Friends of the Shuttle end of year river and Danson events

This Autumn FotS continue their programme of river cleaning events along the River Shuttle.  Locations to be confirmed.  They will be meeting at 10.30am.  All tools and equipment provided as are tea/coffee and biscuits after the event.  Please contact them at friends.of.the.shuttle@gmail.com for more information or to register your interest.

Dates: Thursdays 6th October, 20th October, 3rd November, 17th November, 1st December. 

You may also like to join FotS in the Old English Garden at Danson Park.  This friendly group are working to maintain this beautiful garden and new volunteers are always welcome.  Meet at 10am by the equipment hut in the OEG.  All tools and equipment provided as are tea/coffee and biscuits after the event.Please contact them at friends.of.the.shuttle@gmail.com for more information or to register your interest.

Dates: Thursdays 6th October, 13th October, 20th October, 27th October, 3rd November,  10th November, 17th November, 24th November, 8th December.

NEW … also Saturdays 15th October, 26th November.

The shuttle team relax with some of the rubbish collected. Both the Shuttle and cray river-keepers are now separating  recyclables (clear bags) from other waste before it is taken away by the Council. We would rather be spending time on habitat enhancement work, so appeal to the public to dispose of their litter responsibly in future!

The Shuttle team relax after a river clean-up. 

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Upcoming Braeburn Park workdays with the London Wildlife Trust – more help needed!

Shaun Marriott, Reserves Officer (South), London Wildlife Trust, is looking for more help with site management as the winter looms, since there is much to do and there has been less help from the local community so far than had been hoped for. This fantastic site is just over the railway line from Hall Place using the A2 bridge over the railway, and a five minute walk up the road from Crayford railway station.

Braeburn Site Manager Shaun Marriott carries a couple of old stuffed Badgers to the Badger Group's stand. (Photo: Chris Rose)

Braeburn Site Manager Shaun Marriott, pictured here at the site’s open day earlier in the year, is looking for more help with  habitat management over the autumn and winter. (Photo: Chris Rose)

On Friday, 7th Oct there is a corporate workday, BUT anyone who’s
interested in coming to help as a volunteer is very welcome, as long as Shaun knows they’re coming and that they’ve either already registered (for insurance etc. purposes) or will do so on the day. Usually corporate days are strictly for those in the visiting group but there’s plenty to do at Braeburn and he can organise a couple of other tasks if needed, if he has extra support/supervisors.

The general rule is now that the workdays will be running on a Weds and Thurs each week. Anyone interested in getting involved should contact Shaun at <smarriott@wildlondon.org.uk>, providing a mobile phone number if you have one, and he’ll get back to you with details. If anything changes he’ll let everyone know what the plan is – he usually texts people because it enables last minute changes to get through, emails aren’t always checked and not everyone has a smart phone.

Tasks will mostly involve (on different dates):

Mowing and brushcutting the acid grassland slopes, cutting back some broom, gorse, and hawthorn and buddleia.

Clearing dense scrub around the sand banks and burning arisings

Tree management work – including cutting back areas where grassland can establish, also coppicing some hazel in the woodland areas.

Footpath maintenance, levelling out ruts, drainage, etc at various places

Exact details of tasks, when confirmed, will be given to everyone who gets in contact with Shaun.

Early work at Braeburn Park will involve improving pathways, some of which are now overgrown and badly rutted as a result of illegal motorbike use on the site. This picture was taken in April 2011. (Photo: Chris Rose)

Braeburn Park is a superb local wildlife site featuring scrub, woodland and sandy banks and so a good diversity of species. This picture was taken in April 2011. (Photo: Chris Rose)

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Lesnes Woods conservation group announces interim programme

Lesnes Abbey Conservation Volunteers, the group that does habitat management work in the woods, has issued details of events for the next month, pending the drawing up of a longer term series of sessions once work on the visitor centre is completed. Tristan Boulton, chair of the group said “Hopefully the new building will be complete in a month or so and then weekday events can be trialled for those unable to attend weekend events.”

All meetings start at 12 noon by the picnic tables near the new visitor centre. New recruits welcome. No particular skills required.

Sunday October 2nd.  Fountain Pond Rhododendron removal. Following up on the task earlier in the year to remove regrowth from this invasive species to help protect the wildlife of the area.

Sunday October 16th. Mossy Glade. Controlling bramble to help conserve the mosses. Bring your cameras as the autumn colours should be in evidence.

