8th July 2024

Back from a visit to the sea and cliffs.  Lots of cloud, rain, wind and sun!   Climate Change witnessed on one day.   Look out for some photos on the Instagram account and we were so happy to see our birds in the garden had water from the rain and were here to welcome us home.  Whatever the weather it is always worth getting out into Nature to dispell the worries and breathe the life force.  

22nd June 2024

Wow ...we went to the Restore Nature Now march in London today and it was amazing.  check out our instagram for photos and videos .  You Tube has A Restore Nature Now rally live if you want more information on the groups and speakers who were there.  Loved meeting so many really positive people and so many children .  Give us all energy and a will to keep fighting for our precious planet for the good of all who live here.

 

19th June 2024

Summer Solstice tomorrow and get up early to welcome the dawn.  Send out positive waves: Focus our energy on  kindness,courage, balance and peace.  All will be well.

 

1st June 2024

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7et3fx569Go

Watch the video above link promoting the June 22nd Walk for Wildlife event in London and hope you will join us all for a peaceful and productive gathering voicing our love of nature and our wish for all to support it in what ever way they can do so individually or in groups they belong to.

Video link below give details of the March and a Map.

https://www.restorenaturenow.com/the-march

27th April 2024 - Who knows where the time goes?

Please check our Instagram and/or Flickr for up to date photos and news as finding it difficult to load photos here now and also time is precious!

We had Earthday events and news from all the usual suspects and the BBC Radio Time special edition with Chris Packham is worth reading and keeping for the amount of good information it contains for all Naturelovers.

June 22nd 2024 is the nest Wildlife Walk for nature in London...See you there!

9th April 2024 -  Spring is springing!

Please take a look at river Crand Sanctuary Instagram for photos as this site has changed it format and I do not know how to put photos on here now or change this type colour!

14th March 2024  - Where does the time go?

Spring is springing and even had a newt in the garden last night....see our instagram post for photo as this site has changed and I cannot seem to upload photos.  Get out and ramble to shake off the winter and cold and immerse in Nature's helaing powers.

22nd February 2024    -   Mistletoe and Green Woodpecker from before to cheer us up on this rainy day!

greenwoodpecker

16th February 2024  - Clematis is in full bloom and now over the gates to greet all with its beautiful vanilla scent.

clematis beauty vanilla scent

3rd January 2024

Busy few weeks for us but always managed a walk and gratitude for nature.   We enjoyed the emerging crocuses and primoroses along with some amazing skies.  I will upload some new photos to Instagram and meanwhile Iain has put some onto our Flickr page available on the link on this site home page.  Please to hear that Wild Justice won two categories in the  Birdwatch magazine competition: Conservation Hero of the Year and Campaign of the Year for their Woodstock Limiting of shooting numbers ; not so good for our Government who got the Guano award for Crap environmental actions or lack of actions.  Let's hope for a better sunrise in the world after this glorious sunset.

sunsetlime

25th January 2024

Redwings still here enjoying Nature's Larder and glad to see them.  Lovely walk along the Sanctuary route yesterday with long tail tits, starlings, sparrows and Ivy fruits.  The watar filled the scrapes and looked lovely in the River Crane with the Mandarin Ducks having a family get together.  Will post more on the instagram page when I get a moment free.  Enjoy the peace in Nature amidst all the horrors on our tv screens and hope for resolution and kindness before we destroy all life.

redwing berry

21st January 2024

Enjoy your sunday walks in the sun and wind!  Snowdrops appearing in our gardens and parks.

snowdrops

13th January 2024

The birds are visiting our Sanctuary and even a male Sparrowhawk arrived on friday.  Photos of the songthrush, green finches, goldcrest and redwings amongst others are on our instagram but here is the Hunter looking for another prey.....not clear photo but here for record.

sparrowhawk

6th January 2024

Happy New Year to all and Peace wishes for those experiencing war and famine.  May 2024 see awareness raising confront propaganda and abuses of power to achieve a fairer and more loving world for our children to inherit.

lime sunset

 

Monday 18th December 2023 

kestrel

Kestrel watching over us on a lovely winter's walk on sunday away from the shops, traffic and noise.   Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

Thursday 7th December 2023   So sad to hear that Benjamin Zephaniyah has left this world for greener pastures.  We will miss him and his insights into British Culture and its effects on his life and those less fortunate in this country for whatever reasons.

I love his hedgehog poem and here is our little visitor.

hedgehogpinkpot

 

Tuesday 5th December 2023   -  Keep warm and do not let the bad news freeze your heart.

icesculpture

 

 

Friday 24th November 2023  -----  All you need is Love!   Praying for the Peace to continue for Gaza and an end to the Genocide from a vastly superior force of Israel.  

colloared dove

 

Sunday 19th November 2023

Getting out for walks to enjoy the fungi and autumnal colours.  Leaves falling and always something to see and experience in our locality.  Get away from the TV and screens and all the horrors of war in the world and enjoy the peace we are all to lucky to have for now.    Not seen the Firecrest since the hedges were chopped back a few years ago but hoping they come back as Nature starts to fight back and new growth is coming!

firecrest

 

Saturday 11th November 2023

Wishing all on the Peace March today calling for a ceasefire in Gaza a safe and peaceful walk in the company of humanitarian people who care for all life.   May the Lights of Diwali shine on you and protect you from those with evil intent so that they are shown for what they are and dealt with by the forces of good.  Om shant shant shanti  Peace Peace Peace.

peace lily

 

Sunday 5th November 2023  - Sometimes we need to fly away from all the noise and bright lights. Peace.

  Big Swan

Friday 27th Ocotober 2023. Still some sun rays to enjoy on a walk in the Park  After seeing 8 out of 10 bats with Chris Pakham and Team, on You Tube, which did a great piece on Fungi, we were treated to a pathway of mushrooms all standing upright in rows as if marching down the hill.   Share a chat with a young boy who was fascinated by the fungi and how they spread underground in vast networks. Let's hope the new yound generation stays positive for this little Blue Planet.

mushroomsmarch

  

Friday 20th October 2023

Magnificent Deer in the parks and coming to the end of the rut but still need to keep our distance from these wild animals.

stag

 

Saturday 7th October 2023

Good morning goldie. Enjoy the sunshine and berries nearby!

goldfinchyoung

 

Thursday 28th September 2023

Whilst clearing up I found a beloved old book of J.R.R. Tolkein which I put aside to read again.  This morning the shocking pictures of the felled sycamore in a gap by Hadrian's Wall revived memories of the one that was felled outside our bedroom window years back as it was of 'no use' and just happened to be in the way of a potential build and access way.  No more shelter, food and beauty of visiting wildlife from this well established tree which guided bats back to the River Crane and provided dark space.  Tolkein had a similar experience just before he wrote his book Tree and Leaf which brought together essays on Fairy Stories and a short story Leaf by Niggle plus more.  Tolkein wrote in the Introduction:   " I awoke with it already in mind.  One of its sources was a great-limbed poplar tree that I could see even lying in bed.  It was suddenly lopped and mutilated by its owner, I do not know why.  It is cut down now, a less barbarous punishment for any crimes it may have been accused of, such as being large and alive.  I do not think it had any friends, or any mourners, except myself and a pair of owls."

Guess Chris Packham and others have more to wonder what is a crime today and what is justice?   

Tuesday 26th September 2023

Join Chris Packham and other groups/individuals for a peaceful protest outside DEFRA Offices this Thursday 28th September 2023.

Join Us Info   We need roots and space to breathe and thrive together.

tree roots

Friday 15th September 2023

Look closely and see the two vistors having a get together in the below photo taken at Pen Ponds yesterday!                      Please register your voice at the Defra Consultation on protecting hedgerows.  Visit the Wild Justice site and ask for some more information on this issue to help formulate your response and get more information on this important issue.   DefraHedgerowConsultation  Deadline 21st September 2023

 

dragonfliespen

Monday 4th September 2023

Back from a few days in the wild with no screens or media and just bliss!   Home to the eco vandals gone mad choping down all the pyracantha and hedgerow (seen 25th August photo and below photo) about to turn red and feed the wildlife for the winter and our blackberries still offering succour.  Self described as Stewards of the MOL they unfortunately own and can do what they like with as our Councils are toothless with all the cuts and despair.  They have provided us with years of challenging behaviour which has become better but still sometimes shows their true colours.  They do not hack near us whilst we are here because they are cowards but it is their land and they protect and guard their borders!  Sounds familiar in the world of greed and unwillingness to communicate and share with all.  I wonder what would have hapened if they had neighbours who retaliated with nastiness unlike us who hold true to kindness and forgiveness even in the face of down right lies and meaness from these sad little people who now poison their children with hatred.  Blackbird says it all below!

blackbird chopped branch

 

Friday 25th August 2023

Wonderful to see our first Brown Hairstreaks in our garden!  I saw it in the wild hedgerow which is now bursting with ivy and Berries and feeding and housing so much wildlife.     It is a disgrace that an Appeal Officer from Bristol can overide local objections to a build here just to appease government targets.   Let's hope it does not get built with all the increased costs involved with our disastrous economy and political ineptitude.  One can hope but vigilence is still needed to ensure another larger planning applicaiton does not apppear!  Watch this space.

brown hairstreak

 

3rd August 2023 ------  sun has got his hat on this morning but for how long?

Three more days to go on the Big Butterfly Count and we have been amazed at how many different species recorded in our own garden and local area.  I wonder how these precious species have done nationwide and globally.  Keep your eyes open nature lovers and send in your counts to the link below or google the Big Butterfly Count.

peacock

 

Rainy Monday Morning  -  24th July 2023

Have you taken part in the Big Butterfly count?  Still time to do so as it runs from the 14th July to 6th August.

Big Butterfly Info.  click on the link to download the app or chart to register your sightings.  Have fun!

small copper

 

Sunday 9th July 2023

marblewhite

"The butterfly is often seen as a symbol of transformation and rebirth as it undergoes a beautiful metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly. Additionally, the black and white marbling of the Marbled White Butterfly is thought to represent the duality of life – light and dark, good and evil, yin and yang.
The Marbled White Butterfly is often associated with the idea of embracing change and opening ourselves up to new experiences. Its elegant wings gently remind us to spread our wings and explore beyond our comfort zones. Overall, the Marbled White Butterfly serves as a beautiful and inspiring symbol of growth, transformation, and the beauty that can come from embracing change."

