The lake is normally replenished by winter rainfall, but this did not happen this time. Indeed the Met Office have advised that the annual rainfall in London and the south east has been the lowest since at least 1935!
With the continuing lack of rain, the lake in Church House Garden is very nearly empty. Any fish in there have long since died, and the birds have moved to desperately find some water elsewhere.
We have been seeking advice how this lake, and the wider park, can longer term be made more resilient to the ongoing climate change.
Butterflies, along with much else of our natural world, is finding it extremely difficult with threats from climate change, agricultural intensification, etc. It is increasingly important therefore to provide suitable habitats in our parks, where possible. So it was with great interest that three of our members (Chris, Julie and Jeff), along with members of other Park Friends groups, yesterday attended an introductory butterfly course at High Elms Country Park yesterday. Led by Steven Lofting (idVerde/RSPB) we learnt how to tell them from moths, as well as their life-cycle, habitat requirements and the many current habitat threats they face. We then had a practical session walking through an adjacent flower-rich meadow. Here we tried out our newly acquired skills, identifying eleven species of butterflies.
We left the course each inspired to search for butterflies in each of our own parks, and where possible to make them more butterfly friendly (not to mention other insects, etc).
These six Canada goslings have been spotted with their parents on the Mill Pond earlier today. A sign that spring really is here? The coots seem to be inquisitive but keeping a discrete distance. A couple of goslings survived to move into the main park last year. We await to see how many make it this time. More on Mill Pond campaign page………
With the recent record high winter temperatures the natural world could be forgiven for believing that Spring has arrived, as shown in above image? Just twelve months after the ‘Beast from the East” snow showers, we have been more than 20 deg C higher! Hopefully not all will be lost when the cold weather returns. The crocuses, daffodils,snowdrops & snowbells beneath the steps in Church House Gardens are so beautiful. The Egyptian geese pair are almost certainly preparing to nest here this year, and two Mallard pairs already have a nests.