Sunday October 30th. Ramson Glade. Helping to protect the spring flowers from the more vigorous species.

Sunday November 13th. Birch Hill Path. Continuing with the vegetation work from previous tasks to help the bluebells to flourish.

oak-leaves-and-acorns

Sessile Oak at Lesnes

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Male and female Willow Emerald at Foots Cray Meadows

Despite the overcast and breezy conditions, both a male and a female Willow Emerald Damselfly (Chalcolestes viridis) were seen at Foots Cray Meadows on 27th September by Chris Rose and Wren Rose. These are the second and third sightings in Bexley after Ian Stewart photographed a male here on the 24th. This after finding several at Ruxley Gravel Pits a week previously, which was the first record of this new colonist for Bromley. With both sexes present, there is a chance the species can establish itself at the Meadows and might be seen here in modest numbers in 2017. Other sites in Bexley should also be watched.

Wren and Chris were on a targeted search following Ian’s sighting, and struck lucky, spotting a lone specimen on a rush leaf by one of the newish ponds, moments after arriving.  The partly out-stretched wings immediately identified it as an Emerald of some sort, and the pale brown wing spots were easily seen from the right angle. Intent on getting a photo, insufficient attention was paid to the sex, and it soon flew off out of sight. Although the photos of this individual were somewhat blurred, later magnification showed that it was female.

A male was spotted at one of another pair of ponds some distance away, by standing under an overhanging Willow and looking up at the branches. Fortunately it was in an ideal position for photography, and several crisp pictures were taken by Wren. It repeatedly took off from the twig, hovered briefly and then landed back in the same place before eventually moving on.

Male Willow Emerald on Willow overhanging a pond at Foots Cray Meadows. (Photo: Wren Rose)

Male Willow Emerald on Willow overhanging a pond at Foots Cray Meadows. (Photo: Wren Rose)

The relative shortness of the inner parts of the genitalia, which are less than half that of the outer, confirm Willow Emerald. (Photo: Wren Rose)

The relative shortness of the inner parts of the genitalia, which are less than half that of the outer, confirm Willow Emerald. (Photo: Wren Rose)

Male Willow Emerald, silhouetted from a slight angle. (Photo: Wren Rose)

Male Willow Emerald, silhouetted from a slight angle. (Photo: Wren Rose)

A distant side view of the Willow Emerald. (Photo: Wren Rose)

A more distant side view of the perching Willow Emerald. (Photo: Wren Rose)

Wren found exuviae of two other species of Odonata, but no adults of any other species were seen on account of the weather.

Posted in Bexley, Dragonflies and Damselflies, Foots Cray Meadows, Recording | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lower Plants in Nature – free lecture series

Birkbeck Free Lecture Series.

Friday evenings 14th October to 18th November 2016. Lecture Theatre B34, Birkbeck, University of London, Torrington Square. 18.30 – 20.00. Just turn up – no charge.

“Lower plants” is a term routinely used by botanists to include algae, bryophytes and ferns.  Here we are extending the definition to include lichens.  Species of some and, on occasion, all of these groups have a presence in most plant communities, where routinely seed plants are otherwise dominant.  That said, their presence is not always acknowledged by botanists in the field, often because of the need for expertise to identify them. The opportunity to engage with these interesting plants could be through joining the relevant British Societies, for example the British Lichen Society.  In this lecture series we will cover something of the basic botany of these Lower Plant groups and will emphasize their place in various plant communities, both in the British Isles and on a more world-wide scale.”

It is, perhaps, not widely appreciated that even Seaweeds occur in Bexley, along the coastal marshes,  sea defences and piers and, as the Thames gets cleaner, new species are being found here.

Oct 14th How plants got onto land. Prof Jeff Duckett, Emeritus Professor of Botany, Queen Mary University of London and Natural History Museum, London, Life Sciences http://nhm.academia.edu/Departments/Life_Sciences, Research associate.

Oct 21st Bryophytes. Silvia Pressel, Natural History Museum.

Oct 28th Ferns. Fred Rumsey, Natural History Museum.

Nov 4th Lichens – life in extreme environments. Pat Wolseley, Natural History Museum.

Nov 11th Microalgae – a brief exploration of their hidden world and global significance. Prof. David John, Natural History Museum.

Nov 18th Benthic marine algae (seaweeds) of Kent: ecology, floristics and conservation. Ian Titley.

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Posted in Plants in Bexley | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Support declining wildlife on Crayford Marshes – please take 10 minutes to write a letter (before October 6th)….