First time visiting our garden and wanted to share with all for the wonderful symbolism associated with this elegant butterfly.

Easy to feel despair and sadness in our world from personal and global news but nature shows the transience and renewal that comes with time and the importance of staying in the moment to appreciate what is present and what is temporary.

 

Friday 7th July 2023

Hot 29c today and so many butterflies in the garden.  The main interest were the flying ants gathering in the front and back gardens and taking flight in droves.  Have you seen any?

flying ants

 

ants flying

Tuesday 27th June 2023

After all the heat we have a cooler day.  Wildlife is appreciating our shady garden areas and the water bowls and we appreciate them visiting.   Painted Lady made an appearance and a dragonfly too!  Enjoy and keep pesticide free.

paintedlady

 

dragonfly

Tuesday 20th June 2023  ----  Summer Solstice tomorrow and time to reflect on this transitory existence?

red heart

“Though nothing can bring back the hour

Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower,

We will grieve not, rather find

Strength in what remains behind,

In the primal sympathy

Which having been must ever be,

In the soothing thoughts that spring

Out of human suffering,

In the faith that looks through death,

In years that bring the philosophic mind.”

 

Monday 12th June 2023

Hot hot hot and the wildlife is enjoying all ur water bowls and sink ponds.  Frog in the front garden and stag beetles pond and side log pile.  We had a short trip to Studland and saw the eco anchors Meghan talked about on Springwatch from her report here on the dunes.  Keep cool and take time to be still and observe so much going on in nature .

harry rocks

 

Monday 22nd May 2023

BBC Earth Prom is now on IPlayer if you missed it last night on The TV.  It is well worth watching with visual and audio magic along with Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin's professional and knowledgeable compering.  Fragile Earth series decades ago warned and highlighted much of what is now being said again and again and what we need is action not more programmes!

Support the Action Heroes and not the toxic press and political policing which our country is now experiencing.  When will we ever learn?

parklife

 

Wednesday 17th May 2023 - Our Sanctuary along the river crane.  No mow May and the butterflies are out and about!

sanctuary meadow

Thursday 4th May 2023

Getting ready for a stormy and rainy Bank Holiday weekend and thankful last weekend and yesterday were both glorious and gave us so many wonderful nature photos to share.  Spotted a Terrapin in a 'nest' in mid big pond in Bushy Park last sunday and yesterday there was a Cormorant basking on a Buoy in the Thames.  Butterflies out too but still not resting for long.  Trust everyone is getting some sunshine and peace in these strange times.

terrapin

 

cormorant

 

Wednesday 26th April 2023

It has been a hectic time and not posted on this site but our instagram and flickr photos are up to date!

The weather is confusing for us as well as some wildlife but we have seen some wonderful sightings of butterflies and birds and the walks in the parks always deliver beauty and tranquility.  Get out there whenever you have a chance and if you spot someone looking upwards or smiling at a duck it may be me so say hello!

tufted duck

 

Monday 27th March 2023

Where is the time going?  Solar Panels up and generating and sun power today too as a good gardening tidy up and planting took place.  So many looking for a place to call home.  Wish all that comfort and kindness which we all need.

woody home

 

Saturday 18th March 2023 - Good Morning sunshine at last.

Some good news with Wild Justice achieving some Game/bird shooting  reforms and Trophy Hunting parts banned from UK import but still so far to go.  Keep voicing and helping the organisations fighting for nature or which we are all a Part not apart!

Some spring photos to gladden the eye and lighten the soul in this troubled world are on the instagram account link on first page.  Having a problem loading photos on this diary!

 

 sunflower

 

Thursday 2nd March 2023

Good old boy visiting and you can get information and help from the Foxproject if you find a fox in distress or if you have any concerns.

old fox

sleep fox

 

 

Tuesday 21st February 2023  - Starling had a good brush and clean up in the water bowl and then gave us a stare!

starling stare

 

Valentine's Day 2023

Please support the campaign againgst Thames Water's proposal to dump treated sewage into the river near Teddington Weir.

'Stop the Stink' protest is under way so do what you can to support this local initiative and save our water habitat for all.

teddintonanglersview

 

 

Friday 10th February 2023 - Snoozing in the sunshine and Blue Water in our Green Park in the Urban Jungle.

duck blue water

Have you heard of Precision Fermentation? The Grumpy Old Birder, Bo Beolens, always writes about such interesting and thought-provoking ideas. This one is about food production and how it could be made less harmful and wasteful and still ‘feed the world’. It would leave more habitat for wildlife as less land would be needed but it depends on us changing our preferences for food and becoming less squeamish about eating ‘bacteria’. I will need to investigate this more as cooking and food is a joy in life and even though we are vegetarian we still appreciate all the other views on diet and sustainability for the planet.  I was also reading David Lindo’s piece in the same magazine, Bird Watching, about the Black Redstart (which is red listed in the Uk) and how its breeding sites were affected by gentrification and building in urban areas. Apparently, our Robins are quite aggressive to any interlopers on their patch that are small and have any red so he thinks this might also have diminished Black Redstart numbers here where we have so many Robins in urban areas guarding their territories whereas on the continent Robins are more in the woodlands and less confident with humans. We have not recorded any Black Redstarts on our patch here but they do breed in London, Manchester and Birmingham so that is also on our list now to find and get a photo if lucky.

 

Saturday 4th February 2023

Iris the Goddess of communication,messages, rainbows and new endeavours.

iris

  e. mail haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk if you want to save Autumnwatch.  We need more nature of this quality of presentation and knowledge not less.  Ask for a Summerwatch too! 

26th January 2023

It has been quite a past week with some very cold weather but also sunshine and glimpses of blue skies.  We have been enjoying winterwatch and learning again from this brilliant tv presentation of nature for naturelovers.  Lots of Redwing visiting our patch and posted some photos on our instagram and flickr if this is one that has evaded your bird spotting outings.   This weekend is the Big Garden Birdwatch so do take part and help with recording what is happening in our environment now.

Short walk in the mist and rain today and we saw some mistlethrushes high in the mistletoe.  We heard strange clicking and rustling sounds as we passed dense bracken and thought this was something hiding in there but could not see anything.  Then the mistlethrushes made the sounds in the trees so wonder what that was all about.  Any ideas?

mistlethrush

 mistlethrushbushy

19th January 2023

Please remember to remove the ice from all the water bowls for our wildlife to drink and bathe.  

This beautiful nature-art ice sculpture is still solid after two days......hope you are all keeping warm.

icesculpture

 

14th January  2023

gingerprince

"The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable"  Wilde penned this some time ago againgst fox hunting and it still seems to be happening in some areas of our country where there are people who think they are above the law.  Pursuit of two legged prey is still obnoxious but some can talk back and reach a big audience.  Reading 'Spare' and glad that there are voices againgst powerful media and elites.  Go Ginger Prince Fox!

7th January 2023   Harry and Meghan!

kestrels2

Sometimes you need to find your own home and someone to share it with you with love and respect.

5th January 2023

The sun has got his hat on.  Hip hip hip hooray.  The sun has got his hat on and is coming out to Play!

Where will you go today to get some nature energy to shake off any blues and worries?

Think we will head for beautiful Bushy Park so look out for the dreamers wlloking upwards or in rapture over some flower or wildlife giving its joy to all who give the time to stand and stare.

snowdrops

 

31st December New Year's Eve. 

Fresh New Year  c.W.A.Ward

"Another fresh New Year is here....

Another year to Live!

To banish worry, doubt and fear'

To love and laugh and give.

 

This bright New Year is given me

to live each day with zest.

To daily grow and try to be

My highest and my best!

 

I have the opportunity

Again to right some wrongs,

To pray for peace to plant a tree,

And sing more joyful songs!"

23rd December 2022

robinredbreast

Ring Out, Wild Bells

Ring out false pride in place and blood,The civic slander and the spite;

Ring in the love of truth and right.Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease:

Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;                                                                                     

 Ring out the thousand wars of old,

Ring in the thousand years of peace.

 Alfred, Lord Tennyson 19th century poem

Beautiful poem written a century ago to confront the inequalities of the time and as true today We need to decide if we want The Gutter Britain News to dominate our lives or truly want a Great Britain again for all. Our group is a nature focused one and that includes people who are, after all, animals at the top of the food chain. Some of us are now on the ‘RED LIST’ as the powerful media and interests target those not in line with their goals. Many still use anonymity to hide behind as even they are ashamed of what they are saying.

Stand up and be counted for the sake of those who cannot defend themselves.

Wishing all a peaceful space and time to reflect as the year draws to a close and fun too with friends and family!                   

 Love and Light to all Life,  Sammi and Iain

18th December 2022

Drizzly sunday but warmer so hope the solstice will be dry for our walk on Wednesday.  Looking forward to seeing all of you again before the next festive weekend chaos!  Remember this walk 12 twelve years ago?

bushy solstice

 

 

11th December 2022

Take a look at this article from 2015 by Kate Bradbury about the wonderful Ivy and Berries.

Berry Good for Birds.  So much information here and photo of Squirrel below as the birds had taken flight!

squirrel berries

 

3rd December 2022

“To go in the dark with a light is to know the light. To know the dark, go dark. 

Go without sight, and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings, 

and is travelled by dark feet and dark wings.”

Bushy Park Santa Fun Run Sunday 4th /11th December for Princess Alice Hospice. We have donated to the Hospice for many years and treasure memories of our Father’s last days there surrounded by love and care when we could not cope anymore at home. If only this end-of-life service was available to all. More details on the link above for the annual Santa Run which you can support by cheering on the participants even if you cannot join in this year. Donations can be made direct via their website. See you there!

penpondstrees

National Tree week ends 4th December and we have been watching our “Christmas Tree” growing in the garden for some years now!    Take a look at the link to the Tree Council for more information on their work and how to get involved in this important area of conservation.

 

28th November 2022 

 Beautiful bushy Park a joy to walk there in all weathers!  So many young people enjoying getting muddy in the sports areas and then peace and quiet in the woodland glade.  Gentle raindrops and then some dappled sunlight...ahhhhhhh! 

Looking forward to the main Walk for Wildlife next Spring but must admit we love the solo walks, without any talking, the best to really enjoy the sights and sounds of Nature.   

