Our Bird Walk was a success (despite grey skies) with an enthusiastic group of members plus some visiting RSPB spotters invited by Stuart. Between them all 23 different species were identified. The visitors were impressed by the habitats and birds Shrewsbury Park has to offer.
Nicky Wilson of RSPB Bexley wrote a wonderfully detailed and interesting report and graciously agreed to share it, so I’ll leave you to reading it yourself on this link. Thank you so much , Nicky!
Come join this FSP walk led by Stuart Banks, resident RSPB member, for an hour or two discovering what’s going on as the nesting season starts. The birdsong is growing every day!
The full route will be somewhat up and down but leisurely. Sturdy shoes and binoculars would be helpful. Email email@example.com and we may be able to help with accessibility. Bus 291 stops at the gate.
The intrepid Peter and Keith of Parks and Open Spaces tree gang managed to clear out the bird boxes along Dothill path mid February ready for new tenants. However housing is at a premium for the moment because three of the boxes had been seriously vandalised by parakeets and/or squirrels. Hard to tell.
These were taken down and will be replaced. Eight of the boxes had been inhabited, the same as last season. But not the same boxes…hmmm
Battling the increasing chilly wind they re-positioned the 6 bat boxes that had been refurbished. You’ll spot them roughly in the same area as before. Many thanks to Clive who re-roofed the bat boxes and Peter and Keith for their expertise and ladder!
Our park is in need of a little TLC, so if you are able to lend a hand for and hour or so on Saturday (weather permitting, if it’s pouring we will re-schedule) to help cut back some of the overgrown vegetation, we would be really glad of your help.
We are meeting at the cross road at Dot Hill at 11am, please bring secatuers, gloves and any other tools that you think might be helpful.
Many hands make light work ! Thanks in advance from the Management Committee
Sunday 10 September saw the much-anticipated Foraging Walk take place at Shrewsbury Park. Around 35 local people attended the walk to learn which hedges, plants and trees to forage from, but also those to avoid. The park offers a huge array of plants which can be used as food in a raw state, cooked, or in the form of teas. Amongst others they sampled cherry plums, hops, sloes, ground elder, burdock, horseradish, yarrow and raspberries.
Kevin Godby, a local expert who works for Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency (GCDA) on their Growing Greenwich Project demonstrated how to find the seeds, berries and fruit and how to safely consume them. He shared home-made jam and produce that he had made from berries found in the park, pointing out where they grew as he went along the trail.
Kevin said: “It’s important to remember that foraging is about eating a little from a range of different fruit and not lots from one place, as the body needs variety and too much from one place can tip the balance the wrong way.”
Kris Inglis, Chair of FSP said “we have all learnt so much about what we can and can’t consume from the hedgerows. It is amazing to find so much in one space, which will change with every season. Until today we knew little of this intriguing aspect of the park.”
Michael Stuart, a keen forager from Kilburn also attended to offer his experience; his key advice is to observe an area to get to know it and see how it changes through the seasons which will lead to a deeper appreciation of the environment. He recommends winter and spring for the variety of fresh leaves available to add to salad.
An FSP member and dog walker has taken up the role of Hedgehog Guardian after discovering there is a growing population of ‘hogs’ inhabiting Shrewsbury Park. This is her initial idea that we hope to support and put in place – with your help.
Michelle says: “This hot and arid weather is a real problem for them. They can’t dig for food because the ground’s too hard, and of course, water is in scarce supply. One of the key things I was thinking about was putting ‘water stations’ (i.e.pet water bowls) in strategic locations in the park. If we can get people on board with helping to keep them regularly topped up with fresh water, then this would be fantastic. I’m happy to do this when I go out with my dogs of a morning, but if we can maybe get some ‘hedgehog champions’ on board, then that’d be great.”
Those of you who came on the May Bat Walk will know firsthand that hedgehogs are about in the night – we met one who simply froze when spotted in torchlights until we crept back to the path and let it get on with foraging for dinner.
Keep your eyes open and report any sightings. There will be a Hedgehog Stall at the Summer Festival to learn more about their habits and how to get involved in their welfare.
Formed in 2006, the Friends of Shrewsbury Park encourage the use of Shrewsbury Park and support the development of facilities for recreation, education and amenities for local people and to encourage a sense of community around the park.