Please make your voice heard for Bexley’s disappearing wildlife, using the suggestions in this post……

As many readers will know, there is a proposal from a company called Roxhill to destroy Green Belt and most of a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation at the southern end of Crayford Marshes for a large railfreight terminal. The affected area is of London level importance for invertebrates, hosts most of the breeding Skylarks (down more than 50% nationally) in Bexley as well as Corn Bunting (down 86% since the late 60s), which is on the verge of extinction as a breeding species in London as a whole. It will substantially industrialise one of the largest areas of continuous open space left in our Borough.

Google Earth image of the area to be lost to a railfreight depot if Bexley Council approves the plans. Red line - 'developed' area footprint, with screening bunds etc. out to yellow line. White line is main access roadway, including a bridge over the River Cray.

Google Earth image of the huge area to be lost to Roxhill’s railfreight depot if Bexley Council approves the plans. Red line – ‘developed’ area footprint, with screening bunds etc. out to the yellow line. White line is main access roadway, including a bridge over the River Cray.

This matter could go to the next planning committee meeting on 6th October. 856 people have signed our online petition to date, but personal letters carry more weight, and the more of these the better. So even if you’ve signed the petition please choose from some of the points below to help write a quick letter, and do add any purely personal viewpoints you may have – such as the pleasure to be obtained from the  current quiet ‘country’ walk down Moat Lane and along Crayford Creek, if you have been there. Send your letter to developmentcontrol@bexley.gov.uk with the subject line 15_02673_OUTEA  – objection. Give your name and address. It needs to arrive before October 6th. THANKS!

This is not a foregone conclusion, and Bexley was minded to turn down a previous version of this scheme. The new one is worse in some key respects. More recently the building on 10% of Crayford Rough was only approved on the casting vote of the Chair after a tie, and on the Borax fields by a vote where the number of ‘abstentions’ and ‘againsts’ equalled the number ‘voting’ for.

If you make a personal objection, the Council will write to you with information about the planning meeting and how to speak. You do not have to attend, and there are only a couple of short speaker slots anyway, in which we expect to field experts such as the London Wildlife Trust to speak for our position.

Some points you may wish to make:

– Make it clear that you object to the application and want it to be rejected.

– At the heart of the applicant’s case is that the scheme will supposedly take Heavy Goods Vehicles off the road and contribute to ‘sustainability’, and that this is important enough to outweigh any concerns about the loss of Green Belt and wildlife. However, the Department for Transport’s data shows that HGV vehicle miles went up nearly 4.7% from 2014 to 2015, after a decline during the post-2008 economic ‘downturn’. The DfT says this was ‘the fastest year-on-year growth in lorry miles since the 1980s’, so it would appear that overall the trend is going to be inexorably updwards again. Light Goods Vehicle miles went up by just over 4%. DfT figures also show that greenhouse gas emissions from road traffic are also growing again after a similar dip. The applicant has not shown that its scheme is part of a coherent, workable plan, that will deliver a sustained fall in HGV traffic or carbon emissions. At best it may temporarily slow the growth in these measures, so simply does not justify the local environmental damage.

– The scheme will increase the amount of traffic in this part of Bexley, including worker access, but has little or nothing to do with ‘more sustainably’ supplying Bexley and south-east London with goods, as the goods vehicle movements generated are expected to go in the direction of the QE2 bridge, not west or south-westwards into Bexley and neighbouring Boroughs.

– The scheme will destroy a significant amount of the Green Belt, despite prominent Conservatives such as the GLA Mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith, GLA member for Bexley and Bromley Gareth Bacon and local MP James Brokenshire all having said that such land should be protected.

– If the proposal is approved, almost 50% of the Crayford agricultural and landfill Site of Importance for Nature Conservation – shown to be of London level importance for invertebrate species –  and around a quarter of what little is left of the Crayford Marshes area as a whole, will be built over.

– The applicant claims that the best part of this Site of Importance for Nature Conservation will be left intact, that the rest is of poor value and that its landscaping work will deliver a net benefit to wildlife, although quite how is not specified in much detail. This approach also ignores the intrinsic value of larger areas of habitat and the unmeasured plant and insect food resources they will produce. There is a wildlife crisis in this country, with 56% of species having declined over the last 50 years, and 15% at risk of disappearing from our shores altogether. The way to tackle this is not to try and cram ever more wildlife into ever less space. Instead we should be improving the wildlife value of all the sites we have left.