Below photo is from our winter Solstice walk ten years ago and wonder if there will be any snow this December the 21st?  

   mesnowdeer

18th November 2022

Due to transport issues the Walk for Wildlife will now be in Spring 2023

Walk in your favourite nature area instead and we will be in Beautiful Bushy Park on Sunday 27th November so look out for the two photographers enjoying all the beauty around and hoping to capture a few good photos to share with those unable to get out and about.   Usually in the Woodland Gardens midday for a rest and snack by the Hornbeam Cathedral.  Say Hello!

hornbeam

 

 

14th November 2022

Walk for Wildlife is on Sunday 27th November now  and all other details the same as below.   See you there!

greenwoodpecker

 

5th November 2022  -  River Crane Sanctuary Sept 2018 we was there!

wildlifewalk 2018 sept

Walk for Wildlife is scheduled for:

 Saturday 26th November 2022 in London and other areas Follow the link to hear Chris Packham give more information.

Perhaps you will join us this time for a wonderful family friendly walk with likeminded and engaged people who love Nature.  We went in 2018 and it rained but that did not dampen spirits at all.  Bird song was played as we walked from Hyde Park to Parliament to deliver our petition and there was no trouble and lots of laughter, music and friendships formed.  

                                                                                  

Seven Steps to save Nature by 2030      Click this link to read The RSPB’s Steps which they encourage us to engage with for Nature’s conservation efforts.  One of the steps is “People Power Yep – that’s you! Together, we can be drivers of change. But we need our Governments to support and empower us to act for nature, and build and protect green spaces that help us to connect with the natural world. Greens are good for you! ” c. RSPB

Amol Rajan interview with Greta Thunberg is on I Player now and if you missed it live then do catch up as it may give you pause for thought and even challenge pre-conceptions of this eco warrior.

 

richmond boat

 

Water quality and Avian Flu are big topics which grab the public interest particularly if we live by a waterway or have Greenspaces with migrating birds intermingling with domesticated birds such as poultry.  There is a need for individual responsibility from smaller keepers as the Agencies will look at larger business owners but not necessarily these smaller hen coops due to lack of funds and investigators to do so.   Along The River Crane Walk there are such domesticated birds and we hope there will be good stewardship to avoid contamination and devastation from this awful virus which can transmit so easily and maybe even drift into the human chain

31st October 2022   Halloween - Neighbour's House wins the best creative prize!

 halloween house

 

29th October 2022

Happy Saturday and remember to put your clocks back tonight in UK.  

sunfloweroct22

 

25th October 2022

Happy Diwali - Extends over five days from Oct.22nd until Oct.26th and falls on Monday 24th October this year which was very auspicious for Rishi Sunak.

pinksky

 

NB. Partial solar Eclipse today 25th October 2022 at 10.08 to 10.59 uk. The Moon will block one quarter of the sun and is the only uk partial eclipse this year.  It will be visible  until midday but do not look directly at the sun!

 

Thursday 20th October 2022

kidbumble

Get Ready for November 26th 2022 Walk for Wildlife on a hopefully sunny saturday this time! 

There was a big crowd of enthusiastic nature lovers in September 2018 and great costumes as those in photo above.  No media reporting to speak off and yet thousands there.  If you cannot get to London we hope you will do something locally on this day and post in social media.

Saturday 15th October 2022

Lovely walk by the River Crane in dappled sunshine last week.  What a joy to get out again and see nature still offering solace and beauty to calm the spirit and raise a smile.   With Nature under threat from  Government u turns on protections needed to safeguard it for us all...we must stand up and be counted.  Waiting for another wildlife walk countrywide date and will keep you informed of anything we will offer locally.  Come join us and bring your camera.

treescape

 

Sunday 2nd october 2022

darkclouds into light

Equinox

“May every hurt be healed
with loving intent, and positivity.
In my heart
 Hope Springs Eternal

Our Equinox comes at this time of year.
One deep breath from finding balance and on to better days.
We have all this air to breathe yet, 
anxiously we hold our breath unwilling to believe” c.SoZaka

grebe  frog

Trusting that October will bring us all some Hope and that we can still breathe our ‘Air’, for now, unlike so many places in the world struggling with climate change issues destroying their habitats.  We have seen frogs in our little sink ponds and spiders galore with mushroom magic sprouting along the River Crane walk and parks.  Get out in all weathers and enjoy the blessings of Nature to raise spirits.  Ignore the gutter press and media which engenders hate with their vile misinformation

mshroom  spider

 

FatBirder.com Bo Beolens styles himself as the Grumpy Old Birder and his articles and knowledge have made me laugh, cry and actually learn something. Click on the link above to read his latest article and do look at his website if you love birds in particular. Or take a look at this article on the impact of releasing non-native game birds for the shooting fraternity

 

 

30th September 2022 - Our little songbirds visiting the wildhedgerow whilst it is still there.  Thank you for the song may it long continue.

songthrush

 

19th September 2022 

Peace to all those mourning a loved one today and hope they will find solace in kindness and understanding.

"Your Joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with our tears. And how else can it be?  The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain."  Gibran

kestrel

 

31st August 2022

reflection stream

Time for a walk in Nature to shake off all the depressing news for Nature !

Monday 22nd August 2022

“Though nothing can bring back the hour

Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower,

We will grieve not, rather find

Strength in what remains behind,

In the primal sympathy

Which having been must ever be,

In the soothing thoughts that spring

Out of human suffering,

In the faith that looks through death,

In years that bring the philosophic mind.”  Wordsworth

7640

 

Tuesday 9th August 2022

jerusalem flower

Jerusalem Artichoke Flower attracts a Small Copper Butterfly. Backyardforager.com gives more information on this beautiful plant which we had never seen before.  It was a pleasure to see it with so many insects visiting in the car park entrance to the Woodland Gardens in Bushy Park. Whilst taking photos and looking closely at it we attracted some other nature lovers and exchanged suggestions of places to visit in our neighbourhood and beyond.

 Walks and talks in nature always lift our spirits when so much bad news can be a downer. One couple said they had more butterflies this year than before in their Weybridge communal garden whilst another couple were trying to get their communal garden to be less formal and have more wildflowers to encourage insects! Good news when insect activity and bird numbers are recorded as down overall.  James Lovelock, Gaia Books, has passed after 103 years on this planet and was ahead of his time with his insights into the connectedness of all living things. So many pioneers have done their best to illuminate environmental abuses and yet still we need more to wake up and smell the fumes. Good news is that the bats visited again near the River Crane Sanctuary MOL by Meadway and we will try and record them.  We heard the Owl again and found a Silver-Washed Fritillary Butterfly for the first time in our garden long grass! Lots of baby blackcaps, robins, bluetits, jays, dragon/damselflies, bees and even a Green Woodpecker feasting on the bugs on our pesticide free Red Roses.

woodyrose 

mothunderside 

Jersey Tiger Moths are distinctive with their black and white markings but the underside is not often shown. Above photo is from when two of them decided to rest on our glass as it was probably warmed by the sunshine.

demoiselles

  Photo shows conjoined Demoiselles.

“The beautiful demoiselle may look like a dragonfly, but it is in fact a large damselfly. The males are metallic blue and the females green. They live on small, fast flowing rivers in the west of the UK”                                                           

 

Tuesday 2nd August 2022

"Yet the timeless in you is aware of life's timelessness, and knows that yesterday is but today's memory and tomorrow is today's dream. And that which sings and contemplates in you is still dwelling within the bounds of that first moment which scattered the stars into space..................And is not time even as love is, undivided and paceless?" Gibran...The Prophet

 redrose

 

Saturday 16th July 2022

“No Man is an Island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent a part of the main; …….… Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind. And therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. c.John Donne 17th Century

More of us are realising the truth held in this poem and the next three days may convince others still sceptical about Climate Change that we need to share with all to solve the challenges we have to face together to survive and live sustainably.

The UN has marked Nelson Mandela Day since 2009. We are encouraged to celebrate his birthday on Monday 18th July by making a difference in our community. This year’s tagline is: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”           

 What shall I do?

Here are some ideas but your own are always better and more impactful:

1. Litter pick-ups even outside your door are simple and appreciated. Plastic is a huge problem and Google: 5 things we learnt from the biggest ever household plastic count to get knowledge and tips on how to improve our own usage.

2. Big Butterfly count is now on so why not take part and even donate to this Charity.

3 Please put out some water for the wildlife and keep the Bowls Clean: The RSPB site has good information on this so get the link on our ecology page.

4     Be aware of Trees/ Building Applications near you and comment. Good news is that the Beech Tree in Churchview Road is Saved…for now. Thank you to all who took the time to comment or asked us to include them in our group objection.      

5 Take a look at Jane Goodall’s work and see if you can help. Followed her for years and adopted a chimp for our daughter to learn about conservation! Now you can buy a doll and Jane explains in the video why she wanted her own Barbie! Check out You tube for Jane’s video as it is inspiring and informative.  

“The Barbie comes with a miniature replica of David Greybeard, the first male chimp Dr Goodall named while doing research at Gombe National Park. Goodall’s doll is made from ocean-bound plastic and is part of Mattel’s Inspiring Women Series, which pays tribute to courageous and risk-taking women.”

marble white    jaywater

 

Tuesday 12th July 2022

TPO Beechtree in Churchview Road saved this time!  Thanks to all who commented.

Planning Officer's decision Refused

 

2nd July Saturday - More information on the Beech Tree Churchview Road TPO

 

beechtreetpo2022

White Lady of The Wood – Beech Tree , Churchview Rd – SAVE?

“The Beech Tree justly deserves its title of Mother of The Forest. Its tall, slender and elegant form providing dappled shade through a vivid green canopy in the summer months, and rich autumn hues in the Fall”. c. From Britain’s Tree Story by Julian Hight

We were asked to give a presentation for a neighbourhood group in Broom Water and it reminded us of the Tribune article we posted about being a KnIMBY. It was a good starting point to the discussion with this friendly group who wanted to get more involved with nature around them and in particular The River Thames. After the below introduction we covered the issues of  Light Pollution and Sewage into the River and then discussed a wide range of topics including recording and getting involved with local groups more knowledgeable than us! They were very generous contributing £100 to Wild Justice as our nominated charity as we do not charge. Below is our introduction caption and it proved relevant as you will see if you read on:

We would like to reclaim the word NIMBY from its negative 1980's usage and make into a positive acronym: KNown in My Back Yard.

