face.
In everyone who gathered Standing on that Shore. Searching the horizon not knowing what exactly for.
Searching the horizon for what we can't quite see. When all we've ever needed has been there all along
Inside of You and Me.
A Little Soon to Say. Jackson Browne
Princess Diana’s favourite beach above, allegedly, and where so many find time for reflection. Jackson’s prophetic songs over the years continue with the above new offering released just before he contracted Covid 19. “When will we ever Learn?”
The Bumble Bee Conservation.Org site has a wonderful video by their Education Officer, Andy Benson, on Pollination which is one of many available learning resources for children and those of us still willing to learn. Take a look and get inspired by life and how amazing and resilient nature is and remember we are part of Nature and not Apart from her.
The below extract from their Nesting information raised a smile in our house:
“So, where do the boy bumblebees live? Boy bumblebees are born at the end of the summer. They start their lives inside the nest with their mother and sisters but boy bumblebees are very lazy. They’re not very good at helping to keep the nest tidy or at collecting food for the nest. So, once they have fully grown, they leave home and spend their nights sleeping on flowers.”
We have bumblebees nesting in our long grass and observation of what is in our gardens can really help protect wildlife. e.g. Strimmers and Netting can prove fatal for Hedgehogs, Birds, Bees, Butterflies. Plastic is still a major pollutant and it is sad to see waste thrown into the River Crane and along the paths even during this lockdown. All the more heartening to witness a young boy building a Frog House in Gardener’s World and seeing his enthusiasm for nature.
7th May 2020 Flower Full Moon
This moon is said by some to offer Compassion and Healing energy. Being in nature does that for many all the time so let's give out some of our own kindness and encourage this energy to manifest!.
2nd May 2020
“Quickly light increases.
Earlier dawns bring longer days with longer dusks and later nights. The Sun’s track rises with stronger, more direct rays.
Ground warms and invites saps to rise. Movement quickens. Insects appear, with birds on their trail.
A green tide of grasses rolls northward. Buds swell. Sound rises. Colours beckon. Scent entices. Nesters produce innumerable eggs. Most vertebrates give birth.
Light speeds the expansion of life on the Earth.”
The quotation above comes from the Spring pages of the Ecological Calendar from 2008! Yes, we are still clearing out and finding gems. I had forgotten about this Calendar which highlights so much information on our relationship with the environment instead of the normal Gregorian Calendar which gives us the arbitrary seven-day cycles which measure the time it takes the earth to revolve around the sun. For example, do you know why we have seasons? The author suggests that most people would guess that it is because the Earth moves closer to the sun in summer and farther away in winter. However, on 3rd January 2008 the Earth was closest to the Sun and on July 4th it was farthest away from it. What creates the seasons is the fact our planet’s axis it tilted. If the Earth was totally perpendicular with respect to its orbit around the sun (no tilt), the climate would be the same in our area every day as the sun would shine directly at the equator. The tilt invites the flowers to bloom and the leaves to fall. It creates the seasons. Chris Hardman’s artwork is magnificent and he originally founded Antenna, a theatre company, which staged works in the natural environment. He produced the Ecological Calendar to further advance a larger scientific and experiential overview of the Earth year. It is a great educational resource as well as being beautiful and inspiring: EcoCalendarwebsite .
Chris Packham’s TV programme about a year in Five Private Gardens ‘The British Garden – Life and Death on your Lawn’ is well worth a look at again on I Player and consider Jane Goodall’s wise words recently on the news about why wild animals matter and how and why diseases cross over into humans. Remember that Hedgehog awareness week starts 3rd May!
Peacock Butterfly on Dandelion in the Long Grass
Speckled Wood Butterfly on Bramble
27th April 2020
An easy River Crane walk from Kneller Gardens to Mill Road with a look in at the Green Gym Orchard, now in bloom, will be uplifting and here are some photos for those who cannot get out at present. We have put more photos and birdsong on the Flickr album and we are trying to learn all the different bird tunes which has been good fun although challenging. It seems so much quieter without the aircraft and traffic noise and little chatter. The Conservation Volunteers - TCV, which Green Gyms belong too, has done a lot of work along this stretch of the river and we are all reaping the benefits of the wonderful flora and fauna which has flourished from their care and dedication. They will be looking for volunteers to keep up this work for local nature when gatherings are allowed again so maybe that will be a new interest to pursue. Links are on our Ecology page for local and national groups.
“In beauty may I walk; All day long may I walk; Through the returning seasons may I walk.
With beauty before me may I walk. With beauty behind me may I walk.
With beauty above me may I walk. With beauty all around me, may I walk.”Navajo Chant -abridged
Green gym blossom in The Meadway, Twickenham on The Sanctuary route
18th April 2020
“Love is like a Butterfly….…. A rare and gentle thing”. c. Dolly Parton 1974
This Holly Blue graced us with its presence as it fed on sap from our bay tree recently. Whilst having a good clear out during the lockdown we have found precious books not looked at for some time. One real hidden gem is a book we bought decades ago on a visit to Calstock where there was a converted chapel which was an artist/poet centre and housed a book exchange/sale.
Beningfield’s Butterflies 1978 has the most beautiful paintings and drawings by Gordon Beningfield and text by Robert Goodden. Penguin books re-published 1981 Natural History ISBN: 0 14 00.6026x.
Gordon’s introduction ended with the words: “Perhaps, if my pictures are successful in evoking the beauty and delicacy of butterflies, they will help a little towards encouraging their conservation.” It inspired us to learn more and Nature has continued to be a constant joy. The Post Office commissioned four stamps from him which were issued on 13th May 1981 and maybe Alan Winter can find these Butterflies from his stamp collector contacts? The subjects were the Large Blue, Chequered Skipper, Small Tortoishell and The Peacock.
The last two are shown below and photographed this April.
The other book which some may find helpful, in our confined spaces alone or with the same people, is a non-judgemental, kind and insightful guide to understanding behaviour written by Philippa Perry. 'The Book you wish your Parents had read. (And your children will be glad you did.)” She starts with quoting Michael Mcintyre joking that his dreams of idyllic parenthood were replaced with the realities of the need to do four things everyday: Dress, Feed, Wash and Bed! The four words which came to me after reading Philippa’s book were: Listen, Respect, Communicate and LOVE. I’ve passed it on to my daughter so it will be interesting to find out her views! Perhaps the next edition of this book could have some illustrations by husband Grayson Perry if that would not make the book too expensive to buy!
Grey Wagtail on The River Crane.
Les McCullum is an artist whose work is seen in the local RSPB newsletters and he has also produced books for bird lovers so do take a look at his artwork if birds are your passion.
15th April 2020
Go Parks have put up some news about our campaign and you can see it here:
11th April 2020
The Iroquois Prayer of the Native American community of tribes who were the original inhabitants of land which is now New York.
" We return thanks to our mother, the earth, which sustains us. We return thanks to the rivers and streams, which supply us with water. We return thanks to all herbs, which furnish medicines for the cure of our diseases. We return thanks to the corn, and to her sisters, the beans and squash, which give us life. We return thanks to the bushes and trees, which provide us with fruit. We return thanks to the wind which, moving the air, has banished diseases. We return thanks to the moon and stars, which have given us their light when the sun was gone. We return thanks to our grandfather He-no, who has given to us his rain. We return thanks to the sun, that he has looked upon the earth with a beneficent eye. Lastly, we return thanks to the Great Spirit, in whom is embodied all goodness and who directs all things for the good of his children.”
Easter Bunny said ‘hello’ and a photo we took earlier in the Lake District for a Japanese Tourist who wanted one of her toy Peter Rabbit to be in the location where Beatrix Potter imagined him.
Forest Bathing – Shinrin-yoku – was discovered to reduce cortisol levels and therefore seemed to have physiological as well as the psychological benefits of communing with nature in woodlands. We are less stressed and happier when we give time to connecting with our ancient roots! Photos and videos of nature also offer these calming effects so we are glad to share on River Crane Sanctuaryand Instagram
4th April 2020
How doth the little busy bee improve each shining hour and gather honey all the day from every opening flower! c. Isaac Watts
The Bumble Bees are foraging in the spring flowers and tree blossoms and we have even seen some wild bees digging into our lawn where we have left the grass high for the time being to encourage wildlife to visit. Here are photos from our Flickr Album which we hope will give some joy to those who cannot get out at present and thank you to The Tribune for continuing with all the local news. We enjoyed the Butterfly article last week which was so informative and interesting. Our Website Ecology page has links to many sites which readers may like to visit to learn more about what is happening to nature at this time and also what we can do to help preserve, protect and enhance our environment.
For oft, when on my couch I lie in vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye which is the bliss of solitude
And then my heart with pleasure fills and dances with the daffodils. Wordsworth
26th March 2020 Wishing all a safe and peaceful time at 'home' wherever that is and comfort from nature and the beauty of wild places still left to show us what is truly valuable and worth saving. Money cannot buy everything or save us from everything.
Latest newsletter here for those not on our email list and contact us if you wish to receive this regularly.
“Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive!” Sir Walter Scott
Butterfly Conservation have recently highlighted the loss of 97% of wildflower meadows since the Second World War and the fact that Butterflies, Bumblebees and Moths are running out of places to go. Their populations are plummeting and we have to be aware of habitat and the need to protect our remaining Trees, Ivy, Nettles and Wild Spaces to tackle the spread of Human and Domesticated Animals impact on areas which are essential for their survival and arguably our own quality of life and food sources which depend on these pollinators. There is Light Pollution along the River Crane Corridor which is getting worse with loft conversions and extensions with more bright lighting left on late into the night without any awareness of the damage this does to insect life and numbers which are essential for the food chain. New Street, School/Rugby lighting and private lights in sensitive places, are left on unnecessarily despite pleas to Officers/Councillors to look into the situation and ACT. This lighting destroys dark corridors for bats seeking transit lines back to the river and floods with bright LED glare previous dark MOL/Nature areas. It can also promote a build in sites which Developers seek to mitigate objections which highlight dark space as a valid criterion for refusal on ecology grounds. It is amazing how ‘green’ people become when seeking to develop in ‘sensitive areas’.
Robin found a ‘nest’ in this wine box last year with a bar code not post code so luckily for this family it is council tax exempt. This Song thrush is also seeking ‘A place to call home’ and nesting time now means we must take care when cutting hedges to be aware of nest sites.
20th March 2020
Happy Mother's Day for sunday 22nd for all those who 'Mother'
Food, Shelter, Security and My Mum!
Photo: Sammi 'Feed Me!' Photo: Iain 'Mother Goose'
13th March 2020
Spring is springing and lots of lovely flowers appearing to light up some of the darkness in this world. Dunnock in the hedge again and singing away without a care. Let's hope that we get some respite from the continuous planning applications blighting our lives here on the River Crane corridor now that the Churchview Garages site has been refused for the third time and we have a TPO on the MOL/SMINC in place even though the Tree Officer did not want it left in place! Thank God for Councillors who actually debate and think for themselves. What is going on in the world when we get these strange decisions from Officers and trees are not seen as habitat as well as visual amenities?
5th March 2020
Birds with nesting material are all about and even the rain does not deter them. With all the conflict and untruths in this chaotic world it is a joy to connect with nature even if humans are more challenging! Keep postive and do not sink to the low levels of abuse but rise above and send out love.
26th February 2020 Annual Night sky count to raise awarness of LIght Pollution
If we go out tonight and look up when it is dark we may observe The Orion Constellation and we are asked to count how many stars we can see. This count is taken annually and this year it runs from 21 - 28th February. Record your sightings on the Star Count site as it helps to make a valuation of light pollution in areas and encourage Councils to do more to tackle this issue which not only spoils our enjoyment of the stars but has an effect on nature conservation and biodiversity. Turn that light off or down ; especially if you live on a river corridor or near a biodiverse site which needs dark space!
15th February 2020 Alert and shout it out!
Valentine's Day was sunny and bright to cheer us all up before more rain and storms. Our thoughts are with those suffering from flood damage and climate change impacts on their lives. When will we ever learn? We create these artificial barriers which say 'this is flood plain 3 and this is flood plain 1 and this is green space but one foot over it is ok to build as that is not protected by any environmental laws. Will the water stop at our stated barriers ...........take a look at history and so many questionable decisions which affect so many lives. We understand the frustrations felt by long time campaigners trying to alert us all to the awareness of what we can now see for ourselves. The cry of the eco vandal still seems to be 'you are all alarmists and everything is fine'. Maybe it will be fine for the older generation but if we care for our young and the planet they will inherit then we have to act now. What can I do? Support those who are fighting to stop inappropriate developments which impact on remaining green spaces. Make an objection; Offer professional advice to counteract all the blurb and advertising of the Developers in their submisisons to overworked Local Officers; Come to Planning Committees; Join us at River Crane Sanctuary and other local groups like FORCE and SWLEN. Donate or fundraise to pay for expert advice from Ecologists, Lawyers to substantiate our reasons for objections. Just care and say you are listening by offering feedback and thanks. It all helps those who are trying to help the planet and generations to come.
Thank You for Reading this......now do something!
Diary dates: Committee meetings 11th March and 1st April fools' Day - we will only know five days before which date it will be and what the Officer is recommending and time to read his full report.
Contact us after reading the Planning Application for more information or to offer help. Still time to lodged an objection on the site. Links are on our home page. Do it now!
8th February 2020
“Who has seen the wind? Neither I nor you:But when the leaves hang trembling,The wind is passing through.” Christina Rossetti
Not many leaves about now but the wind is certainly making our walks energising and the views breath taking. That is if we are looking and aware of what is there for all to enjoy in the magic of Nature
This Beautiful Bumble Bee was engrossed with nectar gathering and a Red Deer was nature watching a human engaged with technology! Strange times for humanity and wildlife as we struggle to make sense of what is happening to our Blue Planet.
