Half Term Fun – History Trail at Richmond Park
Just over 50 children came to the trail on Thursday 27th November and the group were treated to a session where they got the opportunity learn more about the history of Richmond Park.
Families were treated to viewing items from the Hearsum Collection and took part in a little session learning about the park with a model that was made by Monique especially for the event as shown in the picture above.
Lots of facts were learnt through a geology session based on the Thames such as why the western side of the park overlooks the Thames Valley. There was also a hand-on session at prehistoric King Henry’s Mound with handling of 100,000 years old axes, calligraphy hands-on near Poets Corner and poetry reading at Poets Corner.
To see what we got up to at Ham Fair click the above link. Discoverers were excited to attend Ham Fair last Saturday. Under a green gazebo the volunteers had arranged lots of activities for young people to explore! The most popular was badge making and not only was this super fun but the badges were environmentally friendly also!
The Platinum Jubilee Teddy Bears’ Picnic held in the Isabella Plantation on May 31st was a huge success! Almost 120 children and their families attended, accompanied by their teddies. Click the link above to read more.
Last weeks Birdwatching Event started bright and early at 7.30am as it was all about the The Dawn Chorus. Families were treated to a beautiful symphony from birds such as Blackcaps, Garden Warbler’s and Blackbirds.
During Spring the Park comes alive with not only birdsong but its also the best time to discover the lovely trees and plants that start to blossom. Below is a picture of a tree that is called a Handkerchief tree which was admired by all. You can find this in the Prince Charles Spinney which proved to be a great spot for listening out for The Dawn Chorus at the event.
We were very lucky as we had a couple of talented young photographers who attended last weeks event who have sent us some amazing pictures. Below are some lovely shots that were captured by Tristan on the day. Well done and thank you for sending these in Tristan! They are brilliant.
The picture below was also taken by Tristan and this is a 50p coin next to a cracked eggshell which is presumed to belong to a Robin! Good spot!
We also wanted to share a picture that was sent in by Oliver who also attended the Dawn Chorus last week. Although this was not taken at the event it was too good of a picture we just had to share! Thank you Oliver! What a great shot of a beautiful kingfisher!
The morning was enjoyed by all and we hope to see old and new faces at the next birdwatching event!
Who and what might live in Richmond Park?
On Thursday 14th April, The Friends of Richmond Park Discoverers and Holly Lodge Education Centre joined forces again and put on a free event for children to show them what homes the animals in Richmond Park build at this time of year. Among other items, we had an extensive array of birds’ nests at our disposal and we could compare the materials and skills required by a robin or a song thrush.
Huge models of a yellow meadow ant, its symbiotic partner the aphid (symbiotic means they both get something out of the relationship!) as well as a stag beetle impressed all of us and everyone had the chance to build a nest of their own and fill it with chocolate Easter eggs. A very timely addition to all the beautiful creations we witnessed being made!
There were many questions asked and answered and the biggest ‘Wows’ were heard when children were given the opportunity to weigh a robin or a great tit’s nest in the palm of their hand:
“Wow! You can’t even feel it!” “It weighs nothing!” they said.
Once they had made their little nest the children then went off on a search for all the different items we had talked about such as lichens, moss, feathers and holes in old oak trees. Everyone also had a Nature Bingo Sheet they had picked up on arrival tom tick off as they went along.
It was a glorious sunny morning and although many people seemed to be away, those who could make it had a lovely time!
See you all at our next event: 1st May Birdwatching Nature Walk, to be followed by a 7.30am Dawn Chorus the following Sunday!
Birdwatching with the Discoverers – you never know what you might see!!It was a lovely sunny morning when a few of the Discoverers joined Peter and myself for our new monthly Birdwatching Nature Walk. We set off from the Pen Ponds kiosk and walked towards Crown Field in search of singing skylarks.We saw the usual jackdaws, parakeets and magpies ever present near the kiosk and heard green woodpeckers and great spotted woodpeckers. Blue and great tits were flying about quickly from tree to tree. As we arrived near White Lodge, we spotted a red kite flying right above us. Down into White Lodge Plantation, we heard the distinctive song of a mistle thrush. We made our way to the edge of the wood adjoining onto Crown Field, still no sign of skylarks but a buzzard was spotted circling high above in the blue sky. But our biggest treat was yet to come: a little owl! Sitting just above us in an oak tree it was staring down at us. Moving to one side to get a better look, we realised that there was another little owl sitting right next to the first one! A rare treat.
As we walked back towards the ponds, we saw all our usual waterbirds and we could appreciate all the work that has just been done on the island in the middle of Upper Pen Pond, already recolonized by cormorants, herons and Greylag geese. The only missing birds on that morning were the skylarks which were nether seen nor heard, but that’s the way it goes sometimes, you never know what we might see!
Last Event – Discovering Beverley Brook
On the beautiful morning of Sunday 20th March, Discoverers met up at Roehampton Gate to learn all about the Beverley Brook.
Brian and Stephen showed us and explained what they do as part of the Riverfly Monitoring Team. We heard about the Downstream Defender, the aptly name ‘hero of the Brook’ which stops debris and other pollutants from entering the brook form nearby populated areas.
They also showed us what they look for when they test the quality of the brook’s water: a healthy river is a river that is capable of harbouring wildlife and therefore eight groups of invertebrates are checked every month for their presence and numbers. We saw mayfly larvae (mayflies lay their eggs in water and the pre adult stages (larvae) live in the water), freshwater shrimps and we even saw a huge fish!
Brian and Stephen then showed us the recent work that has been done on the brook as part of a Restoration Programme which aimed to make the brook a wildlife-friendly place again.
We had a go at calculating the velocity of the flow (how quickly the river travels down) with our rubber duck and a timer and to finish off, we held a duck race!
It was a beautiful morning in Richmond Park, we learnt a lot and we had lots of fun too!
Thanks to all our volunteers without whom none of this could happen and especially to the brilliant retired teacher Juliet Mills who stepped in as Leader for Monique, who had to stay at home with covid, and to Brian McDonald and Stephen Russell, intrepid volunteers and river monitors extraordinaire!
Watch a video that we made by clicking here that talks about about the River-flying process.
On Sunday 7th April we learned how a dead stream - once the home of beavers - has been brought back to life. Its restoration is an environmental success story. We were led by Toby Hull from the South East Rivers Trust.
Now complete - thanks to those who took part in this survey. Please let us know if you took part (wherever you were) and tell us how many stars you were able to see. The results we know of confirm that light pollution is very bad in Richmond Park.