Throughout history people who love nature have recorded sightings where they live and contributed to the knowledge of habitats and species. (Nb: Big Butterfly Count coming and National Insect Week just finished.) Look out for these national and local initiatives to get involved in recording.

The term Phenology, coined by Belgian Botanist Charles Morren 1849, relates to:                                                              "The Study of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena, especially in relation to climate and plant and animal life."    Put simply it means noticing when you see your first butterfly, the emergence of leaves and flowers and the first migratory birds arrive in your garden.  Simple observations from individuals over many years have led to important discoveries of changes in our natural world and led to more detailed investigations to support work to protect habitats and species which have been impacted by adverse factors.”                

Be a KNIMBY and know what is around you and how you can make a real difference in protecting our precious natural world; starting with where we know best - Our Own Back Yard! Read on and be a KNIMBY and say NO to felling this Tree!

New Proposal: Tree is beech tree located on the land behind 38 Campbell Road Our proposal is to fell the tree and replant another smaller, more manageable birch tree within 4 metres of where the current tree stands.    Case 22/T0359/TPO on Richmond upon Thames Planning site.  Link

Previous attempts to build in two back gardens have all failed due, in part, to ‘the loss of a protected tree’. Every house you see on the left side is a new build in previous garden space – some 23 dwellings and concreted parking spaces. One of the previous Applicants for this site stated that the Beech was a much-loved tree planted by his parents and he would protect it during the build if planning was granted. Seems like it is not so well loved anymore after so many years of attempting to build around it failed. The neighbours moved after seven years of receiving new planning applications every time they returned from holidays so how many will now object/comment to encourage the Tree Officer and Councillors that this established tree is worth protecting still? We need this beautiful peace/piece of Nature after so much in-filling and loss of habitat in the immediate area. More is to come since the Appeal Officer Granted the locally contested new build application in the Garage Block Site at the end of Churchview Road and adjacent to the MOL/River Crane Corridor. Be a KnIMBY and comment!

River Crane Sanctuary three objections: We ask the Tree Officer to enforce the protection of this established tree for the following valid reasons to object:

1. Loss of this tree is not mitigated by the proposal to plant a different and smaller tree:                                                           e.g., Larger carbon sink potential, established and larger habitat, surface water flooding relief.

2.Nature Conservation - Bats navigation point to the River Crane. Light absorption and creation of dark space. Habitat for numerous wildlife.

3.Visual Amenity - The tree is beautiful in a built-up environment. Bird song and views give pleasure and connection to nature for all ages and mobilities in the neighbouring flats/houses and for visitors.                                                                                                                         

Wednesday 29th June 2022    Beech Tree in Churchview Road Twickenham - Worth Saving?

Beech

Visit Richmond upon Thames planning :CASENO=22/T0359/TPO or Google the reference.

 

 

18th June 2022 - Look what Stag Beetle eft behind.  Nature Artwork and please keep recording your sightings and reporting them to the right groups.

stag beetle skeleton

Throughout history people who love nature have recorded sightings where they live and contributed to the knowledge of habitats and species.

The term Phenology, coined by Belgian Botanist Charles Morren 1849, relates to: "The Study of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena, especially in relation to climate and plant and animal life."    Put simply it means noticing when you see your first butterfly, the emergence of leaves and flowers and the first migratory birds arrive in your garden.  Simple observations from individuals over many years have led to important discoveries of changes in our natural world and led to more detailed investigations to support work to protect habitats and species which have been impacted by adverse factors."

14th June 2022

Look who turned up again in our garden.

stag beetle

Record your sightings of these endangered species! 

We will post some updates on our activities soon and do read back on this news diary for what we have done and links to great organisations and work locally,nationally and worldwide on our Ecology page.  We are all connected and that is a fact now seen by most as climate change continues to impact even the so called developed nations.   

 

12th June 2022

Lots of new life in the Sanctuary and in the green network of parks and gardens in our beautiful Borough.  Flowers are blooming marvellous too.   Hayfever is a bit of a deterent to venturing into the more overgrown places but it cannot stop us enjoying all that Nature has to offer in this spring into summer bonzana of sights and smells.  Here is a little example of what is out there now for you delight if you just get up and Go!

mandarinmoodyscreen

 

greenwalkpath

swantwobabies

 

 

4th June 2022

white rose

"I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.

 I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.

I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone.

People love a warm hug, or just a pat on the back.

 I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did,

but people will never forget how you made them feel.”   c. Maya Angelou  



2nd June 2022

Lots of little ones showing up in the Sanctuary and here are few for your delight.  All weathers this week and Springwatch has been amazing again with so much to learn and enjoy in Nature.  This programme and presenters deserved to get the best live tv programme event at The Baftas but it seems Earthshot has an advantage with Prince William's influence in BAFTA so despite low viewing figures he got the award.  Pecking order alive and kicking in all species!

mandarinchick

Mandarin Chick in the River Crane

robinbaby

Baby Robin in Sanctuary Garden

great tit ma and babe

Great Tit -  Feed me mum!

 

23rd May 2022

Just got our results from a week of counting our plastic and submitting to the Big Plastic Count.  Shocking to see what we use even when trying to cut down.  Hope the Government, Supermarkets, Businesses do something to help us all save the Wordl and Nature going forward from this menace to life itself.

love in a mist colours

 

6th May 2022  Time for a swim?

Cormorant

Andy from Hammertons Ferry is still wild swimming to raise charity funds so do support him.   Amazing to see this Cormorant in the River Crane and we need to keep our rivers pollution free for all.

2022 is a crucial year for action on plastic, as The Government is going to be setting targets for reducing plastic waste. According to Greenpeace: “Their plans aren’t ambitious enough right now. We have to make them understand the scale of the problem.” How? Greenpeace have invited us to take part in The Big Plastic Count – the UK’s biggest ever investigation into household plastic waste. It kicks off this month and all we have to do is count our plastic waste for one week, from 16 to 22 May. 

Look at the Video and information on the link below about how to get involved for Individuals, Schools, Businesses and Community groups: Big Plastic Count

 

Tuesday 12th April 2022

Beautiful warm day yesterday and we explored the London Wildlife Trust's Crane Island Nature Reserve.  It did not disappoint!  Take a look at these photos and maybe it  will inspire you to get out into nature and encourage others to join you.

heronfish

Fish and chips anyone?  this went down in one.   Butterflies galore and sunshine.  Who needs to go abroad?

lwtisland

comma

Friday 8th April 2022  Tree Life or Death?   Decades growing evergreen tree hacked down to the ground today.

Tree Life or Death

This tree formed part of the planning objection to the three storey new builds applied for on the garages site which got passed by the Appeal Office despite unanimous objections from neighbours , ecologists, our Council and local environmental groups.  This area will now be a Large Bins site for the Churchview Flats and is feet away from Campbell Close kitchens.  This tree may not have been an Oak or had TPO status but it deserved saving due to its evergreen habitat, navigation aide for bats approaching the River Crane, blocking of Light Pollution and soaking up the excessive water which flows down the road due to other new builds and concreting over of gardens and which has led to ground surface flooding on the proposed new build site area.  When will we ever learn if not now?  Sad day for all.

Saturday 2nd April 2022

comma  holly blue

Comma Butterflies and Holly Blue Butterflies are two of the visitors seen locally

The urban decline of butterflies/insects has been well reported and the need for appropriate nectar rich plants and habitat. I read recently that thinking about ‘baby food’ is essential as caterpillars are fussy eaters and for populations to increase particular plants are required and sought out by adults to ensure the best start for their young. Save butterflies info.

goslingsseven

Mother’s Day swim for a family of Seven!

We purchased a compost bin and tiger worms from the Council years ago when we moved from a flat and had a garden at last. It has been an amazing resource to help improve the heavy clay soil and to compost our kitchen and garden waste. It is a fun way to include children in connecting with nature and environmental issues and the worms have been our ‘pets’ along with all the other wildlife who give so much joy when they visit our pesticide free space. Place water bowls in safe spots and wildlife friendly plants/weeds/overgrown lawn and see who pops in! Our Council now offers the following link to products for local residents interested in getting more sustainable and nature friendly:                                                           Compost Bins and More     Add Composting worms for £8.

tigerworms

 

 

Saturday 5th March 2022

black walnut

Black Walnut Tree in Marble Hill

We have loved this tree which has been here for so many years and weathered many storms. Trees and ancient habitats have secrets yet to be discovered and have helped us survive illnesses in the past which had ‘no cure’.

Nature’s Medicine Cabinet is being destroyed as the ancient forests and habitats are logged and burned for mainly profit and short-sighted needs. Indigenous peoples’ voices are still not being heard even as more voices are raised and awareness grows.    

I read an illuminating article by Ed Hutchings in Bird Watching- January Edition which highlighted Edward Lear’s fantastic Bird Artistry for which he did not receive enough recognition in his lifetime. His nonsense poetry is better known and still gives so much pleasure and encourages a love of nature. The Bodleian Library offers a book readers may like to consider purchasing: “Edward Lear loved birds. Of all the animals that sprang from his quirky imagination, birds held a special place, serving as the animal of choice for his zoomorphosis in self-portraiture. Not only did he draw more birds than any other animal, but he endowed them with particularly human characteristics.”

  PEACE : Collared Dove in the Sanctuary                                                        Friendly Robin visits our garden watering spot.

colloared dove    robin joy

 

 

Saturday 29th January 2022  Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend!

goslings

 Cleo and Patra in the Woodland Gardens cosying up!

My5 Go Veggie and Vegan with Matt TebbuttGives simple recipes to try delicious meals that help the planet by reducing our reliance on meat and dairy products and thereby encourage food production that is more sustainable and nature friendly. One way we can all help others and maybe even benefit ourselves.

Don’t Look Up,” featuring Rewild Founding Board member Leonardo DiCaprio, is the number one trending film globally on Netflix. We do not have this but would love to see it sometime and meanwhile we are enjoying ancient TV fantastic programmes like Winterwatch and Blue/Green Planet.

Rewild is: Remembering conservation heroes. “The close of 2021 marked the end of some remarkable lives. We are especially sad to lose biodiversity heroes E.O. Wilson and Tom Lovejoy, who passed away within one day of each other, palaeontologist and conservationist Richard Leakey, and Betty White—who devoted much of her nearly 100 years on this planet to the care and protection of animals.”