– The scheme presents a major threat to breeding Skylark and Corn Bunting in Bexley, both red-listed due to significant declines and both the subject of taxpayer funded schemes to recover their numbers . The applicant says that there will be a negligible effect , that displaced birds can go elsewhere in the general area and that most breeding territories are outside of the proposed development footprint. The London Wildlife Trust, however, believes that one to two-thirds of the 9 pairs of locally breeding Skylarks could be lost due to direct impacts other disturbance. The fact that there were 2 Corn Bunting breeding sites in the affected area when there are reckoned to be no more than 20 breeding pairs in London as a whole is significant. The future of the Skylark in Bexley has already been compromised by the Council’s decision to approve building on the Borax fields next to Crossness Nature Reserve.

The future of the Skylark in Bexley is threatened by proposed 'developments' at both Erith Marshes by Crossness Nature Reserve and at Crayford Marshes. (Photo: Dave Pressland, with permission)

The future of the Skylark in Bexley is threatened by an approved ‘development’ at Erith Marshes,  and by this proposal at Crayford Marshes. When will Bexley Council draw the line and start standing up for our beleaguered wildlife?  (Photo: Dave Pressland, with permission)

– The mounting cumulative losses to Bexley’s wildlife and other open spaces, which are the jewels in the Borough’s crown, are unacceptable. The size of the development and the intrusive road bridge across Crayford Creek will mean that visitors to Crayford Marshes from Moat Lane and the Thames Road area will have to go even further out along the footpaths to get away from the trappings of industrialisation and enjoy the mental health benefits of quiet, wide open ‘countryside’.

– The green roofs and the transfer of land ownership of the rest of Crayford Marshes, with an endowment for wildlife management, which were on offer from the ‘developer’ in the previous version of the application, are absent from this second one. If Bexley Council never-the-less decides to approve this scheme, it must insist that a development of this size installs a substantial area of green and/or brown roofs to help mitigate wildlife losses, and must insist on a management mechanism that is open to discussion with stakeholders, publicly accountable, sets high targets for wildlife enhancements, is monitored in terms of implementation and outcomes and that is resourced sufficiently to stand a realistic chance of at least off-setting the wildlife impacts of this scheme.

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Moat Lane, Crayford Marshes, on a sunny evening back on the 23rd April 2010. The substantial English Elm 'hedge' where the White-letter Hairstreaks were found is on the left (south) side

Moat Lane, Crayford Marshes, on a sunny evening back on the 23rd April 2010. Despite the promised ‘screening’, the peace and quiet of this ‘country lane’ is likely to be adversely affected by noise from the proposed depot. (Photo: Chris Rose)

Chris Rose

Posted in Bexley Council, Crayford Marshes, development threat | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Erith Quarry – a response to ‘developer’ spin in the online News Shopper article

Reference the news Shopper’s latest Erith Quarry article:

http://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/14762148.Hundreds_of_snakes_and_lizards_ca/

It’s very disappointing to see that an old, rather selective, photo giving the impression that the quarry site is an unkempt rubbish dump has been wheeled out again to contrast with the ‘developer’s’ artist’s impressions of their allegedly ‘idyllic’ alternative, and that their dismissal of the site as ‘neglected’ and ‘overgrown’ has been taken at face value.

Erith Quarry, showing important scrub habitat that will be lost if 'development' is approved by Bexley Council.

Erith Quarry, showing important scrub habitat that will be lost thanks to Bexley Council.

In fact the quarry is a Grade 1 Site of Importance for Nature Conservation in Bexley. Andersons, however, went out of its way to try and undermine the perceived actual and potential worth of the excellent scrub habitat, which simply required some basic management, contrary to their self-serving contention that the only way to ‘save’ it, was to build on most of it. The Council’s Biodiversity Officer sat in the planning meeting and claimed that there would be ‘no loss and a net gain in biodiversity’ which defies common sense, and zero evidence was presented to back that claim.

The number of reptiles alone highlights its importance. The reality behind the spin is that those caught have been crowded into a very small part of the site, whilst the area they are then going to be released into is half that actually required on the basis of the numbers and density found. These are species in decline that are the subject of national and London level biodiversity action plans to re-build numbers. Bexley Council, however, repeatedly approves building on key reptile sites in the Borough, and despite having a policy of ‘resisting development that will have a significant impact on the population or conservation status of protected species and priority species as identified in the UK, London and Bexley Biodiversity Action Plans;’ has three times declined to answer a written request to spell out how much impact it deems to be ‘significant’, making it impossible to properly hold anyone to account. In none of these cases has the Biodiversity Officer presented Councillors with any information as to how many populations of these animals there are in the Borough, what their numbers are and how vulnerable to loss they are – or, indeed, just how few of them the Council thinks it’s going to be OK to have left.