We are given warnings about safety and safeguarding wild spaces but that is a self policing policy when Park Wardens are thin on the ground and Local Authorities stretched to the limit financially with so many demands from residents, businesses and developers in this popular borough. Our green spaces are under pressure from café culture and ‘need’ for car parking spaces. Balancing access for all with wildlife’s real needs for quiet/dark spaces is a challenge which some may say is not being met. Once we get into private ownership and rights we are in even deeper waters when it comes to protecting nature as everybody has their own view on what is acceptable and not acceptable on ‘My Land’. This is fine in most residential circumstances but not when the Land has S.M.I.N.C Site of Metropolitan importance for Nature Conservation status or is adjacent to it and impacts have real consequences. Please consider supporting us in opposing the Three Storey new build in Churchview Road TW2 5BT which is now going for committee decision. Read the objections already on-line from local Environmental Groups and nature lovers and look out for our own River Crane Sanctuary report which will be available soon. Contact: email@example.com for further news and to share any information you have on this site, particularly, if you live in Sontan Court/Churchview Road or have children at Trafalgar School. Thank you for visiting our website here and follow us on Instagram . See what wonderful wildlife is inhabiting this space and decide whether we need another two houses for profit. Read here the Ecology Comments on Churchview site by Dr Sarah Cox
30th January 2020
Look out for e mails/notices as we have an invitation for you to brighten up the gloomy days! Do not be too disappointed if your Garden Bird Watch did not see many visitors; even recording nothing helps the RSPB with their records.
We were treated to a flock of starlings and the cute blue tits who are already visiting our broken tile to nest and water dishes everyday. Robins seen with nesting material already as the climate changes and so do we?
24th January 2020 - Two visitors in the gardens now for the RSPB watch this weekend!
Goldfinch here in groups and Nuthatch is alone alot but have seen a pair. Amazing starlings, songthursh, redwings all about so enjoy your hour of recording and listening to their voices.
18th January 2020 Song birds still in the Sanctuary singing out for their habitat!
RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch next weekend 25-2 th January and what better place to watch from than somewhere on our wonderful Sanctuary walk. From Kneller Gardens to the Shot Tower you can find your spot and you will be amazed at the variety of wildlife you will see and hear. Perhaps we will see you there as we photograph these beautiful birds and other wildlife. The watch asks us to include records of foxes, frogs,hedgehog,muntjac and more and they are all present here although not always seen when humans and their dogs are out and about having fun and noisy! We will post our photos for all to see on instagram and here and invite you to post yours on our album reached on the home page.
Enjoy the wonderful wildlife and wildspaces still here for now as more and more demand for human needs grows and Twickenham disappears under concrete.
11th January 2020 - Redwing Migrant Visitor still welcome on our shores!
Thanks to all the peope offering support to help with objecting to the Churchview Build Application at Committee and we will be in touch with you all to finalise our objections to present to our Councillors and convince them to reject this inappropriate build again next to Trafalgar Infant School. No date has been given yet for this hearing but we are not wasting our time you can be sure of that; all our voices will be heard! What a shame that desperation building for more profit is deaf to the climate change emergency arguments and the need to protect our remaining wild places.
The RSPB Garden Bird Watch is on its way and we hope all of you will take a break and observe what is visiting your garden or favourite spot in our Borough to help the organisation monitor bird populations and changes in patterns. Links are on our ecology page to the RSPB
4th January 2020 and into another decade!
Starting the New Year with old news - Churchview Garages Planning new build goes to the Planning Committee for decision making and then what? Will we all be under concrete before we learn to keep some established habitat/dark spaces, dark for wildlife and for the peace and enjoyment of stressed out residents trying to enjoy their gardens when they get the chance in our over developed communities?
Song Thrush still singing solo in the dawn chorus of what is left of the wild hedgerow on the application plot but will Nature's voice be heard or other voices speak louder?
31st December 2019 Winter Solstice meditation walk and New Year Wishes for Peace.
Hornbeam Cathedral is our sacred space to meet and give thanks for nature and all she gives to sustain us in this life on earth.
Donations made to Medecins sans Frontieres and Friends of the Earth to thank them for all they do for others and the protection on our planet.
More walks for friends, neighbours and members in 2020 along the River Crane Sanctuary route so join our email list or keep an eye on instagram and here!
28th December 2019 Happy Birthday to me and to all those born on the day of the Holy Innocents!
"We are little icicles melting in the sun. Can you see our tiny teardrops falling one by one?" Anon
More trees are being planted and established ones saved from felling as awareness is raised of their importance as well as their beauty. Every little action is worth the effort to support those tackling the climate emergency and our New Year’s Resolutions can help by including at least one action of our own to help local environmental groups in their work to improve where we live. We wish all readers good luck in 2020 and resilience for whatever we have to face.
"I am the seed that grew the tree that gave the wood to make the page to fill the book with poetry" Judith Nicholls
21st December 2019
Woodland Gardens and Deer by Hampton Hill, New Gate into Bushy Park
Winter Solstice Another Solstice and memories of past walks on the first day of winter. We had a very snowy one in 2010 in Bushy Park and it was also very cold. The word Solstice, in Latin Sol “Sun” and Sistere “To Stand Still or “Solstitium” Sun-Stopping, is the day with the fewest hours of day/sunlight in the whole year. Many cultures celebrate this time of the darkest and longest night as a time of reflection and renewal as it also marks a new beginning as the days slowly become longer. Feasts and festivals abound and for some the beauty and magnitude of Nature’s cycles is acknowledged and thanks given in rituals and ceremonies dating back centuries. We hope to meet you along the River Crane walk and our photos/news from the year are available here by scrolling down. Wishing all nature lovers strength to speak up in 2020 for local and global issues to protect our planet from greed and sound-bytes: “Do the right thing” “Get it done” “Fake News”. How about “Stop Lying”
13th December 2019
When the Red, Red Robin comes bob, bob, bobbing along!
Carols are resounding everywhere we go and still in our heads if not in our ears. I write this on wednesday 11th December before Thursday’s election results so readers will know by now if it is a red, blue, green, yellow, orange or whatever colour win so there is no bias here; simply a wish for the environment to remain top of the agenda once they get our votes.
The name ‘Dead Hedges’ is a bit of a misnomer as they are full of life once they become established. However, they are built with dead stuff and the local volunteers have been busy putting them in place all along the River Crane if you want to take a look and perhaps consider building one in your garden. We need insects and all wildlife need shelter and dark spaces to breed and flourish. The hedge can be smaller and built to fit the space available.
The Green Gym Poster states:“A Dead Hedge is built using two parallel rows of stakes and a few branches are woven to create sturdy sides and the space in between the rows is filled with dead material which comes from pruning or clearing activities.They are effective boundaries used as fences and excellent habitats for animals such as birds and hedgehogs which can be part of a beneficial “biological pest agents.”Dead Hedges also recycle/re-use biomass without energy use to transport to landfills or by burning, reducing a carbon footprint impact.”
7th December 2019 - Alder by the River Crane
The leaves are falling and the landscape changing into winter hues. Wrap up warm and walk in our beautiful parks and along the riverside paths and look out for the redwings, blackcaps and migrant robins all visiting from even colder climes to over winter here! Spare a few moments to break the ice on cold mornings for our bird baths/ponds and put out some food for garden visitors like hedgehogs who need to gain weight to hibernate and survive until the spring. Little acts of kindness bring joy.
This Kingfisher has moved from Mill Road to the river bank near the Trafalgar Infant School area and stayed very still for the photo below so you may catch him there if you find any time to slow down, stand and stare. Starlings are also showing off their iridescent colours.
Take a look at this 2010 photo walk if you love snow and Bushy Park; it was amazing and perhaps we are due for another frosty winter.
30th November 2019
“And this prayer I make, knowing that Nature never did betray the heart that loved her: ‘tis her privilege through all the years of this our life to lead from joy to joy, for she can so inform the mind that is within us, so impress with quietness and beauty, and so feed with lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues, rash judgements, nor the sneers of selfish men Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all the dreary intercourse of life, shall e’er prevail against us or disturb our chearful faith that all which we behold is full of blessings.”
Wordsworth offers these uplifting thoughts and we hope it gives some succour to all those in the midst of the endless planning applications besieging our lives and encourages us to continue standing up for nature. Udney Park supporters have produced evidence to combat the expert reports submitted by well-resourced developers and highlighted the importance of ‘ecology networks. i.e. How areas are connected to green infrastructures of the area they are a part of and their connection to other larger SSSI (sites of special scientific interest) such as Bushy Park and Richmond Park. We do not exist in isolation and all is interconnected.
It is a strange use of logic to read applications by some applicants putting forward an argument for their right to build on/near green space because ‘it has already been done further down the River Crane Corridor by Twickenham Station and the old GPO site.” The increased need for housing and the rights of owners to extend property, concrete over gardens, install bright lights and worse has already caused impacts along this corridor and any remaining green spaces which abut it are to be prized and protected. We may not have the monetary resources of other parts of our Borough for expert testimony but those of us who live, work, and enjoy the River Crane environment appreciate all the amazing work already done by local volunteers and our Council to improve its ecology and are fully committed to voicing our concerns with inappropriate developments which will impact on this fragile network for little benefit.
29th November 2019
When we went to see the designs by the five contenders for the riverside competition, we had a feeling of ‘what will be, will be’ but we hoped that at least the one with a pub would not be given much breathing space. Another pub and on the riverside after years of problems in that area with drinkers. Do we need to have another alcohol venue near a river and children’s play area? How about a bit of lateral thinking here and offering the ‘pub’ to the two female entrepreneurs who have set up the successful Redemption Bars serving only non-alcoholic drinks and vegan, sugar free healthy menus? Take a look and see what you think: https://www.redemptionbar.co.uk/
We supported the Tribune in condemning the use of Leaf Blowers and their usage has now been discouraged by The German Government following a report by The Greens there showing the damage to ecology from their indiscriminate use: “Too loud, Polluted the Air and Posed a fatal threat to Insects.” They said that “Leaf Blowers should not be used unless they were indispensable.”
Cllr. Fleming acted very quickly to our leaf blower concerns in York House gardens and that is reassuring as we need all political parties recognising environmental impacts. Labour supported us with a Bat Questionnaire in a West Ward Planning Application which we are still opposing in Churchview Road and The Liberal Party and Green Councillors are strongly committed to all environmental issues.
It is not sufficient to change your car sticker from ‘Countryside Alliance – We support Fox Hunting’ to ‘London Wildlife Trust’ – we love our Urban Foxes’ without a commensurate change in behaviour. Did you know that on private land, even with an MOL/Greenspace designation, the owner can do many things that have been banned metres away on public land? They can have an air gun and shoot ‘legal quarry’ which includes foxes. squirrels, magpies, collared doves You may remember the Avian Flu problem which was related to domesticated birds positioned near water sources where migrant species visited and these impacts are real and avoidable with intelligent usage of land and awareness of density issues. i.e. Increased human needs for housing/recreation on river corridors and green spaces
15th November 2019
Taking a walk along our favourite route from Kneller Gardens towards The Shot Tower we saw a multitude of apples, pears and berries still flourishing. In the Meadway Orchard, established by the Green Gym volunteers, there are more fruit trees and wildlife friendly areas to nourish nature. You never know what you will see growing wild along this route and the trees are turning a glorious colour with russet leaves carpeting the woodland paths.
We feel so lucky to be able to walk along this river corridor when so many are suffering from flooding and our thoughts are with them. It seems that all our habitats are under threat and thank goodness the awareness is now raised to tackle these urgent issues. Friends of the Earth are promoting simple ideas to save on waste and combat carbon/plastic impacts by changing some of our Christmas patterns. Click here for 12 Festive Tips We like the Bee Saver kit gift under their Gifts for a good cause category and the tip to rent a green tree and return it after the festive season to keep growing!
“The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.” Robert Frost.
15th November 2019
A Tree Preservation Order for MOL in private hands by the River Crane Adjacent to Trafalgar Infant School Playing Field , The Meadway, has been issued.
The Effect of this TPO states: written consent needed to cut down,top,lop, uproot,wilful damage or wilful destruction to any tree in the specified area.
Restrictions only work if people obey them or if the authorities enforce orders. Plum tree below in the TPO area was completely destroyed without written consent or inspection before the work was carried out. It did not look dead to us or the birds feeding there only this year.
9th November 2019
The Robin is always a welcome visitor with his cheery song and seems to herald Christmas as cards appear everywhere with his image. We have been asked about the Keats quotation from last week and it is from his poem Ode to a Nightingale. These beautiful, melodic birds are not heard in many of the places where they were habiting. It is sad to see grown men crying when they go to old haunts with their children and there is no bird song only memories from their youth to pass on. This loss of wildlife was highlighted in Autumnwatch when Chris Packham was talking to a young naturalist who calmly stated that he had never seen a hedgehog.
What do you see above? Beauty, trees, sky, wild hedgerow and the last bloom of autumn? Or do you see also the home and feeding spaces these offer to a multitude of wildlife in addition to their own intrinsic value? Habitat is more than just neat and manicured ‘objects’ for us to manage; it is a living thing and it is greater than what the eye can see. Outward appearance seems to be so valued and yet what is within can often be the real prize with human beings and with nature. The impact of human needs on the remaining green spaces has to be taken more seriously if we want to sustain what is left let alone reverse the losses from past mistakes.
Poppies in our wildflower meadow for Remembrance Sunday – Lest we Forget the horrors of war and the debt we owe to those standing up for Peace for All
Everyone Sang - Siegfried Sassoon
“Everyone’s voice was suddenly lifted; And beauty came like the setting sun:
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror drifted away…O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless, the singing will never be done.”
2nd November 2019
A picture tells a thousand words?