“Tom is widely credited with coming up with the term “biodiversity”, derived from “biological diversity”, in the early 1980s, and certainly became one of its major proponents over the years. It was a word that gave focus to all concerned about the vast variety of life on Earth. At the same time, he was one of the earliest scientists to really push the importance of climate change when it was nowhere near the level of popularity and visibility that it has today, and, most importantly, to link biodiversity and climate change, especially through the importance of tropical forests like Amazonia. This could in many ways be considered his most important contribution and led to a growing focus on what today we call “nature-based solutions.” Remembering Tom Lovejoy

We are lucky to have beautiful, free public spaces to enjoy nature and engage in wildlife monitoring activities even if we do not have a private garden. So many local groups offer expertise and opportunities to learn and volunteer and all we have to do is join in!   What will you record in RSPB’s the Big Garden Bird watch from 28th – 30th January? 

 

Saturday 1st January 2022

greenfinch

“Ring Out false pride in place and blood,The civic slander and the spite; Ring in the love of truth and right,          

 Ring in the common love of good. Ring Out old shapes of foul disease;     Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;   

Ring out the thousand wars of old.  Ring in the thousand years of peace.”Ring Out, Wild Bells c. Lord Tennyson

Wishing everyone realisation, in our lives, of the wise words in Alfred’s beautiful and insightful poem which still rings true today.  Will Humanity find its Humanity for the good of all in 2022?  We remember Desmond Tutu’s visit to York House in the 1980s and how local children sang to him in Swahili but no photos unfortunately. Hope he can put a word in for this World in the next!  Our heartfelt wishes to all who have lost someone dear or is struggling.  We hope to resume our walks and talks in Nature and everyone is welcome to join us physically when possible.    

The Big Garden Birdwatch    End of this month and all the information is on the RSPB website now so click the link above and join in.  We still have Greenfinches visiting our water bowls in the Sanctuary gardens and feeding on natural habitat foods along with Bird feeders.  The spread of ‘trichomonosis’, a parasite-induced disease, is linked to the recent decline in Greenfinches and keeps them on the Red List. Good Hygiene of all Feeders/Bowls is essential. Swifts and House Martins moved from Amber to Red list and Starlings remain red listed.

starling

27th December 2021

It has been a busy time of the year with family commitments and all the unrest with the current pandemic so we have not be able to do our walks and talks for awhile.   Roll on 2022 and we will meet again "don't know where....don't know when" but it will happen for sure.  Meanwhile join us on instagram for daily photos of what we see here in the Sanctuary and in the wonderful green spaces in our glorious area.  Here is a regular visitor to our garden who sings every morning along with the Robin and Black cap to start our day with Joy.  Wishing all our visitors and nature lovers Peace and Health .

 

Songthrush

 

 

5th December 2021

If you missed The Wild Gardener on BBC 2 you can see it on iPlayer now. “Wildlife cameraman Colin Stafford-Johnson returns home on a very personal project – to turn his old childhood garden into a haven for native wildlife. After 30 years of filming the world’s most iconic creatures, Colin heads back to Ireland, to a garden he spent his childhood summers spraying and mowing into a perfect lawn. But now he wants to transform his old playground into a sanctuary for the native plants and animals now struggling to survive on these islands, and inspire viewers to do the same.” This is an inspiring programme which asks us to be less tidy and controlling of our gardens and wild spaces and more aware of Nature’s intelligence. Indigenous people say it succinctly: “Mother Earth expects us to Respect her. Mother Earth does not expect us to save her and we as indigenous peoples expect the same.” Nemonte Nenquimo

songthrushprotectedhedge

Songthrush in wild hedgerow

 

6th November 2021

mandarinkneller  autumn tree

Mandarin Duck enjoying The River Crane in Kneller Gardens andsaid to bring luck and good fortune which we trust all World Leaders will have in their crucial talks. Autumn colour tree above in another of our beautiful green spaces - Bushy Park and below photo of Red Admiral Butterfly and insect visitors on flowers grown in a pesticide free garden habitat.                                      

“Let no one steal your dreams. Follow your heart. Follow your soul.                                                             

 For only when you follow them will you feel completely whole.” c. Paul Cookson

We have received information from our Council in response to the FOI Request - LBR2021/1007 - Usage of Herbicides in The Borough.

This has been passed on for analysis to see how we rate with other authorities in our usage. We trust we will not be on the ‘naughty list’.                

“Thank you for your responses to our work on Glyphosate.  Many of you have written to your local authorities and some have even had a quick response.  All this information is great.  It will take some time to work through all these responses in detail but we've started. Thank you! And we've been getting human urine samples tested for glyphosate levels - the results are interesting. We hope to be able to give some of you the chance to find out how much glyphosate is in your body.” Wild Justice: Glyphosate use by local authorities

 

red admiral  cosmosbee

23rd October 2021 - Mushroom Fungi magic!

fungi everywhere

tree sprouts fungi

 

12th October 2021

The Grumpy old Birder – Bo Beolens – has been highlighting the use of neonicotinoids banned in the EU which are now allowed for certain crops in the UK despite our pledge to uphold the Ban post-Brexit due to their known danger to Bees and consequently our food chain and Life itself.           There is now evidence that Fipronil, a highly toxic insecticide used indiscriminately to de-flea millions of our cats and dogs, is poisoning our rivers. He encourages owners to only use the product if the pet needs it. It is encouraging that more Farmers/individuals are planting hedges, wildflowers and digging ponds but is that enough when contrasted with the above situation and climate emergency?                                              

blackcapberry

We have asked our local authority for information on the use of Glyphosate in the Borough to add data for Wild Justice’s project on herbicide usage. Forty-Three Boroughs have already participated and there have been examples of good practice which have been publicised. The Councils praised were delighted with the highlighting of their committed work to improve their local environment.  We are confident that our Council will be up there with the best given our wonderful Green Spaces, Environmental groups/individuals and support from all parties for better protection of Habitats. We will post the Council’s reply in the November Issue so watch this space! Meanwhile, you can read more on Glyphosates here: Glyphosate use by local authorities

 

29th September 2021

Trusting you are all having plenty of nature walks in rain and shine to keep the spirits up .  Photos of recent visitors to the Sanctuary which made our day and we hope you enjoy.   

songthrust

robin

 

18th September 2021

Hope you are enjoying this september sunshine and getting some good vitamin D before the weather changes.  We have been appreciating the late bounty from nature and the glorious wildlife who visit the hedges and flowers near by and on our walks in greenspaces.  Here are a few recent photos to share and encourage planting of nectar rich plants and water sources for our beloved visitors.

sunflower

berries for free

 

 

4th September 2021

Yet another report now highlights that the decline in insect population is linked to Light Pollution. Scientists say that light pollution contributes to a ‘worrying’ decline in insects seen in recent decades. In one UK study artificial street lights were found to disrupt the behaviour of nocturnal moths reducing caterpillar numbers by HALF. Modern LED Street lights appeared to have the biggest impact. We have highlighted the ineffectual enforcement of Nuisance Lighting and inappropriate ‘Bright Lighting’ in our Borough, which impact on habitat and sadly these still exist. Maybe reading the below excellent linked document will encourageCouncillors/Planners to take action as Nature is a ‘Hot’ topic and vote catcher. “Many planning authorities lack effective lighting policies so there is a real opportunity to improve darkness across the UK. Because of this, the UK Dark Skies Partnership has been working together to advocate the inclusion of dark skies in appropriate policies and to produce guidance materials to help fix the gaps in understanding and implementation – and the document“Towards a Dark Sky Standard” is one such document that is now being promoted by partners for use throughout the UK.”                                                                                                                                                         Quote from Dan Oakley, Lead Ranger and Dark Skies Lead at South Downs National Park.

 

28th August 2021  Sitting on the Fence or hung out to dry?

Insect populations declining with light pollution and all the rest of the mess that humans continue to inflict on nature.  Who is acting and who is listening with the power to ACT?

 

15th August 2021

Happy International Relaxation Day!  Enjoy a spa day at home in the garden watching the wildlife or a walk in a local nature place or even some music to soothe the restless soul.  Whatever you are doing today we hope it will give you Joy!

 

7th August 2021

“ARUNDEL Swimming Pool --- is good fun for everyone – c. Robert Hull

They’re going to close it and turn it into an IMPORTANT perhaps SIGNIFICANT possibly EXCLUSIVE AND PRESTIGIOUS or even SIGNIFICANTLY AND PRESTIGIOUSLY EXCLUSIVE ………. DEVELOPMENT. 

And instead of an old swimming pool which is only good fun for everyone they’ll have something to make a lot of money for SOMEONE.”

The impact on all habitats by inappropriate development is increasingly being acknowledged but it seems that action to prevent its destruction is not so forthcoming. Pesticides continue to harm our wildlife and yet they adorn the garden centre shelves and farmers ‘need’ to use them for our food production. Our leaders say all the right things and do nothing but posture whilst the ‘photo op’ shows them clapping and doing a butterfly count. The sad news for the human race is that Nature does not wait for us or need us to survive. We need her.

 Petition to Ban urban and garden pesticides to protect bees, other wildlife and human health

 Ban the use of pesticides in urban areas & end their sale for use in gardens. There is simply no need to spray poisons in our streets, parks & gardens for cosmetic purposes, where they harm bees & other wildlife & pose a risk to human health. Safe alternatives are available, where necessary.

 Ban Pesticide Petition Sign up Here

 

 

 

24th July 2021

Good Morning Rain.............................relief for all life.

 

 

 

13th July 2021

Chantress relaxed on the front path without a care in the world.

I read again The Art of Happiness , HH Dalai Lama & Howard C. Cutter, as Iain looked in agony watching the footie. It seemed that the fear of losing was the more predominant emotion and even overshadowed the joy of a goal and winning for fans! This is a fascinating book for those looking for a summer read which actually offers some thought provoking ideas on what makes us happy and what is only a transient feeling. It offers a way of connecting with others which is empathic, compassionate and understanding of the others' history which informs the way they appear to us and which we can be sympathetic of when making judgements. Concerning the current conversations on loneliness, this book could be a valuable resource to re-connect with others after long periods of isolation for individuals and for those offering support on this issue. Howard is a Psychiatrist so puts in context the Buddhist philosophy with scientific research and his own experience with clients but it is an accessible read for all backgrounds and I hope some find it helpful; I did!