HERE BE DRAGONS! Once again Bexley Council seems to lack the backbone to stand up for our little vertebrate relatives in the face of 'developer' threats, and seems happy to have the important  populations at Erith Quarry shoe-horned into a fraction of the currently and potentially available  habitat. (Photo: Jason Steel)

Just how few Lizards does Bexley Council think should be left in the Borough as it repeatedly votes to concrete over our key reptile sites?(Photo: Jason Steel)

The same battle is on with regard to the southern part of Crayford Marshes, with the applicant again arguing that only a small part of this Green Belt, SINC site actually has any real wildlife value. This time the future of Skylark as a breeding bird in Bexley is at stake (down more than 50% nationally), and the Corn Bunting (down 86% since the late 60s) as a breeder  in London as a whole, yet without proper discussion Bexley’s planning committee recently agreed, in effect, with a ‘developer’s’ contention that the fewer there are left of something in Bexley, the less important it is to protect it, even if it has suffered a huge national decline.

With the latest State of Nature Report (2016) having just been published, showing more clearly than ever before that nature is in serious trouble across the UK, with 56% of species having declined over the last 50 years, and 15% at risk of disappearing from our shores altogether, the one thing that is clear is that whatever the policy says, Bexley Council is in practice committed to exacerbating this dire situation by impoverishing nature in our Borough, rather than making a net contribution to restoring it.

A petition about Crayford Marshes is here:

https://www.change.org/p/planning-department-london-borough-of-bexley-save-our-crayford-marshes-don-t-build-on-breeding-habitat-for-corn-bunting-and-skylark

Chris Rose, Vice-chair, Bexley Natural Environment Forum and co-founder, Bexley Wildlife web and Facebook sites.

Posted in Bexley Council, Erith Quarry | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Two years on and Bexley Council planning pages still mislead on objections

Twenty four months after Bexley Natural Environment Forum first raised the matter, Bexley Council’s ‘view planning applications online’ webpages continue to wrongly state that the group has made no comments on proposals to damage Sites of Importance to Nature Conservation and other open spaces, despite being listed as a body that the Council has formally consulted on these matters. In one of its several complaints about this, the Forum has said ‘You will appreciate that we do not want our credibility damaged on account of the Council erroneously stating that we have not commented on an application of this nature, particularly given that we are listed as an official consultee. Indeed we have also said that we are happy for our comments to be put in the public domain on your site.’

As long ago as 20th September 2014 the Forum had written to the head of planning, Mrs. Susan Clark, complaining that there had recently been four cases where  it was wrongly stated on the planning pages that ‘No comments have been made on this case’ by the group, and she replied on the 22nd saying that she’d asked the IT team to sort it out.

Still no fix two years on

Two years and further reminders later (such as July 3rd and August 13th 2016 – the latter copied to Cllr. Linda Bailey, head of regeneration, but with no reply to either message from anyone) and the matter is still not resolved. Moreover we are way past the Council’s target date for replying to e-mail correspondence since we last raised the issue.

Other groups also affected

For the planning application relating to the Borax fields next to Crossness LNR (heard 7th July) , both BNEF and Bexley Civic Society are listed twice each as having made no comments, even though both did, and then a third time where readers are referred to the ‘Documents tab at top of page for details’. This only leads to documents submitted by the applicant. London Wildlife Trust, which the applicant admitted had recommended the fields for SINC status, was not officially consulted, despite having been hired by Bexley to review the borough’s SINCs, and although it made representations, is not listed on the planning pages as having done so.

Why do Bexley Council's planning applications webpages say that local groups have not submitted any comments when they have - two years after this was first complained about? ? Save our Skylarks campaigners at  Crossness, demonstrating against the proposal to build on the Borax fields.

Why do Bexley Council’s planning applications webpages still say that local groups have not submitted any comments when they have – two years after this was first complained about? Save our Skylarks campaigners at Crossness, demonstrating against the proposal to build on the Borax fields.