After two days of chainsaw and wood chipper noise a blackbird returned to his old haunt and had a puzzled look on his face. We know how he feels and it seems that old fashioned neighbourliness is not in fashion anymore. That is unfortunate for human beings but it is disastrous for wildlife who are struggling against more demands for their spaces. Sensitive maintenance of hedgerows/trees is vital and we understand the need for improvements and removal of invasive species to keep a thriving habitat functioning well. Alarm bells ring when contractors arrive early on your doorstep demanding access but refuse to give their details/qualifications and their white van has no markings. More concerning is when they cannot tell a plum tree from a hawthorn or cherry and hack away without much expertise in a TPO protected area which has MOL Status. We will have to see if the Firecrest/Song Thrush return when there is little dense cover or berries now and the Magpies are on the prowl! Enjoy the photos and David Attenborough’s films and pray we still have the real thing in the world for our children to see in the wild.
"Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird! No hungry generations tread thee down: The voice I hear this passing night was heard in ancient day by Emperor and Clown." Keats
26th October 2019 Firecrest and Goldcrest photos below:
A Firecrest visits the River Crane and we have this photo for the first time to share with bird enthusiasts. We have seen Goldcrests before but not one of these and they are very tiny and very fast but maybe if you stay still and look into the hedgerows and pine trees you will spot one too.
We enjoyed the local RSPB talk by David Lindo in York House last week and his new book: How to be an Urban Birder gives some good tips and we were happy to read that we are already following most of the ideas in our awareness raising campaigns to promote more participation and understanding in nature activities in our own backyards.
The Wren is thought by most to be our smallest garden bird but the Goldcrest is only 9cm followed by the Firecrest and then the Wren at 10cm. More photos are on our Flickr Album accessed on our home page and some water, planting a tree and berry rich bush will attract theses beauties into your garden.
Kestrel spotted with its kill high up in the trees. We hoped it was not a vole in its talons but could not tell for sure. The Kestrel belongs to the Falcon family, hovers and hunts small rodents whilst the Sparrowhawk has a ‘flap and glide’ flight and as its name suggests hunts small birds! Watch Greta Thunberg/George Monbiot on Nature and importance of Trees.
19th October 2019
Watching the Simon Reeves “Through the Americas series” last Sunday showed how much wilderness has been lost to cattle ranching and human settlement. The near annihilation of the buffalo from 30 million to 500 was staggering and only matched by the irony of one of the Cowboy/Landowner’s berating their loss of way of life due to current economics of ranching on hundreds of acres of land for 4000 cattle. Sadder still was when we saw how the Native Americans were reduced to living in sub-standard housing on reservations after their land/way of life was taken because they were nomadic and did not have ownership ‘rights’. On the positive side, we saw how another individual is buying up land to re-wild it for the benefit of humanity. Let’s hope he is allowed to continue in the Land of the Free; or is that free for some? Indigenous people in other environmentally sensitive areas are experiencing the same challenges to protect nature with their ancient knowledge of the land and how to maintain sustainability rather than to just make money in the short term. The magnitude of the world challenges for our planet can inure a defeatist or apathetic attitude to local issues which seem small in comparison and the effort needed to get action from the Council does not help encourage us to speak up. However, we do need to keep going as each small success builds confidence and can make a big difference, in some cases, for struggling wildlife in our crowded urban environment. They need to be protected where they have chosen to be and established patterns of breeding, feeding and giving us joy to see them enjoying the sunshine and rain as they preen and play. Support us in objecting to the Churchview Road TW2 5BT Application if you think we are right in opposing this encroachment onto MOL/Green Space near Trafalgar Infant School and adjacent to the River Crane Corridor. See our photos on River Crane Sanctuary for evidence of red listed species on the site itself and close by or contact us for more information Use your Voice and do something positive for Our wildlife in Our Community
October Photos: Dragonfly and Firecrest Visit MOL/Churchview site to show they are here!
12th October 2019
Fungi and Flowers
My Voice.... Becomes the wind; Mushroom-hunting. 19th Century Haiku by Poet Shiku
Fabulous mushrooms are to be found on a walk in our parks and if you want to know more about fungi then read Michael Jordan’s book “Mushroom Magic” which is fascinating and informative. ISBN 0-241-12844-7 Elm Tree Books. We were also tempted with Jamie’s recent mushroom pastie/veggie recipe on TV! Delicious.
A Peacock Butterfly visited a late bloom in the garden and the Hedgehog House is awaiting residents. We have tried our best to make it welcoming: dry, warm and safe from predators but these are wild creatures and they will choose where they want to be. Natural habitat is always the best and established hedgerows, trees and grasslands need our protection more than ever. Nature Conservation is a valid planning objection but what does that mean and how high up the agenda is this point in our decision-making process with all the demands from other interest groups? Is off setting and gains to be made for planning approval worth the benefits against the losses entailed from the deterioration of Air Quality, Habitat and Living Conditions? It depends on where we place our emphasis and we could say ‘Health or Wealth’. Or do we now realise that Health is Wealth? Take a look at the Lidl Committee Meeting video from last week and perhaps consider who you vote for next time we need Councillors/MPs to speak up for the next generation who may value the air they breathe over shopping or even jobs.
Click for Video of: Application for Lidl South Road Twickenham Planning Committee Decision to approve the application by casting vote given by The Chairman and contrary to air quality/highway trafffic issues raised and opposition from TFL and residents.
5th October 2019
“In being aware of that which is false, there comes intelligence. Intelligence is not yours or mine. It operates when any incident, propaganda, challenge or demand is put before us. Intelligence is the perception of what is false and what is true.” J. Krishnamurti
Sounds simple when put in such a concise statement by a clear thinker but then we live in a world where everyone thinks their version of the truth is right and everyone else is wrong. Perception is a rare attribute and one worth cultivating as the environment comes under increasing threat and our fragile earth needs more ‘truths’ aired in the open for all to see that which is false. Are we willing to act and persevere to save our planet? Thousands of young people seem to be leading the way and we wish them fortitude and success because we all need to wake up and smell the roses.
We can report some success with lighting issues/contraventions and TPO requests in the River Crane Sanctuary and credit is due to hard pressed Council Officers/Councillors for taking remedial action with powers available to them at this time. We need more stringent environmental powers for detrimental effects of Light Pollution on Wildlife and Tree Protection (especially on privately owned land) to help officials act when necessary. Whether local councils have any additional powers to enact protections is worth investigating and I was surprised to hear from a friend in Hounslow Council’s area that even in private gardens they had to ask for permission to do tree work. If this is correct it is very strange that even on privately owned MOL/ Green space in our Borough no such restriction applies without a TPO in place. Perhaps a Councillor reading this will pick up the baton for nature.
28th September 2019 September Days
“I hear the drizzle of the rain. Like a memory it falls.
Soft and warm continuing. Tapping on my roof and walls.”
c. Paul Simon’s Kathy’s song
More a downpour than a drizzle recently but reminded me of the beauty of the above love song and some of the other insights it offered into the human condition. A listener on You Tube commented that the whole Simon and Garfunkel album: “Never ceases to pacify my weariness after a hard day of living” Many agree that music and all The Arts, which are often inspired by nature, can lift us out of feelings of helplessness or release pent up emotions. We started the River Crane Sanctuary website and group in response to planning applications which threatened our green spaces in private ownership along the River Crane and to raise awareness of groups already working in this area to enhance all the spaces for the benefit of flora and fauna which in turn benefits all the people who come here for respite and enjoyment away from the stresses of urban living. This Hedgehog video gives useful information on how to encourage them to visit our gardens and what they need during the colder months coming. We have built a hedgehog house and it is easy to do and children love to help and see “Who lives in a house like this?” The photos of Bindweed above shows how bees and other pollinators find food in their flowers when other sources get scarce. Bindweed also has other benefits: e.g. combats soil erosion in cleared areas which helps with flooding issues. Nettles and other ‘weeds’ are important for butterflies’ and moths’ larvae. Go Wild!
21st September 2019 Peace Day
This photograph of a white Butterfly made it into the SWLEN 2018 Photo competition final and some of the words that described the entry turned out to be quite prophetic.
“I liked the white flowing into the green which camouflagedthe butterfly and made it almost invisible when you stepped away. Eventhough these white butterflies may not be endangered now it highlighted how they can disappear like so many other once common species in our gardens. Now you see me…Now you don’t.” (c.2018 sammi macqueen)
The Big Butterfly Count results showed that our three common white butterflies which did well in the 2018 count have each declined by 42% in 2019 count and the Holly Blue and Common Blue by 59%. Luckily, we have seen many whites and some blues in the River Crane Sanctuary along with Speckled Woods which are also seeing a decrease elsewhere.
Red listed species (Song Thrush/Sparrow - seen here in our hedgerows and quiet spaces) depend on our Officers to enforce laws; some of which require discretionary powers. Are they aware of the importance of habitat protection over looks? Unfortunately, we had no response to a request for a TPO on a river corridor established hedgerow although over fifty people supported it and yet the South Road/Lidl site had one granted on their road side verge very quickly. Ah well…seems that Teddington/Fulwell has more clout than West Ward Twickenham! Richmond RSPB celebrate their 40th year anniversary with a series of events and we are looking forward to hearing David Lindo speak again after his great talk at the Recorder’s event last year in London. Check out the Richmond RSPB site for more details and you can pay on the door on thursday 17th October at 7.30 pm - Clarendon Hall, York House. See you there.
14th September 2019
Common Blue Butterfly
Butterflies and Moths are vital Pollinators along with Bees and they have all significantly declined in numbers. We are being encouraged to have plants in our gardens which provide Pollen, Nectar and Berries. Our blackbirds are feasting on the Pyracantha berries and the Lavender is hosting many butterflies and moths still as we enjoy an Indian summer.
Providing some of these food sources, along with water, is a small price to pay for the beauty and enjoyment gained from the visiting wildlife. The scent from the flowers favoured by many Pollinators is another plus point. It is also essential for the continuation of our very own existence to have pollinators thriving and carrying out their vital function in the food chain. The changes of emphasis and content in programmes such as Countryfile and Gardeners World to show the importance of the natural world has helped change some damaging habits in our garden and countryside management and hopefully to raise Ecology higher up the agenda in Objections considered for refusing planning applications.
Photos below: 1. Comma Butterfly 2. Painted Lady Butterfly and Bumblebee 3. Hummingbird Hawk Moth 4. Jersey Tiger Moth
7th September 2019
A Charm of Finches and A ? of Chiff-Chaffs
I was given a Birds ‘Collective Nouns Calendar’ in 2013 which had beautiful illustrations by the artist Anna Wright. Some of the groups are well known to most of us like ‘A Gaggle of Geese’ or a ‘Murder of Crows’ but others a complete mystery. Have you heard of ‘A Hangout of Shags’which conjures up quite an image! The River Crane Corridor is host to a multitude of birdlife which is seen in many gardens and heard in the wooded areas. Take a listen to the Owl recorded near Trafalgar Infant School sports field: Owl Sounds in The Sanctuary A Parliament of Owls were a group of talking owls that met at night in Narnia to discuss the state of affairs in the land. Fantasy reflects reality in our world today but I wonder if “Wise as an Owl” is an accurate description of all our Parliamentarians?
We have seen a multitude of Goldfinches, in particular, recently in our watering dishes with many juveniles which is heartening and shows that the habitat here is healthy for now. However, complacency is not an option given the loss of so much already in habitat and flora/fauna. Private property is being given more latitude in Planning and it seems that the sound of building is continuous in our neighbourhoods with yet another Juliet balcony or Grand Design project on the horizon. Families need room, of course, and housing shortage is a real problem but given the new increased powers to private owners to extend it is even more necessary to say no to new builds which will harm our established dark spaces and encroach on to protected MOL/Green Space. It is not acceptable anymore to say that Nature is resilient and the wildlife will go elsewhere. Where?
A Bobbin of Robins
1st September 2019
Blackbirds singing at the Break of Day
Our regular visiting male and female blackbirds (with baby) posing for the camera and singing their melodious tune early morning. The Dawn Chorus is lost in many places and we are so lucky to have it here along the River Crane corridor. We have uploaded some recordings on our Flickr album if you want to hear them. One of the main problems for wildlife now is the introduction of bright lighting intruding into dark spaces which hampers natural cycles of sleeping/waking much in the way it can for human beings. Do we need so much lighting in our gardens and homes and if it is necessary for access or security can we look at directing the light downwards instead of up into the night sky or onto hedgerows and trees?
September is upon us and new wonders to observe along the river and in our green spaces. Some species hibernate or migrate and some life cycles end whilst other emerge. If we gather sounds and sights from our meanderings, they can brighten up the dullest of days as W.B. Yeats observes in his Poem about one of his favourite places.
“I will arise and go now, for always night and day I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey, I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
24th August 2019
Dragonflies and Damselflies are seen by the lily pads on the River Crane and they also frequent gardens and hedgerows nearby. The larger Common Aeshna - photo above - is the most widespread of our larger Hawker Dragonflies and they can be seen away from water too in July and August. Medium sized ones are called Darters from their habit of darting in and out of vegetation and the smaller species are Damselflies which are shown below. Apparently, the Male and Female Damselflies are different and the females have blueish or yellowish bodies but that is not easy to distinguish in real life situations.
Flight has always fascinated humans and led to the exploration of ways to get airborne and to eventually land on the Moon. These are fantastic achievements and a lot of pleasure and insights offered to many of us who embraced travel. Difficult decisions now have to be made personally and globally as the true cost of travel and means of travelling are highlighted by environmentalists.
The joy of watching our natural flyers – Bats, Birds, Bees, Butterflies etc... - still remains free of these concerns but their very survival is in jeopardy from climate change and other ecological factors which affect their habitats. Valuing these amazing lifeforms helps to create the will to change habits for their benefit even if it costs us something. See our Ecology page for links to many of the sites related to these ‘Flyers’ and in particular a link to ‘Why Bats Matter’ as there is a walk with Philip Briggs along the River Crane on Wednesday 28th August 2019. If the walk is already full you can always take your own walk and watch the dark sky for any sightings.