In answer to the question as to what defines a psychologically healthy person the Dalai Lama responded:

"Well I would regard a compasssionate, warm, kindhearted person as healthy. If you maintain a feeling of compassion, loving kindness, then something automatically opens your inner door. Through that , you communicate much more easily withother people. And that feeling of warmth creates a kind of openess. You'll find that all human beings are just like you, so you'll be able to relate to them more easily. That gives you a spirit of friendship. Then there's less need to hide things, and as a result, feelings of fear, self doubt, and insecurity are automatically dispelled. Also, it creates a feeling of trust from other people."

 

3rd July 2021

“On warm summer nights
the porch becomes our living room
where Mama takes her reading
and Dad and I play games
in the patch of brightness
the lamp scatters on the floor.
From the darkness, others come -
small round bodies clinging to the screens
which separate us from the yard beyond.

Drawn to our light,
the June bugs watch our games
and listen to our talk till bedtime
when mama darkens the porch
and breaks the spell

that holds them close to us.”

Enchantment Lily after the Rain: Love the Rain and all the Wildlife and Flora it sustains.       The above poem ‘Enchantment’ by Joanne Ryder evokes images of family and comfort which is a gift for some and an ache for others. Nature heals and balances and draws together like- minded loving souls who form true friendship bonds. Appreciation for Greenspaces is growing as we find ourselves confined by the current situation in our world. Places where we can breathe, relax and connect with all living things.   Nostalgic and wonderful as the above scene may present it is a far cry from ‘normal’ family life today with the advent of social media and crowded living conditions.  There is also the on-going problem with light pollution which housing brings:  Fire pits, Fairy Lights on fences, up-lighting on Trees for Garden Design extra room and outside spaces criteria and Security Lighting. Partying into the night as more people entertain at home or on their Streets/Greens which all adds to the disruption of dark spaces for insects and nocturnal pollinators.  New street lighting which is so bright and is a hazard when positioned next to sensitive areas such as River Corridors but which our Council seems oblivious to rectifying as it is so ‘cost effective’.  Enforcement is equally inefficient because of the pressures on our officers with cuts and therefore it is more important than ever to make sure that new builds/buildings of any sort are not given permission on, or impacting on, Sites of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation. Who is listening when the Appeal Officer can overturn local objections and governmental pressure is on to build, build, build?  It can be disheartening when we are encouraged to record sightings and get involved in citizen science by so many different groups when these have no effect on decisions we cannot control.                                                         

 However, we can make a difference with little changes to our own behaviour to show consideration for wildlife and neighbours and we have seen more water bowls out in neighbouring gardens and people turning out lights or putting up blinds along the River Crane Sanctuary route when we have had conversations about light pollution and habitat loss.                                 

 Spread the message and take action ourselves seems to be a positive way forward so please join us and take a look at: 

 Fight for The Stars    on the Dark Skies Website which gives great information on Light Pollution and  how to tackle it.

25th June 2021

Make time to Stand and Stare   -  Reflect on what is truly important in this life.

 

15th June 2021

In the Red Pallette we have a Red Rose for Romance, A high flying Red Kite for Rebellion and a Red Admiral for Passion!
This series is in honour of Grass Root Activist, Liz Chicaje Churay, who was just awarded a prestigious environmental prize for her work to save land sacred to her indigenous people. It was instrumental in setting up the Yaguas National Park in Peru which protects 2 million acres of Amazon Rainforest rich in wildlife and key to conservation efforts. We know how hard it is to get real action and how much abuse and misinformation is aimed at those who have the courage to stand up and voice concerns even in small local battles so it is incredible we have these amazing people who are willing to do so for the Planet and all life.

 

 

June painted Lady arrives in the garden sanctuary!

5th June 2021

Love in a Mist flower welcomes our precious pollinators and ‘No Mow May’ resulted in lots of seeds, buttercups, dandelions and hiding places for all wildlife visitors. Carefully cutting the long grass now but leaving wild areas.  Holly blue butterfly visited the Pyracantha below.

National Hedgerow week ends today and we trust more awareness has been raised for those planning to build in sensitive areas or ‘manage’ their property. Predation was a hot topic on Springwatch and challenging to see this happening on our patch too. The Magpies got all our baby Robins last year but luckily this year we had a survivor and the ‘Orca’ of the bird world, our resident dominant Magpie, poses in the hedge without a care in the world!   

                                                                                                                                                          

Unfortunately, the Coot Chicks did not survive in this nest as a rather large Carp was too quick for the parents; but what is that in the beak? Frog!

 

29th May 2021

Just a quick thank you to all who responded and donated to MSF from our Appeal e mail.  They go where others fear to tread a bit like Frankie Boyle!

25th May 2021

No Mow May attracting the birds on thistles, dandelions and long grass cover!

 

 

20th May 2021

World Bee Day - plant some wildlife friendly plants today and see who visits your garden or window box.

 

 

8th May 2021

Happy May to all who love wildlife.  Enjoy a walk in the greenspaces alone or with a pal.

28th April 2021

Orange Tip visits the wild Bluebells.

What is a weed?  Constant tidy up and removal of leaves, brambles, wildflowers also removes habitat .  Be aware of what you remove which has value to others.

8th April 2021

Sad day for West Ward as the Appeal Officer approves the Churchview Garages site next to Trafalgar Infant School.  We tried our best to stop this totally inappropriate and damaging build next to a Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation and did get it refused three times but someone in Bristol in their Appeal Ivory Tower knows better than locals,ecologists and our own Council Planners.  Or maybe they have a government pushing them to build whatever the cost unless it is in the PM's own constituency where surprisingly an approved development with social housing has been referred to one of his pals to 'reassess' it.

At least the MOL has a TPO now and more oversight and looks like the habitat has improved beyond all recognition from previous usage. 

Birds are nesting now careful inspection of hedgerows and trees need to be made before any clearing so we will be monitoring the building works and reporting any wildlife crimes as we trust the Churchview residents and The School will.

 

 

28th March 2021

Spring has sprung along the Sanctuary walk and in our beautiful parks so here are a few photos for all visitors to our site.

 Yellow trumpets herald in spring above and a bower of scented white blossoms beckon us under the arch whilst the bees buzz and play!

 

21st March 2021

Spring Equinox is past and longer days and sunshine have produced beautiful flowers and the bees, birds and butterflies are all around!

 

 

 

8th March 2021

We are so excited to announce that David Lindo, The Urban Birder, is now our ‘Bird’ Patron and offers his expertise to help us with questions and advice as we go forward with our Sanctuary group of neighbours, friends and nature lovers visiting the River Crane Corridor here in Twickenham. We met him first at the GIGL Recorders’ event at the Natural History Museum and then again at the Local RSPB York House talk. We love his inclusive attitude, humour and passion and look forward to inviting him to one of our walks/events or taking our group to join him at one of his own.

 

 

   

The Hidden Messages in Waterprophetic words? “Perhaps we are finally beginning to see that the direction we are moving in leads nowhere. We have sacrificed too much in order to secure the riches of life. Forests have been destroyed and clean water lost, and we have cut up and sold the earth itself. What the world needs now is gratitude. We must begin by learning what it means to have enough. We need to feel gratitude for having been born on a planet so rich in nature, and gratitude for the water that makes our life possible. Do we really know how wonderful it is to be able to breathe a big breath of clean air?” c. 2004 Dr Emoto

Photo: Table Mandala in February Ice Beautiful photos of Ice Crystals in Dr Emoto's Book: ideas, imagination and thought-provoking spiritual/consciousness theories for those who want to dream a little and not accept mass ideology and ‘scientific’ proofs which bear further scrutiny.

 

Speckled Wood appears and these butterflies feed on the sugary substance made by aphids and not nectar. Another good reason to be pesticide free! Visit Friends of the Earth information on:         Bees and Neonicotinoids and link to sign the petition for a strong pesticide action plan. Website         Instagram

 

 

1st March 2021

Just got some very exciting news which I will be writing up for The Tribune Article on Saturday 6th March and posting here so watch this space!

We hope everyone is safe and well and that as the weather gets warmer we can all enjoy a nature walk and exchange a smile or two with others. On our walk yesterday it was good to see the work done by volunteers and the Council along the River Crane Corridor by Mill Road to clear invasive species and let more light in whilst also respecting wild areas for habitat.  It is all a balance and awareness is growing and action too?

We saw some chattering sparrows, trees coming into leaf, wildflowers, river in sunshine and shade and blue sky!  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...

   

12th February 2021

Chinese New Year today ----Year of the Ox!   Don't have an Ox but here are a Mandarin duck pair getting ready for Valentine's day too.

 

4th February 2021

We went for a walk along the River Crane Sanctuary route on Tuesday and saw the Egyptian Geese - Toot and Carmen - with lots of mandarin and mallard ducks seeking food and shelter.  It was lovely to get out after all the rain and felt warm in places.  Buds are appearing and nesting material being gathered as Spring approaches.   Get out and exercise in nature............best pill for every ill.

 

31st January 2021

Rain stopped for the Big Garden Birdwatch and what did you record?  

Dunnock - Breakfast in Bed!

 

24th January 2021

Winter wonderland this morning and all the water bowls iced up! Cold hands clearing the ice and putting some food out for our precious wildlife.  Luckily it is not the RSPB's big Garden birdwatch today.

 

 

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

Churchview Garages Developers: Blue Coast Capital - Previously called Uk and European Developments, have launched an Appeal.

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!

 See the Planning Site here for further details

river crane sanctuary patron tpo support submission

Read our Objection on the Planning Site here

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

Poem: Rain Sizes by J. Ciardi                                                                                                                                                        

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.  

Bog Garden/Wildlife Garden Tips and 5 Easy steps to a Rain Garden

“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.

 

August 2019

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.

  19/0186/EN/UBW

 

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.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/supporters_representation_for_tp?nocache=incoming-1599656#incoming-1599656

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/metropolitan_open_space_and_site?nocache=incoming-1599869#incoming-1599869

 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.

June 2019

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

  19/1647/FUL

 

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)

BRAMBLE BEAUTY

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.

Butterfly count register here                

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.'

The Life and ideas of David Bohm 

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?”

