The Bexley Lepidopterist, Issue No. 5, published

The fifth issue of ‘The Bexley Lepidopterist’, Mike Robinson’s latest compilation of information regarding butterflies and moths in Bexley, is made available for reading or download below.

This includes an updated list of the first sightings of all butterfly species seen in the Borough this year, a note on the number of species recorded in local gardens, lists of species seen on the fourth (Erith Southern Marsh) and fifth (Holly Hill Open Space) organised ‘butterfly walks’ (of which there will be more next year) , an account of the tantalising possibility that there was a Camberwell Beauty at Foots Cray Meadows, a warning about the Box Moth (for which details of any further local sightings are sought) and a report on a first moth-trapping session at Thames Road Wetland.    

Download the PDF file .

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Jersey Tiger boom continues in Barnehurst

Tony Steele has been recording moths in his Barnehurst garden, a little way south of the railway station, since 1996, during which time he says he has had 683 of the 2,500 species recorded in Britain and a total of around 109,780 individual moths. I received an unexpected phone call from him yesterday evening, to tell me he had something he was sure I’d be interested in seeing. Intrigued, and having not yet met Tony in the flesh or corresponded with him lately, I was keen to go and have a look. It turned out to be the 175 Jersey Tiger moths (Euplagia quadripunctaria) he had trapped on the night of 2nd August, temporarily retained in a mesh ‘pet cage’.  This isn’t quite a record for his garden, which to date sits at 180 on 13th August last year. 

Tony kindly supplied me with some data, summarised below, which illustrates very well the recent and rapid colonisation of our area by the species which, as far as the spread in London is concerned, appears to have started in the Lambeth or Lewisham area. We are only part way through the 2018 flight season, but Tony’s average Jersey Tiger catch per night is up on 2017, so could yet reach a new year high. The data distinguishes the number of forma lutescens, which has a yellow or orange under-wing instead of the usual red.

The relatively catholic diet of the larval stage, plus a warming climate, probably favour the advance and population increase of this colourful insect, which is often seen during the day as well, so is becoming familiar even to people with little or no other knowledge of moths. 

Tony’s garden is in many respects an ‘average’ suburban garden of reasonable size, though it has been augmented with the introduction of plant species intended to attract particular moths to breed, and this has often delivered the desired results. Indeed Tony did win a Council award for this when it was still running the ‘Environmental Challenge’ to recognise volunteer groups and residents that did good work for nature in the Borough.  

The Jersey Tiger moths were to be released after my visit, but not until it was clear that the visiting Pipistrelle Bat, which has perhaps learned that Tony’s garden is a good feeding spot, had disappeared. 

Some of the near-record haul of 175 Jersey Tiger moths trapped by Tony Steele in his Barnehurst garden on 2nd August 2018.

Another view …

And another.

View from outside the temporary cage.

 

Download the PDF file .

 

Chris Rose

 

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Bexley Lepidopterist No. 4, and updated ‘first sightings’ list for butterfly species in the Borough

Mike Robinson has published the fourth edition of the ‘Bexley Lepidopterist’, making a first serious foray into starting to cover the Borough’s moth fauna.

The Clouded Yellow is the only butterfly species seen in the Borough over the past few years yet to be seen in 2018.

Both documents are reproduced below. There have been some minor formatting issues with the latter, which has been adapted from a spreadsheet, though this shouldn’t compromise the ability of readers to follow the detail.  

Download the PDF file .

Download the PDF file .

 

 

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Cory (Erith Marshes) Incinerator 2 – statutory public consult underway

Cory has begun the legally required phase of its public consultation exercise for a second rubbish incinerator on the marshes next to Crossness Local Nature Reserve (capacity the London Assembly Environment Committee and the London Mayor’s Environment Strategy says will not be necessary if recycling targets are met), along with an anaerobic green/food waste digester, battery storage, solar array, cabling and possible CHP infrastructure.  There are 5 ‘community consultation events’ to be held from 6th to 12th July at venues in Belvedere and Slade Green. The deadline for comments is 30th July. We encourage readers to submit their views at these events and in writing. This post puts forward critiques regarding both the wider environmental issues around these proposals and on some of the local impacts in order to assist with this. Direct links are given to key Cory documents. The Assembly report on energy from waste is embedded below. 