13th August 2019
“People where you live grow five thousand roses in one garden………
Yet they don’t find what they’re looking for
and yet what they’re looking for could be found in a single Rose.” Le Petit Prince
The Classic book ‘The Little Prince ‘by Antoine de Saint-Exupery suggests that adults often fail to appreciate the important things in life that children are able to see clearly because adults look only with their eyes whilst children look with their hearts.
The often-quoted pieces seem to be very pertinent to what is happening now to our precious planet which our children will inherit. The greed of wanting more and more when we have enough and risk destroying even that which we have left to pass on.
“Well I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with butterflies” The Rose
“Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.” The Aviator
8th August 2019
“I like to see a thing I know has not been seen before,
That’s why I cut my apple through to look into the core.
It's nice to think though many an eye has seen the ruddy skin,
Mine is the very first to spy the five brown pips within." Anon
So much is blooming along the River Crane Sanctuary if we take the time to look; Apples and Pear trees growing wild and many berries ripening in the hot sunshine. We were captured by the beauty of the Artichoke growing in the Twickenham Gardening Allotment opposite Meadway Orchard and looking closer into its lilac core we spied a bee also foraging. See it?
Sometimes we have to look deeper to see what is there and not visible on the surface. Gardens are being lauded as havens for our endangered flora and fauna and there is a deluge of information coming at us to help give options for things we can do to help. “Did you know that composting at home for just one year can save global warming gases equivalent to all the CO2 our kettle produces annually, or our washing machine produces in three months?” I am not sure how these figures are worked out by scientists but why not compost anyway and get some lovely fresh nutrients for the garden and encourage the worms to multiply.’Stumperies’ are also great for propagating mushrooms and enabling lifeforms to flourish. Leaving some logs from any felled trees to rot away naturally is encouraged. Take a look at the amazing Stumperies built by the Victorians and copied in great gardens for their visual impact as well as their ecological benefits.
3rd August 2019
Dunnock on the RSPB Amber List
The Red, Amber and Green codings are assigned to species to highlight those who need better protection due to declining numbers or other issues and we can find out more on the RSPB site by looking up any birds in their A to Z chart. People were worried that songbirds on the Red List might be affected by aggressive Magpies (Green Listed) and the RSPB carried out research to investigate if there was a link between Magpie numbers and Songbird declining numbers. They found no evidence for this link and concluded that the absence of food sources and nesting sites were the more likely culprits. This highlights the importance of protecting identified areas where songbirds and other endangered wildlife are thriving in our congested urban spaces. Unfortunately, there are big incentives to prepare a plot for building permission and no “Nanny 911 for Nature”,as yet, to say “No. You can’t have it!” We have to rely on our Councillors, Planners and Environmental Guardians to exhibit some TRUE GRIT.
Beware, Beware! He sees you there in his jacket black and white. A beak so sharp and eye blue black He hunts into the night. Magpie - One for sorrow? Luckily seen in groups and pairs often so Two for Joy!
An opera star with song pure clear it carries on the air. Repeating tunes to entice our ears. Have you ever seen a Pair? Our beautiful Song Thrush which is Smaller and browner than the Grey Speckled chested Mistlethrush which are seen more in Pairs!
So much to do. So much to do. I flitter here and there. My frame is small but my voice is loud. Catch me if you dare. Wren in a rare moment of stillness resting on the tree stump left after this area was cleared to enable a planning application!
27th July 2019
Gate Keeper Butterfly
The Big Butterfly Count runs from the 19th July to 11 August and there is a chart to download to help us identify and record what we see.
Visit our Ecology Page and click the Butterfly link to get the chart and more information. We need to register what is in our vicinity to help with conservation efforts with declining species and we can make a real difference with these simple and enjoyable activities.
Operation Centaur were helping The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) in Crane Park by Mill Road entrance last week. Photos below are of Alyster holding Nobby and Heath and Tom putting them through their paces! They arrived early to escape the heat and will be working again along the River Crane by Hospital Bridge Road next Tuesday 30th July at 10.30 a.m. if you want to see them in action. Do check with TCV to confirm times/dates.
The trees along the River Walk are full of fruit and blooms and alive with wildlife. There is something new to see whenever we go and so many friendly people to have a chat and exchange information about this amazing area right on our doorstep.
17th July 2019
“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.” Blake.
Corn Marigolds - Glebionis segetum, much in decline thanks to the way we farm now, like so many other species with "Corn" in their name, but often re-introduced through wildflower seed mixes. Quote from Scott - British Native Wildflowers expert - in our Flickr album along with more wildflowers and visitors.
These beauties above are in the River Crane Wildflower meadows and they offer an amazing habitat along with nettles, thistles and ‘weeds’ which all have a part to play in encouraging wildlife to breed and survive in our world today. Below are some of the butterflies we have recorded in the Sanctuary and visit our Ecology page to find links to Butterfly Conservation where you can identify what you see and a link to FORCE who are offering a Butterfly Walk next week on Wednesday so that you can join with others to see for yourself what is here now.
Did you see the recent repeat on TV about the life cycle of the Painted Lady butterfly? We recommend this beautifully presented programme which gives a lot of information on butterflies and habitat. The Buddleia or Butterfly Bush was named after Adam Buddle, posthumously, by Linnaeus to honour him for his work in botany over two centuries ago. It is ironic that Buddleia came from the Caribbean fifteen years after his death and he never got the chance to enjoy it as much as we do in our gardens and wild places.
13th July 2019
It is not hard to understand how artists and many others have been inspired by nature when we see all it has to offer if we but take the time to ‘Stand and Stare’
This magnified photo of a wild poppy, taken in the wildflower meadow along the River Crane Sanctuary walk last week, was mesmerising. The multitude of bees and insects feeding on the array of grasses and other nectar rich flowers were a joy to watch and comforting when so many of our pollinators are in decline with habitat loss being identified as the main culprit. “Bees’ needs Week” finishes tomorrow and ‘Carnabee Street’ has been turned into a ‘Hive of Activity’ by organisers offering information and activities to educate, inspire and energise everyone to take action to help our endangered species to thrive. They highlight five simple actions: 1. Grow more flowers, shrubs and trees 2. Let your garden grow wild 3. Cut your grass less often 4. Don’t disturb insect nest and hibernation spots 5. Think carefully about whether to use pesticides
Grow Wild at Kew have teamed up with Jo Malone and are offering wildflower seeds again with advice so visit their website to get involved
5th July 2019
Hurt no Living Thing - Christina Rossetti
Hurt no living thing, Ladybird nor butterfly, Nor moth with dusty wing, Nor cricket chirping cheerily, Nor grasshopper, so light of leap, Nor dancing gnat, Nor beetle fat, Nor harmless worms that creep.
Comma Butterfly, Blue Damselfly, Robin and Blue Tit Photographs
Butterflies galore so why not join the Butterfly walk with FORCE on Wednesday 24th July and join Forces with FORCE to protect our local green spaces? We can do so much as individuals but we can do so much more with a group. Individuals come and go and we need experts in groups who hold historical knowledge to protect our diminishing Green Spaces long-term. SWLEN also offer expertise and support for biodiversity with a range of pamphlets on their site and both groups have volunteer opportunities locally to help nature and to meet other nature lovers to share tips and other ideas.
Find links to these groups and other valuable sites on our ecology page.
Robin in his Lido doing a good backstroke above and Blue Tit enjoying a Plum for breakfast! Consider some natural water and food sources, if you have space, as our wildlife come to depend on our regular offerings and we are not always there. A fruit tree or berries and a small pond can be life savers in different weathers. Make sure we clean out water trays and dishes regularly so that no bacteria forms to harm wildlife or ourselves.
29th June 2019
“How did the Rose ever open its Heart
And give to this world of its Beauty?
It felt the encouragement of the Light
against its being. Otherwise, we all remain
too frightened. Hafiz
Light can be used to mean actual brightness from many sources or metaphorically to express our moments of ‘light bulb revelation’ when we understand and feel a truth previously hidden from our awareness. We are living in a time where many are experiencing these moments and maybe feeling frightened as long held beliefs and certitudes are crumbling in a fast-changing environment. Walks in Nature, alone or with others, can return a sense of balance and calm as we connect with wildlife and the glory of trees, wildflowers, sunshine and rain. These green spaces are worth protecting for now and future generations and we have many enlightened nature lovers willing to overcome their fears and voice their concerns locally and nationally. We may be raising the Alarm but we are not Alarmists.
Solstice walk in silence and then a lunchtime chat! No worms for us but a lovely lunch at the Prince Blucher. Join Us?
Bowls of water and stone tiles/bricks will bring visitors into your garden who need to drink, bathe and rest in the warm sun. Green Woodpecker and Painted Lady Butterfly.
22nd June 2019
“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all”
Red listed House Sparrow with nesting material adjacent to Churchview Garages. On its way back to the hedgerow where according to Developers they do not exist!
Song Thrush is here too along with Bats feeding on the insect life although the recent bright lighting may affect numbers this year unless Environmental Health Officers manage to get the lighting reduced. “Hope Springs Eternal” as our own Alexander Pope wrote in his poem!
Sontan Court viewed from River Crane and View down Churchview Road Photos:
The side of Sontan Court can be seen from the River Crane Walk but no windows face onto the green space and dark corridor needed for our wildlife. Two three storey high new builds are proposed here in front of the present building with windows facing the River. The new builds will block the view down Churchview Road towards the Green Space and add more cars onto this already congested area. Ten garages will be demolished and additional parking put next to Trafalgar Infant School and local residents back gardens instead.
Trafalgar infant school play area next to proposed parking
Jay - I object ......Do You?
21st June 2019
We had a wonderful group get together today for the Sumer Solstice in Crane Park and lunch at the Prince Blucher on Twickenham Green. It is good to be with nature lovers in a community park which nourishes the soul and quietens the mind. The group gives support to our endeavours to keep established dark spaces and habitats safe from inapproriate development which may harm the delicate eco-structure of the river corridor and the species themselves; hence our objection to the Churchview Garages Site. Why not join us next time for our informal and friendly gatherings? See contact page on this website and make contact!
17th June 2019 White Rose of Peace in our sanctuary garden
The Garden is being promoted as a haven to help us all relax from the stresses of life today and it is easy to lose time as you gaze upon the beauty of a flower and smell the fragrance. Simple pleasures which can cost nothing if you visit the many free gardens/parks in our beautiful borough.
Robin and Blackbird photographed adjacent to Churchview Site and fledglings are here too!
Wild Hawthorn Hedgerow below – Can you spot the Dunnock amongst the Blossom?
This hedgerow is less than three metres from the first-floor balcony and second floor bedroom windows accommodation in the proposed three storey high Churchview Garages revised application. The building will block sunlight and introduce human and domesticated animals into a narrow space and will impact significantly on this established habitat. We are assured now that the trees and hedgerow will be saved and good neighbour policies introduced such as sensitive lighting. Forgive our scepticism when we have yet to get the recently introduced bright lighting in this area cowled or dimmed and which has been identified as a nuisance by Richmond Environmental Health Officers visiting the site on the 11th May 2019. We are awaiting action by Wandsworth or an update.
As for protecting the vegetation, we refer readers to the photos of the mistake by these developers in spraying and destroying parts of the hedgerow already. Mistakes do happen, of course, and that is a good reason to be wary of heavy machinery and building in sensitive areas when so much is at stake now in our environmental crisis.
Why do we keep being re-active instead of pro-active? Save what is there now instead of rectifying mistakes and trying to establish new habitats. We know better so we need to act better.
8th June 2019 Green Hairstreak Butterfly
This beautiful butterfly visited last week and is very tiny and well camouflaged but we managed to get this photo on a pesticide free Thornless Blackberry Bush. The birds have been busy cleaning up the greenfly and aphids so that the gardens are full of blooms for all to enjoy and it is worth a little damage to our flowers/plants to ensure that wildlife and humans are not harmed by chemicals released into the environment.
There is information everywhere now on wilding our gardens to make up for the catastrophic loss of habitat in our countryside due to intensive farming and other impacts but is the message reaching the non-converted and very busy sections of our community or those who just do not care but know their rights once they own land? More worrying is whether our Councils and other Statutory bodies are enforcing laws when they are informed of infringements. Unfortunately, we have not found that to be the case and in fact there is often a considerable delay or no response in getting any updates on issues raised. For this reason alone, it is vital that we oppose any new buildings which can impact on green areas even if they have so called restrictions put on the site because it is very unlikely that these will be enforced in the current climate of budget restraints and high turn- over of staff. Therefore, we ask for your support in objecting to the below application.
As expected, another planning application has been received for the Garages in Churchview Road and we trust that it will be rigorously opposed in this over developed and sensitive area next to the River Crane Corridor and Metropolitan Green Space. Please look at the application 19/1647/FUL and comment or contact us through the River Crane Sanctuary to sign a petition to Councillors which we will be asking to support a refusal on this site again
1st June 2019 White Egret visits the River Crane
Runs all day and never walks. Often murmurs, never talks. It has a bed, but never sleeps. It has a mouth but never eats.
Springwatch is highlighting ways to get wildlife into our gardens and inviting us to take part in a ‘Citizen Science’ project on their BBC website. Please consider taking a look to see what is possible in even the smallest space.
The First of June arrives and many welcome the longer days and starry nights. We begin to plan our holidays or perhaps go with the flow and see what unfolds. Living with surprise and change means that keeping our eyes and minds open may lead to amazing moments of discovery. Perhaps we can let go of fear for a bit and relax like this Robin on the ground who enjoyed a sunbathe so close to us and potential predators.He flew off after a drink from the water bowl and preen on the fence…….ahhhhh!