CLEAN the SEAS     PLANT more TREES     SAVE the BEES

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.” 

            Honey Bee                                                                                                                                  Bumblebee

 

 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

Springtime: 

“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

 Peacock butterfly on Dandelion

Speckled Wood Butterfly on Bramble

speckled wood

 

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:

Click: Save our Green Spaces/Go Parks

 

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: rivercranesanctuary@btinternet.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

Butterfly Rests 

 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 - fantail

Keep Cool

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”

Emily Dickinson

 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 oak leaves  the kiss

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?

 good friday swarm      butterfly bluebell

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!

 

    

Blackbird long term resident risks Penalty fine!                                                              Robin gets some free insulation for nest.
 
 

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

 

every day held in it
the possibility of rebirth
from the darkness
of the night
 
But a ceaseless
Light in that night
was Cheating the birds
Of sleep
 
demanding they sacrifice
their precious voice
to a constant daylight
robbing them of Nature’s plan

 

 

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

    

 

 

Starlings congregate!

 

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.

I found this quote by Chris Packham struck a note with what we have been raising awareness of here in relation to habitat destruction which we are told is 'maintenance' or acceptable development.
"To our shame, we are careless with our language.  We say that we've lost 97% of our flower rich meadows since the 1930' or that we've lost 86% of Corn Bunting population.  We speak of a loss of 97% of our Hedgehogs.  Loss, Lost....as if this habitat and these species have mysteriously disappeared into the ether, as if they've accidently vanished.  But they haven't - they've been destroyed."
 
Thank goodness we live in a Borough that still has parks, rivers and green spaces and 
residents  who are willing to stand up and be counted to protect these important habitats.
 Wildflower Meadow Crane Park 2011

 

       

 

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.

Say hello if you see our River Crane Sanctuary Logo on our Tee Shirts or contact us on our website to join us there if you are going alone or want company.
Did you know that 44 million birds have disappeared from the UK Countryside since 1966? The figure today is certainly higher. Why?  Loss of hedgerows, cutting away of fruiting wild brambles/Ivy, use of pesticides; the list goes on.   The dawn chorus is now harder to hear and perhaps only a single birdsong is evident so it becomes even more urgent to save those habitats that still have a chorus. Glad to report our birds along the River Crane are in fine Voice and Videos are on our flickr album/Website.  Photos below are from the Churchview Garages hedgerow site which we are objecting to any building applications to preserve this safe space as habitat for our songbirds.
           
 

 

 

             

 

 

 

 

15th September 2018

The gardens along the River Crane Corridor add to the diminishing habitat available for our wildlife and the sanctuary they give to us cannot be underestimated. By valuing gardens and providing the very basic water dish or pesticide free plants we can encourage birds, hedgehogs, bats to visit a safe place and return to the parks for all to enjoy.  
 
Sad to report that more and more back gardens are being built on in addition to the already acknowledged problem of front gardens becoming car parks.  This results in all the related problems of surface water flooding, reduction in oxygenating trees/plants which help absorb the high levels of pollution in our towns and leading to the escalating breathing issues due to poor air quality especially for young children.
 
 What constitutes over development?  In one road alone we have counted twenty two new houses built in what were back gardens and there are two more planning applications pending in another two garden spaces!  Just so happens this is the same road that we are fighting to stop three more houses being built next to the MOL Green Space adjacent to Trafalgar Infant School and River Crane Corridor.  So we all need to become planning experts to learn what words to use to put in a valid planning objection. For example, if you say this is a 'visual amenity' that will work in some instances but not others.  Did you know that you are not entitiled to 'a view' but that you cannot 'introduce a new view!'
As Neal Oliver in his latest book/ British Isles talks is highlighting; wildlife and nature do not know where our artificial borders lie.  
Everything is connected and the birds and bats fly and have their own historic feeding/nesting grounds whether in private or public ownership and whether or not the land has protections in place.   
 
          

 

 

 

            

8th September 2018

 

       

 

1st September 2018

Are you still suffering from allergies?  I read an interesting article in the RHS magazine in spring which gave details about a Plant Allergy Scale devised by horticulturist Tom Ogren: OPALS  - which rates plants from 1 (Least likely to cause a reaction ) to 10 (Highly likely).  The Male Holly rates at 9 whilst the Female Holly is a low 1.  Silver Birch is high at 9 and a Whitebeam scores a low 3.  For flowers choose a garden pink Dianthus rating 3 rather than an Ox-Eye Daisy at rating 7 to keep the sneezes at bay.  The urban environment keeps pollen airborne with the hard landscaping whilst soft landscaping absorbs pollen which means that hayfever can actually be worse in towns (where pollen mixed with other pollutants becomes more allergenic) than in the countryside! 
Whilst we await the Appeal Inspector's decision on the Three Storey High development next to the River Crane Corridor by Trafalgar School we can still enjoy a peaceful walk and appreciate the wonderful nature so close to our town.   Not to be sneezed at.
 
 PHOTOS: Walk from The Meadway to the Shot Tower and take some time to 'Stop and Stare' and you will see beautiful trees, wildflowers,ladybirds and ducks/moorhens!
 
 
      

 

 

 

           

25th August 2018

We have had an amazing response to last week's article and more representations/objections have been lodged with the Planning Appeal inspector to stop the three storey development over Churchview Road Garages adjacent to MOL/green space on the River Crane Corridor. Please see the River Crane Sanctuary home page for links to the Appeal Site to make your own comment (before next Tuesday 28th August) and the original application documents. 
  
You can see a video of the fruiting ivy and hedgerow with birdsong/buzzing bees which supported wildlife (before it was hacked away by 'mistake' on 20/11/2017)  by clicking on our home page photos/video link and looking through the Flickr album
 Luckily for  the Developers this 'mistake' has now cleared an area for heavy trucks and machinery to access the proposed build site and also a potential access into the MOL .  This part of the hedgerow was meant to recover according to our council officers who investigated the damage to the hedgerow last November and we would like to see that happen without further spraying, poisoning or other mistakes.
 
BBC 2 Natural World series 8/14 shown on tuesday 21/8/18 was a wonderful programme about butterflies and the need to conserve relevant brown sites for their protection given that three quarters of the species are in decline.  We have a multitude of these beautiful and valuable pollinators right here on this 'scrub land' which the developers describe as an eyesore for residents and offer instead a gentrified and manicured hedge,gardens and mews luxury houses.  I know what view I prefer thank you!
 
Photos; 1. Blackbird feeding/nest in the hedgerow 2017.  2. Red Admiral on the fruiting ivy 2017 
             
            

 

 

 

 

 

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.      

Take a look at issue 55 in the Twickenham Tribune Archives to refresh your memory of the 'mistake' made by The Developers in their over zealous clearing of hedgerow in the 'amenity area' near the build site.  No action taken by our council as the area would 'recover' in time. Scroll down for Photos shown here last saturday of how well it has recovered since the chop on 20/11/17.  No nesting birds, no feeding bees or hoverflies or butterflies on this area but thankfully they have stayed further down the Hedgerow and behind the garages.i .e. The proposed build site!
 
We do not support any builds on this sensitive and historic habitat which will be adversely impacted by the build itself and the introduction of human and predatory, domesticated animals, noise, light pollution and likely weedkillers and allowed chemicals which are in common usage by many people to maintain their homes and gardens.  This site is circa 30 metres from the River Crane and the water table is high here.  Any contamination from human 'mistakes' would not bode well for wildlife or nature and we already have dense housing along this river corridor.
 
We cannot keep saying that nature will recover and the wildlife will go elsewhere; Enough is Enough and each little battle is worth our effort just as much as the big issues like Heathrow.
 
Photo: Red listed Songthrush feeding on Bramble and Chiff Chaff on Elder before 'mistaken' chop!
 
 
song thrush         

 

 

 

11th August 2018

Saturday 4th August a letter arrives.  Oh Joy!  Another planning issue as Churchview Garages site Appeals the Refusal to their overbearing development application on a narrow strip of land bordering The River Crane Corridor.  This is the third summer in a row that residents here in TW2 have had the stress of applications to build on highly sensitive nature areas and the deadline to submit further objections/representations is the 28th August.   Application Ref:17/2759/FUL    Appeal Ref:APP/L5810/W/18/3196558 (Links on our home page)
 
Our first article on this subject was in issue 39 of The Twickenham Tribune and you can see it in the archives there or  in our archive here on this website's home page tool bar.     We hope you will take a little of your precious time to help our precious and diminishing wild, green spaces remain a habitat for wildlife which is at a tipping point on this crowded planet.
 
To quote a Green Party spokesperson on TV who was being harrassed about the need for jobs and houses and who was putting the case for the need for nature: She said prophetically,  "There are no Jobs on a Dead Planet"
 
 
 
Trafalgar School will be impacted by this development during the building process which unfortunately does not come under valid planning objection criteria but is a high price for our children to pay whilst they breathe in dust and experience noise instead of  the beauty of the nature and peace and quiet they currently enjoy as they play adjacent to this application for the year plus it will take to build three, three storey high houses backing onto their playing field.
 
 
 
The Application builds on the existing garage footprint which is then extended towards the River Crane (MOL/Green Space and Hedgerow) on the First and Second floors of the building.  
 
 
We would like the space kept for wildlife by greening the garage roofs, putting in a pond and Hide for observation of nature, and stopping anymore destruction of the hedgerow along the Access Pathway under the pretence of maintenance. 
 
 
Please lobby your Councillor or make your voice heard in the media if you agree that this space is too small and too precious for any development let alone this overbearing and claustrophobic monstrosity.
 
 
 
 
 
                                                         churchview garages site
 
 
 
gateway damage            

 

 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.  

Experiment with different size containers to see what they attract and make sure they are kept clean and not too deep!The RSPB website has useful information on creating ponds of all sizes and a current article on why the Blackbirds are 'sunning' themselves!
 
Photos:  Washing up Bowl Pond attracts Hooverfly    Blackbirds 'Sunning' after a splash. Gold Finch eating Lavender Seeds  

 

washing bowl pond          blackbird sunning

 

 

goldfinch lavender

 

 

 

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

"Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines"
 
Some are loving this hot weather and some are seeking the shade.  The birds are enjoying any water feature they can find for a welcome bath and drink whilst the wild honeysuckle is smelling very sweet on the hedgerow and has many bee visitors.  We were fortunate to find a peacock butterly sunbathing on some pebbles and had photographed a larvae/caterpillar earlier in the month so good to see one transformed into this winged beauty.  More photos/videos on our website and flickr album and we have started a Flickr group (River Crane Sanctuary Walk)  for your photos if you wish to contribute to raise awareness of the diversity along this Sanctuary walk! 

