Church House Lake Nearly Empty

Lake in Church House Garden, on 7th August 2022

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.

Feeding the Birds

Kari feeding the birds, Church House Gardens

Every morning, soon as the gates are opened, our committee member Kari visits Church House Gardens to feed the birds. She always gives them suitable healthy food such as grain and other seeds, rather than unhealthy bits of bread that many people unfortunately do. She has become very well known to these inhabitants, both large and small. In these difficult times it is great that people are still thinking about our non-human “park users”.

Welcoming a New Year

With the passing of the old year, and the start of another it seemed appropriate to celebrate New Years Day with a walk around all seven of our town centre parks. A hardy few turned up, despite the gloomy weather, to work off any results of the Christmas festivities and to enjoy the open spaces of our parks. On our walk we encountered only a few other park users, either walking their dogs or jogging. Otherwise we had the parks to ourselves. Some overflowing waste bins, and remains of spent fireworks on Martins Hill provided evidence of previous celebrations.

After walking through Church House Gardens we passed by the Mill Pond and the Ravensbourne feeding it, now back to its usual flow of water, a couple of visiting cormorants were sighted as well as two resident Egyptian geese who landed in nearby lake. Also spotted were a large number of golf balls isolated on the now bare mud bank. Occasionally passing members of the public have thought of these as small ‘eggs’! These have in fact floated downstream, probably from a local golf club or driving range.

Golf balls deposited on mud bank

After visiting several other parks, and finding them in ‘good order’, we finally arrived at Bromley Palace Park (aka Civic Centre Grounds) where we initially had a setback when we discovered that the gates at the Rafford Way entrance were locked.

Locked gates, Rafford Way

Undeterred by this we instead managed to gain access to the park via the main entrance, where the automatic doors opened as usual. Needless to say we had the site to ourselves. We visited the listed features including the Ice House and the Pulhamite Cascade which we are campaigning to be restored. We duly took a photo, in front of the listed former Palace building, to celebrate our visit.

We normally end our park walks with refreshments in the on site canteen. But as it was inevitably closed we decided to call it a day and make our ways home, wondering what opportunities and challenges our Friends group would encounter in 2020.

Canada goslings on Mill Pond

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………

Has Spring Arrived?

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.