At last, a Green Veined Butterfly visited us long enough for a photo call.
The Bumble-Bee was still gathering pollen from Wild Sown, ‘Love in a Mist’ when it already had excess ‘Pollen Sacs’ baggage to fly home!
A lesson for all of us that Less is More, sometimes, or we end up with heaviness and expense
25th May 2019
Butterflies Bats Birds Blooms Beetles Bees
The sun has brought out all the usual suspects and some not so usual anymore: e.g. We have recorded swifts, stag beetles, bats and song thrushes last week. Have you seen any of these in your garden or on your walks? Chelsea flower show along with Countryfile is now acknowledging the need for more attention to ‘wilding’ and endangered flora and fauna issues. Wildflowers and grasses are so beautiful and attract pollinators such as the Orange Tip butterfly seen feeding on Herb-Robert photograph taken in the Sanctuary last Wednesday. Gorgeous Red Campion, in the Meadway Orchard below, is worth a place even in the most manicured garden and also helps insects to flourish which in turn feed other species. Mayflies are abundant and watching the house sparrows play and feed in the River Crane by Meadway Bridge was a joy.
Little changes make big differences if enough of us decide it is worth our effort to green our urban spaces where we can do so or give our support to others fighting to save our environment.
18th May 2019
We all need friends and the ultimate Friends group has to be Friends of the Earth. We joined the local group at the May Fair last Saturday with other campaigners wanting to improve our air quality and raise awareness of this issue which is all part of the wider Global emergency
Take a look at the history of this amazing group and their achievements over the years by looking on their website.. Decades ago they were highlighting environmental concerns for our planet and they have an enviable success record with initiating changes at a governmental level after peaceful protest, intelligent arguments and workable solutions.
Join us on 26th June 2019 in London for The Time is Now gathering to lobby Parliament for real change to protect the environment and consequentially all life.
Make Air Safe and Clean MASC
Living under the flight path of Heathrow is a good enough reason to add our presence to the protest against any expansion which is one of the main items on the agenda and we thank this organisation for taking court action to protect the health of our future generations by opposing this outrage. How to help: foe.uk/tackle-air-pollution
Peace Peace Peace
FORCE - Friends of the River Crane Environment, need our support locally to safeguard our green spaces and they offer free walks and information. It costs less than a cup of coffee and a pastry to join and going on one of their walks is worth the membership alone. We love the Butterfly, Bird and Bat walks and have also been on the Three Rivers Walk which was great with friendly and knowledgeable people. Links are on our website Ecology page and remember to add your photos to our Sanctuary album for others to enjoy if you get a nature photo in your garden or along the River Corridor.
11th May 2019
Biodiversity is in the news and the U.N. report on Nature highlights the loss of millions of species due to loss of Habitat and human behaviour, in particular. River Corridors, like our own River Crane, are of immense importance for the connectivity and sustainability of Flora and Fauna.
How hard is it to take your litter home and pick up your dog mess? When you see this selfish behaviour still taking place when so many unselfish volunteers are working hard to improve the environment for all it can be a little discouraging. However, we need to keep doing whatever we can as individuals as well as joining groups to balance out these eco vandals. It is harder to stand up and confront neighbours who impact on the natural environment either through intention for personal needs/greed or through ignorance. A Councillor once asked me why more immediate neighbours had not objected to a particular application on MOL and I had to tell him that it was not a pleasant experience and even threatening in some instances so quite understandable; particularly when your personal details are put on public view on the web by the Planning Portal. Perhaps this can be kept private as a matter of personal safety and to encourage more people to make their true voices heard?
SWLEN's first photographic competition winners for Nature in Richmond Borough were chosen at the launch of The Biodiversity Action Plan on Thursday 9 th May at the London Wetland Centre and we had some of our photos in the final and commended. We hope this will encourage readers to enter next year as our cameras are basic and we are not professionals but we love Nature! Video on you tube of the Swlen photos is worth a visit if you love nature and photography.
10th May 2019
Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) Launched at The London Wetland Centre
We arrived at the amazing Barnes Wetlands last Thursday morning and felt privileged to be there in such august company. Sir David Attenborough was the main speaker and he did not disappoint the attentive audience. His sincere and direct presentation hit home as he highlighted the urgency for all of us to do our bit and he complimented the groups and individuals involved in getting this vital BAP launched in the borough he loves so much.
So, what is the BAP? “A Biodiversity Action Plan is a strategy that aims to conserve and improve biological diversity and to sustain and increase natural resources”.
A range of pamphlets with great photos and further explanations are available from SWLEN and in local libraries. They also give good information on how you can get involved in helping put this Action Plan into Action!
The BAP lists gardens and hedges as key habitats for protecting wildlife and Cllr.Elengorn in his, often humorous, presentation said that they were looking at ways to entice more local people to make their garden spaces more wildlife friendly.
Sandra Laville, Environmental Correspondent for The Guardian, was one of the judges for the Photo Competition and a speaker. She summarised the global issues and also highlighted the difference one individual can make by giving the example of the Swedish teenager who started the school walkout movement to lobby her government to do more to tackle climate change.
If we are asking individuals to stand up and be counted then we need to also ensure that they are heard and supported. If Sir David can write a handwritten letter back to me when I was concerned with environmental impacts on the River Crane then I wonder why it takes weeks, if at all, to get a reply from some council departments let alone any positive action?
4th May 2019
Monty Don gives the following advice in his chapter on Wildlife Gardening from Down to Earth (published by DK)
“The best thing you can do to encourage wildlife into your garden is to stop gardening. Let the lawn become a tussocky meadow and the borders strangle with weeds. Let brambles romp and nettles flourish. Hedges should go uncut and should fight it out with elder, self-sown ash and birch.”
The Dunnock in the Daisies above seems to agree but it is not for everyone and a wild patch and some water is a good compromise in private gardens. Gaps in fences for nature highways are a real bonus. Hopefully, in areas where there are established habitats with recordings of red listed species we can rely on private owners and/or the authorities to be mindful of their responsibilities to safeguard our precious remaining wild spaces for the benefit of all. How can you own a tree that has been growing for sometimes hundreds of years or the transient species that visit for food, rest and breeding?
The Robin is usually the first bird to sing in the dawn chorus and can be tricked into an even earlier song when artificial light fools him as some of us have seen with lamp posts being serenaded in the early hours. Check out the RSPB website to hear their new record of the Dawn Chorus if you cannot get to a real one.
Hedgehog Awareness week: 5th to 11th May Hedgehog Street website has a lot of information on how to help our prickly friends and answers all those questions too.
Enjoy the outdoors at May Fairs and Local Events and maybe we will see you there or along the River Crane Sanctuary walk. Bring your camera and share your photos of nature on our site. Take a look at recent postings on the Flickr albums. David took a wonderful Kingfisher
27th April 2019 O Dandelion (Anon.)
"O dandelion, yellow as gold, what do you do all day?"
"I just wait here in the tall green grass till the children come to play."
"O dandelion, yelllow as gold, what do you do all night?"
"I wait and wait till the cool dews fall and my hair grows long and white."
"And what do you do when your hair turns white and the children come to play?
"They take me up in their dimpled hands and blow my hair away."
Two different Oaks in Leaf and The Kiss - our resident Romeo and Juliet Collared Doves
The Oaks have leaves before the Ash so if English Folklore is correct then this Summer will be Dry! Climate change and water poverty is in the news but only when it affects us personally does it seem to hit home. What will we do to minimise water usage today?
Bee Swarm on Good Friday afternoon White Butterfly on Bluebell
We re-read Diet for a Small Planet recently (Frances Moore Lappe c.1971 ) and if you have been inspired or need more inspiration to change your diet to help tackle climate change, world inequality or just want to enjoy fabulous, healthy food with easy to follow tips on how to make personal changes; then this book is still relevant and historically interesting.
20th April 2019
Easter Sunday tomorrow and a good time for a wildlife walk/Easter Egg hunt along the Beautiful River Crane as amazing wildlife are emerging in the warmer weather. We have seen our first Bat, Egyptian Geese Chicks, Comma and Peacock Butterflies and buds galore!
This Bumble Bee on the Berberis was one of a multitude of pollinators seen last week.
We have an expert from British Native Wildflowers called Scott who is identifying our photos on Flickr so if you want to know what the name is of some of the flowers/plants you spot then take a look on our website. One of the ‘White Bells’ we photographed was named as Three-Cornered Garlic and it has the familiar smell too. If you are of the Krishnamurti or Shakespeare school of thought you may not care what something beautiful you see is labelled but it does help if you want to share information.
Comma Butterly and Three of Eight Egyptian chicks.
A supporter contacted us to report a load of rubbish dumped by Mill Road entrance to the River Corridor and litter is a huge problem for wildlife, as well as being an eyesore, so please consider picking up and removing anything plastic or hazardous you see on your walk and disposing of it responsibly.
You can report fly tipping on the Council website or contact the Parks Department on the number given on the notice boards along the route.
12th April 2019
In the Pink in Kneller Gardens
Thank goodness for all those who campaigned to save Kneller Gardens from development many years ago and kept it as a much-loved open space for us to enjoy now. As we get more and more pressure to build on every available piece of land in our congested towns, we seek a balance for the good of all and an understanding of why some areas need to be safe guarded for the benefit and preservation of our threatened flora and fauna.
FORCE continues this important work today and offers many opportunities to learn about the River Crane Environment so do support them by enrolling on one of their walks, helping with conservation work and becoming a member. Links are on our website’s ecology page and also take a look at S.W.L.E.N South West London Environmental Network which has helped us so many times and has a wealth of information about nature in our Borough and what is happening to make improvements. Connect with our informal group if you live nearby or walk The Sanctuary route from Kneller Gardens to the Shot Tower and want to share local information and photos about this loved area with other enthusiasts and meet-up sometimes.
More awareness raising is still needed in the wider population to gain an appreciation of impacts from human interventions on our precious habitats. Light, bonfires, pets, pesticides and noise can be a nuisance to human neighbours who have a voice to object but they can be disastrous to wildlife struggling with finding areas to nest, feed and roam in diminishing wild spaces. The Council has stated that it is committed to protecting local wildlife: “The Council has a statutory duty to protect and preserve all wildlife and local environmental habitats for the future.” They state that “local private owners will be encouraged to manage their green spaces well.” Actions speak louder than words and to date, Cllr. Saunders, Green Party, is the only Councillor to reply to our e mail concerning the bright lights flooding onto the MOL Hedgerow behind Churchview Garages and nothing has been done except neighbours buying blackout blinds!
6th April 2019
Kingfisher in the sunlight enjoying a rest after fishing
It was wonderful to see a Kingfisher again on the River Crane after the latest pollution incident in March by Heathrow which had Thames Water pumping the River from Campbell Close. We share it here to entice readers to take a walk along the bank soon. Stop by the Robin Bench and he may still be fishing near there. If you cannot get out, we have put some more photos on our Flickr album for all to enjoy. We have been busy making some bug hotels and wildlife friendly areas in the garden and the rewards are worth all the effort. Visiting Bumble and Honey Bees galore and so many more butterflies, hoverflies along with the birds which brighten up a dark day. Leaving some untidy areas, weeds and long grass for wildlife lessens the jobs to be done and if you only have time for one thing then consider putting out some water which will be even more welcome as the weather warms up. Grow Wild at Kew have produced this great video showing the benefits of weeds: Grow Wild Weed Video
Bumble bee on Mahonia and Pond Marigold opens up.
30th March 2019 Mothering Sunday tomorrow!
Peacock butterfly seen last sunday by Mill Road Weir
What is the definition of mothering now?
The Cambridge English Dictionary states that it is: “The process of caring for children as their mother or caring for people in the way that a mother does.”
So much has changed with parenting, relationships, childcare and eldercare over the years but the word ‘mothering’ is still potent as it can evoke memories of good or bad experiences in our early years and later years with those who were there to care for us or those who we were caring for.
In nature there are examples of ‘mothering’ which show males as the main caretaker or even ‘giving birth’ to off-spring. e.g. Sea-Horse. The male Emperor Penguin guards his fragile egg between his feet to keep it warm in a community of other males until the females, hopefully, come back having fed to produce enough food for the young when they hatch. Some wildlife mate for life and some just mate and go!
We caught the above photo, on the left, of a Chiff-Chaff near Mill Road Weir after hearing the call it is named after. The RSPB highlighted recently, in one of their newsletters, the difference between songbirds and those that have a ‘call’ programmed from birth. The Thrushes, Warblers and Finches are in the group called song birds and they actually practice and perfect their songs over their life span. Goldfinches and Starlings also like to join together in a choir to sing which many humans find so rewarding too. We are all part of nature and we are not so different from each other or our wildlife companions.
A very happy mothering Sunday to all who are sharing kindness with others and acting considerately towards their neighbours and neighbourhoods.
Some behaviours are worth perfecting and keeping whether we were born with them,
value them or were lucky enough to have had good ‘mothering’
28th March 2019
This is a poem received from Geoff Francis who supports our campaign and has been an environmental campaigner for many years. Thanks to Geoff and look at his website to see his artwork, music and areas of interest. He has worked and is working with some well know activists such as Linda McCartney, Carla Lane and Captain Sensible! Geoff now does work on animal and environmental campaigns on his own or with national groups/campaigns and we met him on the Chris Packham's Wildlife Walk in London. Website: artistgeofffrancis.com
23rd March 2019
A wise old owl sat in an oak, The more he heard the less he spoke;
The less he spoke the more he heard. Why aren’t we all like that wise old bird?
Clematis beauty and vanilla scent Spring has Sprung and offers us a chance to be still and quiet along the river walk amidst all the chatter and world unrest. Birds are busy gathering nesting materials and The Meadway Orchard is looking wonderful and had a recent generous donation of a pear tree from a local neighbour.