 

 

 

                 

 

 

 

                      

 

 

30th June 2018

ChiffChaffs are not easy to spot but their distinctive song is heard along the Sanctuary walk now if you stop and listen: Hweet or Chip-chap.  Also look out for the Comma butteflies along the scrapes dug out by volunteers and join The FORCE butterfly walk in July to learn more. You may even be lucky enough to spot a Wild Columbine. Wild Columbines have a fragrance and are deep blue or purple.  Carrying a posy of Columbines was said to make someone fall in love with you but please do not be tempted to pick any wild flowers; just enjoy them where they grow and leave them for all to enjoy!
 
nb. Remember to keep some clean water out for the birds and wildlife in this hot weather and they will repay you with their wonderful songs and beauty. More photos on the Flickr album - enjoy!
Photo:  1. Chiffchaff    2. Comma Butterfly   3. Wild Columbine.  4. Nuthatch - Looking up at noisy plane overhead!

 

 

                  

 

 

 

 

                            

 

 

 

 

 

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

"A light broke in upon my brain, it was the carol of a bird; it ceased, and then it came again. The sweetest sound ear ever heard."  Lord Byron
 
Whether we are in a prison physically or mentally, nature can give us respite from those deep moments of despair and loneliness.
Birdsong is everywhere in the Sanctuary now as fledglings take to wing and feed along this beautiful River Crane corridor and it is vital that we value rare green spaces in our built up area even if they do not, as yet, carry a protected status and if they can be shown to have a history of wildlife habitation and endangered species presence.
It is not good enough to say that wildlife will go elsewhere and other spaces are being created for them to go too.  Human history has shown that where and what we think is best for human beings,let alone wildlife, is not necessarily what they want or need to flourish. eg. Native American Indians and The Aboriginal Australians.  Time to learn from history and protect what we have and not just remedy what we destroy.
See videos on our flickr album to hear Birdsong in the Santuary and we hope you will enjoy the photos below of the offspring who have chosen over many years to nest, feed and roost here!

 

 

                                                                         

 

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

We have been spoilt this week with amazing nature programmes on TV.  The South Downs on Channel 4  highlighted the contribution of Gilbert White of Selborne who loved his garden and home and documented sightings and observations which led to species identification and the beginning of the conservation movement. 
Sir David, of course, is prolific with his beautiful presentations but his Richmond Park short film really shows his passion for where he lives and the enjoyment this area has given to him and all of us along with the need to be aware of the adverse effect we can have on nature.  " Tread Lightly" is good advice for us all.
We have been enjoying the bats in The Sanctuary along with the birds and the bees and here are some photos and videos for you to enjoy!
 Visit the our flickr photo album (link on home page)  to see Bats enjoying the dark space here recently and do look at our  Ecology page link to see  "Why Bats Matter". 

 

                      

 

 Goldfinches spa day!                                                                                                                           Song Thrush - Red Listed

 

                                   

  Half Moon in a Dark Sky space                                                                                                                     Bee wildflower feeding - Pollen Sac

 

 

 

2nd June 2018

We would like to reclaim the word NIMBY from its negative 1980's usage and make into a positive acronym : KNown In My Back Yard.
Throughout history people who love nature have recorded sightings where they live and contributed to the knowledge of  habitats and species.
The term Phenology, coined by Belgian Botanist Charles Morren 1849, relates to: "The Study of cyclic and seasonal natural phemomena, especially in relation to climate and plant and animal life."    Put simply it means noticing when you see your first butterfly, the emergence of leaves and flowers and the first migratory birds arrive in your garden.  Simple observations from individuals over many years have led to important discoveries of changes in our natural world and led to more detailed investigations to support work to protect habitats and species which have been impacted by adverse factors.
So........be a KNIMBY and know what is around you and how you can make a real difference in protecting our precious natural world; starting with where we know best -Our Own Back Yard!
 
photos:  1. Long Tail Tit - nesting here.      2. Speckled Wood butterfly arrives     3. Monet wildflowers for bees  4. Great Tit watering place
                              
                                          
                  
 
 

 

26th May 2018

An amazing week of sunshine, community street parties, bats,birds and bees and the glorious flowers brightening up the Sanctuary gardens and competing with Chelsea!
We wish all embarking on the journey of relationship the following told in photos:Love, Sweetness, Freedom and Relaxation and especially a world filled with the beauty of nature for all; living in harmony with our natural world is, afterall, an important relationship.
 
   And if you want to see a happy video of our street party which raised money for a local children's cancer charity then click here:  May 2018 street party!  
If you want to contribute to the charity visit our just giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/campbellroadandclosestreetparty2018
1.  Red Rose of Love     2. Honey Busy Bee  - sweetness and fun     3, Birds Flying High - Freedom  4. Wren - taking time to Relax!

 

                                                                                 

 

 

 

                                                      

  

 

19th May2018

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

The hot weather has seen a spurt in growth of the foliage along the Sanctuary route from Mill Road to The Shot Tower which we enjoyed walking along and having a picnic last week. Great to have a friendly chat with other River Crane enthusiasts and here are some photos of what we saw and heard. nb. Please remember to take home and recycle all litter you bring and any you see discarded to keep this area clean and safe for our wildlife and to help the volunteers who clear up so much plastic waste for us.  Many more photos on our flickr album so please take a look at page 11 now for recent photos by clicking the link on the home page.
Click here for The Link to The Dawn Chorus recorded on the River Crane Sanctuary on International Dawn Chorus Day at 4.30 am! 
Sir David loves the London Plane Trees and we loved his informative TV interview with The Queen to promote the Green Canopy of Trees around the Commonwealth initiative to safeguard habitats.   We have some beautiful canopies here too and they offer shade and food and sheer beauty for us all to share and value. Enjoy.
Photos: 1. Green Canopy   2. Horse Chestnut Flower   3. River Crane    4. Lilac Flowers

 

tree canopy                           horse chestnut flower

 

 

 

 river crane                       lilac flowers                                                                                                                                                                                      

 

 

5th May 2018

A year has passed by so quickly since we set up this website to raise more awareness of our River Crane wildlife corridor which has been a sanctuary for so many.  Our Photo Album is now on Page Eleven with Page One being a visual and audio walk along the Sanctuary route to enjoy even when we cannot get out for whatever reason.  We shared it with Keith at Brinsworth House when his legs would not take him down The Meadway anymore to walk along the river and he shared his musical hall jokes! Please take a look and help the local environmental groups conserve and protect this beautiful green space: Links are on our ecology.
It was wonderful to read the memories of John Elder last week in The Twickenham Tribune when he mentioned our Photo of an Oak in Kneller Gardens and we took another picture for him of his Queen Oak and note the branch over the River Crane from which he fell in and had to be fished out!
                                                                                                      
                                                                                             Queen Oak
The Butterflies are emerging and enjoying the Bluebells. The Cherry Blossom is in the Pink whilst the Ducks hang out on the River watching the World go By....Ahhh!
Bluebells                                       cherry blossom

 

 

 

 

                                                                                       male ducks

                                                                                                        

 

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

 

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:

"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labour; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system."
 
Everything is connected and has a value and a place. 
tulip opens in the sun                                                            
 
Consider putting a shallow bowl of water out for our birds to bathe and drink, some wildflowers and resting places in the shade and sunshine for wildlife; perhaps even leave some long grass and we get the pleasure of observing and relaxing in Nature's beauty and they have a Sanctuary in our River Crane Sanctuary!  
butterfly blue antennae                             red admiral stone

 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/

                                                                                                    The usual suspects: Blackbird and Robin
                             
 
There are still dark spaces here along the River Crane Corridor which are of real value to wildlife such as Bats/Moths but we were aware on a recent walk of the increase in light pollution from all the new extensions and bi-fold large glass doors which have sprung up as we need more space for our families.  Please consider if you can put up blinds or shutters to help limit light pollution especially if you border this important habitat or sometimes turn off the lights and enjoy looking out at the stars and maybe even catch a glimpse of the bats feeding in the darkness and swooping towards the windows!  More Bird/Flower Photos and Videos of Bats are on our flickr site.
 It is relaxing for our eyes and brains to switch off the screens and look far into the night sky. It may even give us a better sleep and energy to wake up earlier to hear the dawn chorus in real time!
The new energy efficient lamposts seem to emit a very bright white light but whether their environmental benefits outweigh the possible disadvantages to nocturnal life (such as reduction in insect mass for feeding and birdsong triggered by artificial lights) is being debated and monitored so we will wait and see.  
The Flowers and Tree Blossoms are filling the air with glorious scent: Mahonia, Buddleia, Lavenders; all of which helps the night pollinators in their work.   Plant a natural bulb or two this weekend now that the sun has got his hat on.
                                         
         
15th April 2018
Beautiful Bluebells, flowers and buds are getting braver and coming out for us to enjoy and we have to thank the volunteers again for the amazing work they have done in the Meadway Orchard which is well worth a short diversion to take a look if you are walking along the River Crane Corridor this weekend. 
We have seen our first butterfly and eagerly await the bats! The birds are busy foraging but they still have time for a bath or two and just a simple bowl of water left out to fill with rainwater ideally or tap water will encourage them in to whatever space you have outside.
                                                                 
                                                                             Grumpy Robin and Nuthatch - Bathtime!
             
                                 
"Did you know, composting at home for just one year can save global warming gases equivalent to all the CO2 your kettle produces annually or your washing machine produces in three months." 
 
Our council is working with the below company to provide compost bins, water butts and information to help with home use.  Please consider giving this a try if you have space as it will be a real contribution to helping the environment for everyone and provides us with free nutrients and fresh water for our gardens.  
                                                                              White/Yellow Primrose  Red Camellia  Blue/Green Muscari
                
                                                                               
 
                                                  No Political Affiliation here - All welcome to join us in supporting the Environment!
 
5th April 2018

 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.

                                                                              robin

 

The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry
When despair grows in me
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

woods near shot tower                              river near shot tower

 

 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!