The Crayford Marshes railfreight depot application pages state (evening of September 25th) that ‘Comments may not be submitted at this time’ even though a date has yet to be set for the matter to go to planning committee, and in practice the Council will accept comments up to that date.  BNEF is yet again listed as having made no comments, even though it submitted proposed conditions well in advance in order to try and secure the best fall-back position in the event of approval, by seeking to influence them before they were effectively fixed between the Council and ‘developer’, as well as later submitting a substantive objection. It is then listed again, where users are referred to the documents tab. London Wildlife Trust is first listed as having made no comments, despite making a very detailed criticism and objection which is then – rather strangely – heavily summarised in a second mention in the list of consultees itself. Both Natural England and the Traffic and Transport Focus Group are listed twice, but in each case the documents tab is referenced. Once again, however, of the 107 documents actually available when that tab is clicked, all are from the ‘developer’.

In whose service? 

In the Crayford Marshes case, one of the ‘developer’s’ documents is a response to consultee comments. The planning process is already heavily enough bent in favour of the concrete and tarmac brigade, without ‘developers’ being able to attack opponents in documents made available to the public by the Council, whilst the objector’s own original comments are either heavily edited or not made available in this forum at all.

Indeed if you want to find out from the Council what objectors have said, you need to look at the planning committee agenda papers. However, these are only published one week in advance of the meeting, and the comments are summarised by a Council Officer which gives a very poor understanding of what are often necessarily long and detailed submissions.  It would help the public if this source of some information, at least, was pointed out on the view planning applications pages for each application.

All in all, a most unsatisfactory situation that ought to be fairly easy to fix and improve.

Ray Gray and Chris Rose. Chair and Vice-chair, Bexley Natural Environment Forum.

Posted in Bexley Council, BNEF, development threat, London Wildlife Trust, Planning | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Willow Emerald Damselfly has now been found in Bexley

The first known Willow Emerald Damselfly (Chalcolestes viridis)  for Bexley, a male, has been found and photographed at Footscray Meadows today (September 24th) by Ian Stewart, a week after he recorded the species at nearby Ruxley Gravel Pits, which was Bromley’s first ever record. This takes the number of species of Odonata in Bexley to 19 out of the 46 resident and regular migrants in the UK, and takes the Meadows back level with Crossness as joint best site with 16 apiece.

The first ever Willow Emerald damselfly recorded in Bexley (Photo: Ian Stewart)

The first ever Willow Emerald Damselfly recorded in Bexley (Photo: Ian Stewart)

Although not all the photos are pin sharp, the colour pattern, pale brown wing spot edged black, apparently pale outer genital segments and their length relative to the shorter inner pair, confirms the identification.

The outer segments of the genitalia appear pale in this side view of the Willow Emerald (Photo: Ian Stewart)

The outer segments of the genitalia appear pale in this side view of the Willow Emerald (Photo: Ian Stewart)

The inner genitalia segments are less than half the length ofthe outer, ruling out an immature Emerald Damselfly. (Photo: Ian Stewart)

The inner genitalia segments are less than half the length ofthe outer, ruling out an immature Emerald Damselfly. (Photo: Ian Stewart)

Ian commented “There were a few Common Darters and a couple of Migrant Hawkers around the middle (of 5) pond when I caught sight of an emerald damselfly (species), wings open at rest. Frustratingly the wind moved it on and I lost it but re-found it after about 10 minutes and it performed well, landing on various reeds and grasses and allowing a few pics to be taken. I wasn’t sure at first but I am now, it’s a Willow Emerald, Bexley’s first. Stoked anyway …. “.

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Posted in Bexley, Crossness, Dragonflies and Damselflies, Foots Cray Meadows, Recording | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Stripey spider psychedelia at Thames Road Wetland

We recently reported on the unusually large number of Wasp Spiders (Argiope bruennichi) at Thames Road Wetland during August 2016. Jason Steel, who first drew attention to this, has kindly provided the following photographs taken at the site.

Comparison of male and female wasp Spiders from Thames Road Wetland (Jason Steel)

Comparison of male and female Wasp Spiders from Thames Road Wetland (Jason Steel)

Female wasp Spider  in web at Thames Road Wetland, showing the distinctive band of extra silk below the animal, termed the  'stabilimentum'. (Jason Steel)

Female Wasp Spider in web at Thames Road Wetland, showing the distinctive band of extra silk below the animal, termed the ‘stabilimentum’. (Jason Steel)

We have a very incomplete list of spiders from the site, so if there are any arachnid experts lurking in or near to Bexley who could help us fill in the gaps, please contact Site Manager Chris Rose at <chrisrose@gn.apc.org>

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