Green Gym meets at the Kneller Gardens Café every Wednesday at 11.15 am and everyone is welcome to join the group for some outdoor conservation activities.
All our wildflower seeds from Kew have been shared out to the gardens along the route and we look forward to seeing them blooming and attracting many pollinators.
16th March 2019
We are happy to announce our very own ‘Song Bird’ Patron.
Yvonne Minton CBE Hon. RAM Opera Singer
I was born in Sydney, Australia and grew up with the bird sounds of some very exotic, loud and colourful birds including the iconic Kookaburra. He begins with a chuckle which in turn crescendos into a loud laugh at the start and end of each day. I remember my initiation to bird sounds in the UK was the Dawn Chorus and being amazed that so many small birds could produce such a volume of sound.
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to sing in many wonderful Opera Houses the world over and still consider that Covent Garden was my Home House and am very proud to have been a member of that company.
These days my interests are Yoga and feeding the wild birds in my back garden.
“The River Crane Corridor is so important ecologically and needs to be treasured, shared and enjoyed by inhabitants and wildlife alike. For that reason, I am pleased to be a Patron as I know that Sammi and Iain have treasured this place for many years and attest to their honesty and passion for all Life.” Yvonne
Check out our Flickr album via our website for more birdsong including the Owl we keep hearing but not seeing and book the FORCE Dawn Chorus Event to learn some bird calls first hand from Keith Martin.
9th March 2019
“The Black and yellow bumble first on wing
To buzz among the sallow’s early flowers
Hiding its nest in holes from fickle Spring
Who stints his rambles with her frequent showers”
The poems of John Clare encapsulate the wonder of nature and without any training he wrote about 147 species of British wild birds as well as other wildlife with accurate observations.
“Bum-barrels twit on bush and tree
Scarse bigger than a bumble bee
And in a white thorn’s leafy-rest
It builds its curious pudding-nest
Wi hole beside as if a mouse
Had built the little barrel house”
Long tail tit on Churchview Hedgerow
Chris Packham highlights the netting of hedgerows as unacceptable and which was done in preparation for a UK Planning Application to stop birds nesting. We have endeavoured to alert our Council to the recent Bright Lighting of the Hedgerow behind Churchview Garages which we would like investigated before another application is made for building in an established dark space. Endangered species are still being recorded despite the ‘mistake’ on the same hedgerow by the same developers where thriving greenery was hacked away and has still not recovered as regular ‘maintenance’ is carried out. The area looks awful now but that is not how it looked before and why reward destruction of habitat under the guise of management to gain a build in an already over-developed area? Improve the habitat for wildlife instead.
Unfortunately, the baffling Appeal Officer’s report on biodiversity and highway safety here (which has been challenged) may have encouraged another attempt to build which we will fight robustly all the way to the courts, if necessary, and hope readers will support us. Check out Wild Justice at http://wildjustice.org.uk a new initiative by environmentalists to support legal actions and which states: “We have little confidence that statutory bodies are fulfilling their functions . I am sorry to say that that has been our experience of this area and adjacent MOL for some decades.
This light also shines into neighbouring bedrooms and illuminates areas not used or in need of security. A variety of birds roost, nest and feed on this hedgerow and the garage roof - lichen and moss and water in the gutters. The song thrush below is Red Listed . Stag beetles reported here are endangered as are the Bats which use the trees/hedges to navigate towards the river corridor and the dark space to feed
2nd March 2019
Crocus growing wild by Mill Bridge on The River Crane and Plum blossom in the gardens. The Bluebells and primroses are here too and birdsong everywhere is joyous even if our little sparrow looks grumpy the mass chattering from the hedgerows makes you smile. More photos are on our Flickr album and do add your own sightings to the group.
We have seen our first butterflies and bumblebees and encourage the planting of nectar rich flowers to help our wildlife thrive. Hedgehogs are on the move too with this warm weather fooling us all into thinking it is summer and although we love the sunshine, we are aware of the impact of climate change on our environment.
Seems that everyone is listening with consultations galore but are they hearing?
23rd February 2019
“I say we’re all heroes if we do our little bit” The poem, Heroes, by Benjamin Zephaniah ends with the above line and gives insights into what heroism can mean in our own lives today.
Our group is based on this premiss that a little action to improve our environment for all is worth doing. Picking up that piece of litter on our walks; planting one plant for our pollinators; turning off a bright light that shines into a dark space and thereby helping bats and insects to thrive; respecting wild spaces.
It all adds up and contributes to the amazing work of FORCE, The Conservation Volunteers, Green Gym and SWLEN locally. Become a member too as they need our vote to fight the big fights.
The astounding beauty of nature along this stretch of the River Crane corridor never ceases to amaze us and our photographs are a pale record of the real thing. Take a walk and stop and stare. Beauty is more than what can be seen with our eyes and within that ugly and so-called unkempt, ancient hedgerow is a habitat that houses and feeds a myriad of creatures; all beautiful in their own right. What is just as important is the part they play in our own survival. Thank goodness the young are leading the way with their passion for all life and truth: Enough is Enough and economic growth at any expense is false economy. We agree with them - There is no Planet B.
“Sum heroes shine a light upon a place where darkness fell. Yu could be a hero soon, yes, yu can never tell”
16th February 2019
Are you looking forward to the wildflower meadows blooming again along the River Crane Sanctuary by Hospital Bridge Road and the A316? They are not only beautiful but essential for the survival of our dwindling insects: Butterflies, Beetles, Bees are all threatened by our actions on habitats.
We met Nina of Grow Wild in Kew Gardens and were given some seeds to share so do ask us for a packet and sow away!
14th February 2019 - Happy Valentine's Day to All Life!
Thanks to Hannah and Nina at Grow Wild in Kew Gardens for giving us some wonderful packets of Wildflower Seeds to share with the community. We love the Grow Wild video on You Tube by Hannah showing how to make a Heart Shaped flower bed for the seeds.
9th February 2019
The magnificent Orchid Festival at Kew Gardens last year will be hard to beat but we are going again with friends and supporters to gain inspiration and conservation tips from the “Grow Wild Team” We made a video with our photos and posted it on our ‘you tube’ channel if you want to feast your eyes with more Orchid beauty. Search You Tube River Crane Sanctuary Orchids. Please share with those who cannot get out and about for any reason. Enjoy!
We have seen flowers and buds out already in the Sanctuary which are needed by pollinators still foraging and by planting even one nectar rich plant each we will help nature flourish. Winterwatch this week highlighted the need for everyone to do what they can in their own patch to help wildlife and there is so much we can do with little changes which can have a big impact. Be aware of what is happening near us that impinges on nature and any actions we can take to help improve habitat: Minimise Waste, Light, Noise, Smoke and Chemical Pollutants.
Scrutinise Planning Applications for environmental impacts. Voice your Views.
Planting hedgerows is laudable as long as we value and safeguard established and thriving habitats which house endangered species such as Song Thrushes. Chris Packham commentating on the negative effects of overgrazing and footfall in the New Forest emphasized the importance of ancient trees and habitats which are as valuable if not more valuable than historic houses. They cannot be re-built or renovated but then again, they cannot generate income as a future wedding venue or café. Grazing mammals can have two feet.
We do not have to be experts to make a difference. We have to care enough to want to make a difference.
2nd February 2019
We joined Chloe/Pablo at the Green Gym in The Meadway, Orchard for ‘Wassailing’ and it was very enjoyable and we hope it will become a regular event to ‘wake up’ the apple trees and encourage them to produce a good harvest by singing, banging drums and large sticks and putting some offerings around the trunks. We were treated to lovely food and drink which was non-alcoholic although the tradition is for sharing a celebration cup of cider! The Conservation Volunteers run many activities which can get us fit outdoors whilst improving the environment for all to enjoy. Why not spare an hour or two on Wednesday mornings at the Orchard and nearby with Green Gym and make some new friends? Just wander down and say hello? Tel:07717494476 for TCV/GreenGym.
Goldfinches visit for a drink. Please remove the thick ice on bird baths for our feathered friends.
25th January 2019
Sunset in the Sanctuary as the weather gets colder
The RSPB have a ‘which Bird are you’ short game which is fun to do and we came out as Blackbirds which happen to be our favourite garden bird although we do love Mountains and we are not Carnivores which seems to be a description for this choice!
What are You? Visit the RSPB website to find out - the link is on our Ecology page.
We choose a bird to remember loved ones who have died and it is so comforting to see a Cheery Robin in the garden which reminds me of my dad or a Long Tail Tit which does not stay still for long and which brings fond memories and a smile as we remember Iain’s mum in her VW camper flitting around Dartmoor and Cornish beaches. See if you notice how birds seem to have characteristics that are similar to family and friends or even celebrities whilst you take an hour to record your garden birds for the RSPB watch. The hour will fly.
Victor Grumpy Greenfinch - I don't believe it!
Jay - Who are you Handsome Boy?
19th January 2019
Snowdrops arrive as the weather gets colder and a prospect of real snow here
Nature offers something to cheer us all even in the rain and dark days and here are some of our recent favourite photos and a video of birdsong which we trust will bring a smile and optimism to readers. If you are getting ready for the Big Garden Birdwatch consider putting out a water dish and it may even bring in some beautiful and rare birds such as the Song Thrush below. The River Sanctuary Walk is full of delights for all the senses: hear the sounds of rain on the river and the water gently lapping; touch the bark of ancient trees; feel the soft earth beneath our feet on the wilder paths; smell the scents of leaves and plants. Sight is not the only sense! Take some time to be still and breathe in the wonders of wild places.
Go to Page 37 of our photos/videos if you want to hear birdsong recently uploaded: Songthrush, Robins, Blackbirds, Goldfinches and more!
12th January 2019
Take part in the RSPB bird watch on-line or send for their excellent pack to help record what is visiting our gardens or visit one of our local public gardens like Kneller or York House. The RSPB site has information on identifying birds and even if you cannot name all you see it will be an opportunity to learn something new and a good way to introduce young ones to nature. Photo one is a Black-Cap but confusingly the female has a brown cap! Next is a Coal Tit which is hard to spot as so quick and similar to a Great Tit only smaller and with the white nape.
You may see Redwing which are migrating here now and can be distinguished by the eye stripe from the Song Thrush (smaller and brown speckled chest) and Mistle Thrush (larger than the song thrush and greyish breast). We were given a good tip for not confusing the Moor Hens with the similar Black and White Coots by saying More Colour, red beak, equals Moor Hen. We love birds but we are not experts and get it wrong sometimes so always contact the RSPB or other local bird groups if you want to be sure of correct identifications but we believe it is better to take part and enjoy ourselves and we hope you will join us and post your photos on the River Crane Sanctuary Group for all to appreciate the beauty of nature locally. We spotted the Kingfisher by Meadway Bridge, Goldfinches by Mill Road Bridge and house sparrows bathing in the River Crane and feeding in the hedgerow last Sunday. All photos are on our Flickr album and Links on our Site.
5th January 2019
“What are Heavy? Sea-Sand and Sorrow: What are brief? To-day and To-morrow:
What are Frail? Spring Blossoms and Youth: What are Deep? The Ocean and Truth.”
Christina Rossetti’s poem is simple and yet invokes feelings which may produce insights into what is emerging in our lives now. The heaviness of battling against continuous attacks in areas of all life today. The seemingly fleeting nature of time in an increasing frantic world. The fragility of the environment after years of abuse and then we come to the concept of what is True. Do we have the ability anymore to tell the Truth no matter what the consequences may be for us? We may be forgiven for our confusion at times to know what is true when we view the outrageous decisions made by those who we trusted. How can Heathrow be expanded with all we know now about the environmental impacts and even if that is of no concern to many then look at the potential for personal loss of life and property in such a built-up area after the horrendous example of Lockerbie in a less dense conurbation? We can understand campaigners losing heart when they are fighting local issues to save green spaces, homelessness and hunger and we get a governmental decision of such magnitude to further exhaust our councils’ limited resources in a legal fight. Forgive me if I ‘Drone’ on.
29th December 2018
The New Year approaches and some of us are making resolutions with good intentions but maybe not enough willpower? The Winter Solstice produced clear skies and amazing moons and ancient folklore held these times of the year as very important in gaining insights and initiating changes if we are open and aware enough to let the new in and the stagnant out.
We wish all those fighting for justice the strength and fortitude to persevere against the odds to find resolutions for the benefit of all.
Happy, Peaceful New Year.
Love is in the Air with our visiting Robins and even the Love in a Mist is flowering in December - All You Need is LOVE!
25th December 2018
Peace Peace Peace
21st December 2018 - Winter Solstice Moon
16th December 2018
Flowers still blooming in December and we have seen some strange weather events around the world which have consequences for all life on our little Blue Planet. In the 80’s we watched a wonderful TV series called Fragile Earth which we thought would galvanise those in power to take note of how much damage was being caused to the Natural World in the pursuit of ‘progress’. Since then more and more beautiful programmes have been made and watched but what we need still is more action by all of us and less passive enjoyment of films
We have received some amazing photos on our group sharing site from David Chare (thank you!) who we met walking along the River Crane Sanctuary route. Take a look at his Red Kite and Kestrel and see if you can spot them on your walk. We may not be as good a photographer as David but all photos are welcome and are a record of this space which help to safeguard it so please submit your photos to us and/or sightings to SWLEN via links on our website. FORCE, TCV and Green Gym all offer volunteer opportunities to help if you can along this River Corridor or perhaps you can join in the RSPB Garden Bird watch coming soon. Every little action has a benefit no matter how small and it make us feel good too!
8th December 2018
Whether you love Trees, Birds, Rivers or just a walk you will find it all waiting for you along the River Crane Corridor. The people you meet along the route are friendly too. There are many photographers about and all share sightings and information and are willing to show you their finds so smile and have a chat or find a spot for quiet reflection. There is something for everyone to connect with Nature and we need that connection to raise awareness and save our local environment from destruction.
An early Christmas cracker joke to pass on or perhaps not! Q. Why did the Mushroom go to the party? A. Because he was a Fun Guy. The silver ‘Elves’ Umbrellas’ below and happy Robin greeted us as we walked towards The Shot Tower. Always something new to see or an old favourite to see again.
1st December 2018
The full November moon is also known as the ‘Beaver’ moon as it appears at a time when these industrious creatures are building their lodges for the winter.
"The Moon was a Ghostly Galleon tossed upon cloudy Seas"
By coincidence, our neighbour’s daughter called us recently to see a hedgehog as she was concerned about its welfare. We have been lucky enough to have hedgehogs in our connecting gardens for many years and they often make a comfortable and safe hibernation home too. Here are a few bits of information we have picked up about these little visitors which help to reduce their diminishing populations (30 million recorded in 1950’s and less than a million today) and to answer some usual questions but do check out hedgehogstreet.org for expert advice as we are not experts!
One of the best things we can do to help is to keep ‘Highways’ open for hedgehogs to roam to find food and mates. A small hole in or under a fence/wall of 13cm by 13cm is enough to create a passage for their needs and this is too small for other pets to escape our gardens. Better still plant a hedge which they love best of all and provides food and dense/safe shelter. Leave some leaves and an untidy corner for them to forage and harvest bedding material. Apparently, they like Lime, Oak, Beech and Hornbeam leaves!
If you want to offer supplementary food when it gets colder and before they hibernate then a shallow dish of water is welcomed and cat biscuits or chicken/meat in jelly type cat/dog food at sunset is recommended although a natural diet is always best. Nb. No Bread or Milk – lactose intolerant. Cats will usually leave a hedgehog alone after investigating but dogs can attack and kill hoglets or sick hedgehogs. Adult hedgehogs can defend themselves and dogs can also be injured so take care when letting pets out last thing at night if you have a nocturnal visitor.
Photos: 1. Hedgehog hiding place 2. Song thrush in the Hedgerow
24th November 2018
Male and Female Mandarin Ducks seem to have found their spot on our beautiful River Crane Walk and the light was amazing on the water last Sunday which we share with you in the photos below but it is even better experienced if you take a stroll and see nature with your own eyes and hear with your own ears. More photos and videos are on our website for times when you cannot get out and do post your own favourites of this Sanctuary walk on our album set up for lovers of the River Crane to share what they like best or capture on record to show we value this natural environment free from buildings as a space for our wildlife.
Visit our Music page to hear Wonderful World with amazing photos of nature and other music on our playlist that you may enjoy!
16th November 2018
Wild Poppies for Remembrance and Gratitude
Learning from the past and passing on knowledge to future generations is valuable and essential to help us all to not make the same mistakes again. It is not always easy to stand up and be counted especially in contentious issues as we have seen with the Iceland advert!
David Lindo’s talk at the Recorder’s Event in the Natural History Museum was highlighting the need to get more young people interested in the nature around them even in built up environments and how his work in schools/colleges in inner London was seen to get disinterested and disengaged ‘problem’ students actually participating and enjoying discovering wildlife where they lived. As our wildlife and wild places are disappearing at an alarming rate it is essential that we do all we can to protect any areas of which we have awareness near us. Unfortunately, it seems more education of people who make the big decisions which affect our landscape and living conditions is still needed.
Countryfile’s piece on John Clare, the People’s Poet, was sad as it showed a lover of nature stopped from walking his beloved fields due to the Enclosure Act. He ended up in a ‘mad house’ and wrote back to a poetry lover who asked why he did not write poems anymore: “I have nothing left to communicate”
What a shame that such a talent was not nurtured and helped when he produced so much beauty for us all to enjoy in his poetry and all he needed was a field to walk in and some sustenance. How many other young John Clares are out there now which the inspirational joys of nature would help release their own talent?
“For Nature is love, and finds haunts for true love,
Where nothing can hear or intrude;
It hides from the eagle and joins with the dove,
In beautiful green solitude. “
Still Sitting on the Fence? Female Blackbird Red Admiral in November sunshine
10th November 2018
There is plentiful wild food still in this changeable weather and our little squirrel actually has a nut and not a piece of bread! We spied a Speckled Wood butterfly in the brambles by the River Crane and saw a bat in the dark sky. Although foraging is becoming more popular the advice is to leave the wild food for the wildlife in our parks and woods especially where there is a lot of footfall and everyone taking just ‘one’ adds up to what can be a considerable amount which diminishes essential natural food sources for wildlife.
Our Parks department have a Public Notice along the River Crane by Mereway Bridge which highlights the problems with feeding Bread and Pasta to birds which can make them ill. The food debris also encourages vermin and can make pets ill too. They suggest small amounts of grain or birdseed if you want to feed the wild birds (as children do love this activity) but also make sure your dog is on a lead around the river as the nesting birds get distressed and may abandon their nests. GOOD ADVICE but who is listening?
3rd November 2018
Diwali and Fireworks are all happening now as the sky grows darker and we want to celebrate and lift our spirits with some light and cheer. Noise and activity are not appreciated by all and especially wildlife but if we are sensitive and caring we can all have some fun and still take notice of nature around us. The news is highlighting the astounding rate of decline of nature especially in the countryside so a little awareness of our actions will go a long way to protecting our urban wildllife.
Blue Tit Bathers and Natural Light in a Dark Sky - Heart October Moon
We have recorded Song thrush, Black Cap and Nuthatch this week but not caught on camera yet. However, we can still register our sightings without a photo and this helps with conservation measures. There is still time to buy tickets to the first Recorders’ event next weekend and learn more about this useful and interesting activity which children love to do with us and teaches them valuable skills. Google: London Recorders' Day.
26th October 2018
As the weather gets colder we can help our wildlife by keeping water sources available and supplementing with appropriate feed when necessary. Apple day was held last weekend and the Meadway Orchard had a Blue Jay on the hunt but no apples for him yet. Plenty of spiders around with their beautiful webs and all sorts needed in the food chain so please do no harm even if they are not your favourite!
Interesting fact: Spiders are Arachnids which have eight legs whilst Insects have six legs.
Wonderful to see so many people out enjoying the Sanctuary walk during the past sunny October days and good access for wheelchairs/scooters as well as tracks for exploring and seeking out fungi and other hidden treasures. Please add nature photos of what catches your interest on our website link home page and “tread lightly”.
Friendly Robin through the window Wild berries by the River Crane
Incy Wincy Spider Blue Jay in Meadway Orchard
19th October 2018
The first ever “London Recorder’s Day” will be held at the Natural History Museum in November and it will be a good way to meet up with others and learn about how valuable reporting of wildlife in our locality can be for the protection of habitats. “Think Global/Act Local! The Urban Birdwatcher, David Lindo, will give the keynote speech and there will be other activities and information for the amateur to professional nature lover! See you there! https://www.field-studies-council.org/media/4986087/london-recorders-day-2018-event-info.pdf
Here is a photo of our latest recording of yet another Red Listed species (seen on Saturday 13October)
in the Churchview Garages site and caught posing on a neighbouring fence: Grey Wagtail.
We may not be able to save this site as it has no protection status but shining a light raises awareness and increases moves to put measures in place for future sites and we have passionate local Environmental Groups, Councillors and Ecology officers in our borough who really care about the environment.
Feedback from one of our members mirrored our own gratitude for what we call “The River Crane Sanctuary Walk” (from Kneller Gardens to The Shot Tower) which has been so valuable for our physical and mental health over the years. ‘M’ related how desperate she felt at times with a child who had mental health issues and the respite obtained from walking, running and playing along this route near her home which was life- saving and enhancing for the whole family and free to use anytime. Space to be quiet or noisy.
We have been informed that Kew Gardens - Grow Wild project have put us on their Map as they liked our site and wildflower photos! Thank you, Kew. We asked them to include FORCE, TCV and Green gym too. https://www.growwilduk.com/community-projects/river-crane-sanctuary
All our photos are taken along this route from gardens, river corridor, wildflower meadows/parkland
Lucky Rose - Beautiful even in the rain River Crane on Hot October day by Mill Road
14th October 2018
Grey Wagtail appeared on the MOL hedgerow and then onto our back fences adjacent to the proposed build site! Another Red Listed Species and maybe they are trying to appeal to the Appeal Officer to stop any new builds in Churchview Garages and Campbell Close MOL sites!
Space for humans is necessary but let's value established sites for our endangered wildlife too.
13th October 2018
Wonderful to see song thrush and redwing, both on the RED LIST for endangered species, still here on the MOL Hedgerow behind Churchview Garages and we await the Appeal Officer’s report on the refused planning application on this site adjacent to the River Crane Corridor.
Let’s hope that this habitat is not compromised by yet another new build and an attitude that nature is resilient and will go elsewhere. We are running out of ‘elsewhere’ and especially Dark Spaces which are essential for our dwindling bat population.
Keystone species are defined as those that have a disproportionately large effect on their environment and their presence or absence can be critical for maintaining habitats needed for other species to thrive in harmony with each other.
Ray Mear’s programme highlighted the Beaver and how its re-introduction in Somerset has helped with reducing flooding amongst other benefits. Andrew Marr’s TV Series on the impact of “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea” offered an accessible and informative overview of the many environmental issues highlighted by so many passionate campaigners over the past decades. Rachel Carson’s controversial book, Silent Spring, which warned of the dangers of DDT is featured as is Lovelock’s Gaia concept about the interconnectedness of everything on this Blue Planet.
Crocus Beauty and Pollen for our Bees
It is enthralling to watch all these amazing people, places and images but even better to act ourselves. What will you do today for nature where you live? Check out our website ecology page now for links and ideas from RSPB, Butterfly Conservation, BATS ORG., SWLEN, FORCE, TCV, GREEN GYM and more
6th October 2018
A poor life this is if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare
Observation is critical not only for our pleasure but also for safeguarding our precious environment for future generations to enjoy. The wildflower meadows along the River Crane corridor are a joy to behold and a sanctuary for wildlife and by walking these paths we keep awareness of their value as open space rather than another building plot opportunity. Photographs and Videos are wonderful but you cannot beat the real thing and children need to touch, feel and smell nature; not just view it on a screen.
The RSPB ‘Homes for Wildlife project’ is giving lots of useful information on what to plant in the garden or balcony/pot for birds as the weather turns colder. Berries of all kinds and apples seem to be the mainstay especially for the redwing and fieldfares arriving for winter. (Links are on our ecology page and more photos of last year’s visitors like the redwing below are on the Flickr album so take a look soon and then get out and see them in the Wild!)
29th September 2018 - Our piece in the Twickenham Tribune
The Walk for Wildlife was attended by over 10.000 people according to The Police crowd control estimate and it was a friendly, peaceful and passionate group of all ages and even the rain did not dampen our spirits. We met Julie a primary school teacher who set up 'Polli Promise' which her class and won a national award and Google to see more if you want to join in this amazing project to help our pollinators. Imperial College lead the OPAL (Open Air Laboratories) Explore Nature and there is a lot of good information on this site for nature lovers. We walked with two young men from Secret World Org. which is concerned with Wildlife rescue and rehabilitation in Somerset and their website is also well worth a visit. There were local residents on the train dressed in various bee and wildlife character outfits and the Walk ended at Richmond Terrace where young people handed in the Wildlife Manifesto for change to Downing Street.
24th September 2018
Brilliant turnout for the Wildlife Walk despite the beautiful rain pouring its blessings onto us all! Estimated 10,000 crowd and all peaceful and friendly with all ages present. Biggles the Bat was a hit with the children and Billy Bragg and Chris Packham were inspirational. Singing in the rain to Joni Mitchell's Big Yellow Taxi which is still relevant today as we concrete over our spaces and lose more trees and habitat. On the positive side, the young were there with awareness and poems to show they cared and that is hopeful for our planet.
As Mahatma Gandhi said: " The World holds enough for everyones' need but not enough for anyone's greed"
21st September 2018
Please consider coming up to Hyde Park to join Chris Packham's Wildlife Walk to raise awareness of our diminishing wildlife and habitats on Saturday 22,d September. There will be many organisations there including the RSPB, Woodland Trust, Greenpeace, Bat Conservation, Trees for cities and more. It is a chance to gather with other nature lovers who care and to keep up optimism in the face of depressing news of what is happening in our world. We hope to see you at Hyde Park by the Swim Serpentine at 10 am - 12 for infotainment: Walk begins 1 pm and finishes at 2 pm.
15th September 2018
8th September 2018
1st September 2018
25th August 2018
18th August 2018
One week left to register an objection/representation to the Appeal against the refused building application at Churchview Garages Site TW2. Links are on our home page to see the original application and the appeal data. To make a comment you click on the Appeal Site Link and then on the 'Make a Representation' heading.
11th August 2018
Photo of mess After the 20 November 2017 clearing 'mistake' by developers and then a view of the height and density of the hedgerow here before destruction. It formed a continuous line from the hedgerow behind the garages for over twenty years and had songthrush, blackbird, redwing and over fifty species recorded here along with young feeding.
Red Admiral on Fruiting Ivy before spraying and removal 20/11/17. Photos on our Flickr album show bees/birds and other wildlife all feeding here and on the back green netting wild bramble berries also all destroyed now.
4th August 2018
Consider putting out water regularly for our thirsty wildlfe friends and you will be rewarded with some thankful visitors. Hedgehogs, Frogs and Beetles are all seeking out water sources in this heatwave although they are harder to catch on camera that our birds,bees and butterflies.
28th July 2018
21st July 2018
Even a short walk along the river corridor reveals the abundance of flora and fauna available right on our urban doorstep. When habitats are threatened in so many places it was heartening to see a large group of happy,young people out with their parents or supervising adults enjoying a nature quiz of some sort in this amazing green space last sunday.
Chris Packham is championing a 'BioBlitz' initiative which highlights the importance of engaging the young if we are to safeguard our precious remaining wildlife and having fun while we learn is a good way to go!
Seen on our walk: 1. Yellow Water Lily 2. Bee on wild flower 3.Female Mandarin ducks
14th July 2018
The Wildflower Meadows by Hospital Bridge Road and the A316 are buzzing with wildlife and a perfect spot to take part in the FIT count: Flower-Insect Timed Count. This data collection will contribute towards helping our pollinators keep pollinating! There are fourteen target flowers and a great video on You Tube from The PoMS team to identify them so look and take part if you can spare ten minutes on your walk or in your own garden. Visit the UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme (PoMS) website for more information and to take part.
Photo: 1.Three bees on three purple wildflowers - Knapweed 2. Damselfly 3. Wildflower Meadow 4. Heron taking the cool route
7th July 2018
30th June 2018
23rd June 2018
Who lives in a place like this?
Take a look at the photos below and in our album and be aware of the damage that strimmers, mowers and spraying can do to our wildlife as we beautify our gardens. There is so much information around now for organic or natural predator controls to save our plants from destruction and even though the chemical products may be more effective, in some cases, it is worth considering if they are worth the damage they can cause to our garden visitors and ultimately to ourselves in the food chain.
16th June 2018
1. Bluetit fledgling singing for mum 2. Long-tail tit parent and young 3. Magpie youngster has just been fed and now bath time!
9th June 2018
Goldfinches spa day! Song Thrush - Red Listed
Half Moon in a Dark Sky space Bee wildflower feeding - Pollen Sac
2nd June 2018
26th May 2018
The sun is shining and the gardens along the Sanctuary are blooming with an array of colours and chirping birds. Gardens and established wild spaces in urban areas are becoming more and more valuable for our wildlife as many habitats have disappeared in our countryside. Isabella Tree has written a book called Wilding - Return of Nature to a British Farm - which may be of interest to readers or take a look at George Monbiot’s short video on You Tube ‘How the Wolves changed Rivers’. Both give reasons to be hopeful that flora and fauna which have diminished due to bad practices can be revived. However, prevention is better than cure so let's keep our remaining habitats safe for all.
Photos for you on a Royal Wedding Day: Red (Poppy in Meadway Orchard) White (Elderflower) Blue (Ceonothus) and Mandarin Duck dressed to Impress
12 th May 2018
5th May 2018
5th May 2018
Council elections have voted in some Green Party members for the first time and West Ward where our Sanctuary lies is now all Yellow. We did get help from the Blues and Reds along with the Yellows and Greens with our concerns over environmental issues on the river Crane Corridor and we hope that party politics will not interfere with the bigger picture where our natural habitat is concerned. Nature first for the good of all of us!
Pond Marigold thrives in the fresh rain water garden pond.......fresh air....space to breathe and grow...........we thrive when nature thrives.
28th April 2018
Have you come across the concept of Permaculture? This quotation from Bill Mollinson explains to us his idea quite concisely:
21st April 2018
It is a joy to look and listen to the sights and sounds along the Sanctuary walk which we value so much on our doorstep. Every time we go out there is something of interest or sheer beauty and birdsong is a treat everytime. We have heard an owl and woodpecker recently and follow this link to hear the Blackbird singing lead in the Dawn chorus: https://www.flickr.com/photos/18554479@N05/40722559161/in/album-72157680139604143/
What is your favourite tree? Perhaps we do not know the name of the tree but we can still enjoy walking in the woodland and along The River Crane Corridor and listen to the birdsong coming from their branches. Let us acknowledge the relaxing rustle of Windsong through the leaves and the health value of these ancient trees oxygenating the air that we breathe, absorbing pollution and minimising flooding for all our benefit. For Photos and videos of this walk visit page one of our album on flickr.
This stretch of the River has native trees including the Oak which supports more lifeforms than any other native tree. The row of Ash trees by Trafalgar School, the Meadway, and the Alders by the Meadway bridge provide food for caterpillars of several moths along with catkins (an early source of nectar and pollen) for Bees and Seeds for birds/food for butterflies. The wood of the Alder becomes as hard as stone when submerged in water and much of Venice was built on Alder Wood. The green dye of the alder flower was said to colour the clothes of Robin Hood!
If you want to know more then visit the Woodland Trust who are experts and offer free packs for growing trees for Schools/Communities along with information for individuals to plant even a single tree which is available to buy from them with the knowledge that it is sustainably sourced and grown in the UK to minimise the risk of importing and spreading tree pests and diseases.
Weather watchers look out for the first buds from the Ash and Oak trees. Folklore predicts a dry summer if the Oak buds first and a wet one if the Ash wins!
27th March 2018
"A thing of beauty is a joy forever: Its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness; but still will keep a bower quiet for us, and a sleep full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing." c.John Keats from Endymion
Sadly, with the decline in our beautiful butterfly populations we are seeing some species on the literal brink of nothingness although poetically they will not be lost we can perhaps take action now to help conserve them for future generations to have the pleasure they give us today in the wild. Something as simple as planting nectar plants for butterflies such as Buddleia, Lavender, Aubretia or a Thornless Blackberry; all available from a garden centre near you along with the Golden Easter Bunnies and Eggs!
Even common species such as The Gatekeeper have seen populations decline and please visit our site to see more information, links and photos on butterflies and moths.
Download the chart to identify butterflies easily and encourage children to love these beautiful and valuable species.Available from the Butterfly Conservation Org. website
21st March 2018
The Vernal Equinox last week marked the official beginning of Spring just as the snow melted in the Sanctuary. Four seasons in one week and yet we are assured by some that there are no climate change issues that need our immediate attention! Here are some photos to show the beauty of nature along the River Crane Sanctuary route which provides so much enjoyment and peace for us all and which so many think is worth valuing and preserving.
Spring is a good time to create a pond and the RSPB have a video to show how easy it is to do even with just a washing up bowl in a small space. It creates a watering hole and wildlife habitat which is vital for our garden visitors. Take a look on the RSPB website and give it a go.
12th March 2018
Snow, sunshine, rain and wind all in one week. The environment needs us all to do our bit in our gardens and locality to help wildlife and ourselves to breathe fresh air and produce good foods for all life forms.
See our album for Photos of the wildflower meadows from 2011 which were magnificent and a joy to walk by on the River Crane corridor near Hospital Bridge Road A316.
Our council and local environmental groups did this amazing planting and we hope they are there again this year.
SWLEN -South West London Environmental Network - led by Colin Cooper - are crowdfunding for money to help to get gardening projects into our local schools so we hope they reach their targets for this great initiative and do visit their excellent site via The River Crane Sanctuary Ecology page.
We support the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, “Grow Wild project" which is combatting the decline in wildflower meadows in the UK: 97 % lost since the 1930's. Our bees are vegetarian and need the pollen and nectar to thrive and we need them to survive!
Free Seed Kit applications are now available from Grow wild "Transform an urban or unloved space with wildflowers" If you have an area near you which is being littered or looks in need of some beauty then we encourage you to take a look and see if you can do something positive for the community and nature.
22nd Feb 2018
Rain or shine it is always worth a walk along the River Crane to see the changing light in the trees and water and to hear the sounds of nature.
This week we saw a flock of Goldcrests and a flock of Greenfinches. The Blackbird in the rain was still singing and the Mandarin ducks in the sunshine were posing on the bank. The Drake and Female duck are so different in their plummage but both catch the eye.
Even caught a Dunnock pair in the Golden Hazel/Ivy. More photos in the River Crane Sanctuary album. Enjoy!
6th Feb. 2018
Walking along the River Crane from Mill Road to Kneller Gardens last week we watched as the TCV "The Conservation Volunteers" worked in the freezing cold building hedgerows. We owe so much to these nature loving volunteers as they create and maintain habitat for our wonderful fauna and flora along this beautiful river corridor.
The 'wild' hedgerow and open space by Churchview Garages has been an established habitat for over three decades and photos/videos of the variety of birds and other species who visit, roost, nest and forage here can be seen on the River Crane Sanctuary website. The Council investigated the recent extreme 'pruning' of part of the hedge and were assured that it was a 'mistake' by The Developers seeking to build here and we have been told that as it is mainly elder it will recover in time. Let's see.
Monty Don in his Wildlife Gardening advice says: " Let brambles romp and nettles flourish. Hedges should go uncut and should fight it out with elder, self- sown ash and birch."
There is maintenance and there is destruction of habitat and we need to monitor our remaining established wild spaces in our crowded urban environment so that the intention is for optimal wildlife protection and not to put up a building at any cost.
16th Jan 2018
The RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch begins next Saturday 27th January so get ready by preparing some water and food sources in your garden to attract our feathered friends.
Alternatively, find a spot along the River Crane Sanctuary route to sit for a while and record what you see. We have been very lucky to see a Kingfisher by The Meadway Bridge towards Trafalgar School Playing fields and a host of chirpy sparrows on the trees and hedgerows. Photos of recent visitors are the Blackcap and a Majestic looking Seagull. The lovely colours of the river trees are also worth taking some time to stand and stare.
4th Jan 2018
We have received our RSPB pack for the Big Garden Bird Watch and it is excellent. Please join us on the 27 to 29 January 2018 to record our wonderful birdlife along the River Crane Corridor. The blackbird pair have thankfully stayed here after the hedgerow where they roost was cut back severely recently so we hope they will nest again in the Spring. Take a look on the flickr album for more photos of birds seen along the Sanctuary walk from Kneller Gardens to the Shot Tower. We saw a small mumuration of starlings over Trafalgar School Playing field and since 1979 they have declined by 79 per cent and song thrushes by around 70 per cent; Green Finches have decreased by 66 percent in the last ten years. All three species have been sighted and photographed in the hedgerow/area behind Churchview Garages and MOL Field where developers are seeking to build. Support River Crane Sanctuary in opposing any builds here.
Wishing all Nature Lovers a peaceful and inspiring end of 2017 and a new year filled with hope and trust that all will balance and be whole.
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Check out the flickr album on the home page by clicking the big logo as more photos have been included. Fungi and walk to the shot tower with bird song and the wind song in the trees. Wild spaces for all to share and value.
Click here for Wind Song: Wind Song in the Sanctuary
Good News - All three applications are refused. However, we are keeping these references here in case there are new applications or appeals on these three adjacent plots of land on the River Crane Corridor near Trafalgar School, the Meadway, as they are so important to the connectivity and biodiversity of this Gree Space MOL which are all in private ownership at present.
The Churchview planning application Ref:17/2759/FUL has been refused by delegated powers and the Report is on-line now to view.
The Belmont Road MOL new build was refused by our Council and also dismissed at Appeal and these reports are on-line Ref:15/5407/FUL.
The Campbell Close Field MOL has now been refused and the decision is on-line Ref:16/2815/OUT.
New Planning Application now online for your Comments
Please visit the planning portal at Richmond Council and see Ref:17/2759/FUL Three Mews Houses in Churchview Road.
We hope that after looking at all the facts you will support us in objecting to this build which we feel will be to the detriment of the Wildlife and the connectivity of the River Crane corridor. There is an article in the 4th August Twickenham Tribune online newspaper under The River Crane Sanctuary title which outlines our reasons for opposing this build and we will be presenting a fuller report after consultation with neighbours and ecology experts. We hope you will join us for a walk and lunch to debate the whole issue so we can hear all views. Send me your email if you want to be kept in touch or look here for news.
Butterfly Count now!
I have e mailed all supporters with the butterfly count information and trust you will all find fifteen minutes to sit quietly in the Sanctuary to note any species you see and send your report to the Butterly Conservation Organisation. We have put more photos on Page two of the album on this home page and hope you will send us your favourites from walks in the Sanctuary to add to our campaign to keep this area for the wildlife and not new builds.
Still struggling with IT so working on adding music and photos here but need help.......any offers?
Back to Campaign!
Hello and thanks for all the e mails and offers for articles and help for our River Crane Sanctuary. We are back now so more photographs and walks on the way!
Lucky Dozen walkers as the rain held off for us!
We will organise another walk/get together later in the year as this was so enjoyable as was the pub lunch afterwards. Nut roast, veggie tagine to name a few choices high on the list as well as a tipple or two! Apologies for the late notice but we are all busy and this just suited the majority of members who have supported this quest. We hope you visited the Hands Fair on the Green and supported the charities who do such good work locally and FORCE had a stand there too with lots of useful information about their work on the River Crane. See their site for walks open to the public. Song in progress but good start with an impromptu sing song and we may get help from friends in the community choir later. Everyone loved the poem from Ula and Alan working on MOL article ; Philip on Bats, Sara on social media......and more...Watch this space.
Members walk and Lunch on Bank Holiday Monday 29th June 2017 (e.mail if you want to join us)
Looking forward to seeing new faces and not so new faces. Ula has penned a beautiful poem for us and it is on this page and hope you all enjoy reading it and we can recite it on our walk along with a song Iain and I have been rehearsing for the Sanctuary theme. Can you guess which one we have in mind?
All the fun of the Fair and good causes too!
Thanks for all your kind support for this project so far and please keep connected. The stall for Friends of the Earth was not near the Cricketers but we found it and some of us signed up for the 'Tube' to position near our major roads to gather information on pollution for their campaign on Air Quality. We also spread the word about The Sanctuary to people who care enough about taking action in areas they feel passionate about and they seemed to like what we were doing. Would you believe it... the Beer Festival was in progress in the Princes Head on The Green and we lost supporters to a lunch and a pint! Sorry if you did not find us but it was a fabulous day and so many people and stalls and we hope you had a good time and see you at the next event.
Richmond May Fair Saturday 13th May 2017 on Richmond Green.
We will be supporting Friends of the Earth by visiting their stall (somewhere near the Cricketers Pub). Their focus is on Air Quality which we very much support and want to promote in our Sanctuary. See you there!