As regards a second incinerator, we have previously criticised this as a linear process, and nothing to do with the recycling of resources, something also stressed by the Mayor and Assembly. According to figures quoted by Assembly member Caroline Russell (Green) in questions to the Mayor in December 2017, 70-80 per cent of London’s household waste is recyclable, yet more than 50 per cent of London’s waste is sent to ‘Energy from Waste’ incinerators. In addition, recycling rates among the Western Riverside Waste Authority boroughs (Hammersmith and Fulham, Lambeth,  Wandsworth and Kensington and Chelsea) have fallen since they started their contract with the Belvedere EfW incinerator in 2012. The conclusion to be drawn is that incineration is depressing London recycling rates.

We have not previously commented on the green/food waste digester element of this. Insofar as this material contains a high percentage of water, the carbon cost of lugging it around is exacerbated, and the last we heard it was currently carted to a facility in Suffolk, a more local solution may be preferable. However, there appears to be massive scope for increasing home garden composting in Bexley based on how few compost bins can be seen from train windows in even large gardens backing onto the railway lines. Cory’s documentation is not crystal clear as to whether such waste will also be brought in from outside Bexley or not.   

Locally, whilst the actual construction is to be within Cory’s existing site footprint, there does not appear to be a map showing the area to be used for construction vehicles and materials. The text description is somewhat ambiguous, talking about formerly used land to the south of the existing incinerator and west of Norman Road. This would appear not to mean the Cory/Borax fields. It should be noted that the green field between the incinerator and the C/B fields falls within the Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation boundary, whether previously ‘developed’ or not, so we need to be clear about the precise location they intend to use.

One publication states that delivery of waste will predominantly be by river, though Cory has recently been applying for increased lorry movements, whilst another document essentially says it is looking at the economics of river vz road and hasn’t decided on the mix yet.  Cause for concern there, then.

Clearly there will be another large visual intrusion, which Cory’s own assessment accepts is of significant negative impact. Their artist’s impressions conveniently avoid illustrating the combined effect of these new proposals plus the four-storey data centre build already given outline permission by Bexley Council, in surrounding Crossness LNR by walls of very tall buildings on two sides. Yet more night lighting will be introduced to the marsh and both the amount, directionality and spectra of that need to be taken into account. 

Cory has settled on the stepped roof option for the new incinerator building, for reasons of efficiency of the rooftop solar arrays and safety of access. We don’t really need to say more about this other than to note that the suggestions made by Bexley Natural Environment Forum that Cory should look to put solar on the roof of the existing incinerator, and should look at leasing local warehouse roofs for the installation of significant additional solar capacity has not been addressed. Indeed I cannot find a document setting  out what the feedback from the preliminary consultation has been, or how Cory has responded, or intends to respond to specific concerns and proposals raised.

The preferred route for Cory of the electrical cabling out to Littlebrook Power Station would see it put under the footpath from the Thames that runs down past the Protected Area to the dual carriageway, causing further disruption to the LNR. It also passes along the northern edge of Thames Road Wetland, though the paperwork implies that it will be buried under the road here ………

It is mentioned that Cory has looked at the combined air quality effects of Incinerators 1, 2 and the Thames Water Sludge facility, but it is not made plain whether or not this has been set within the context of wider London air quality data and problems.

Cory says it believes that there will be no significant negative impacts on biodiversity from the construction, operation or decommissioning of the proposed new facilities.  These are direct local effects of course. Even if this is true, we would contend that supporting a resource-wasteful economy by undermining recycling has indirect effects, and that all the while Cory occupies the current footprint, the scope to compensate for the loss of open space elsewhere on the marshes (most recently Cory’s own Data Centres, proposed ‘Innovation Centre’) by restoring other areas is blocked off at this location. A lot of the larger open spaces left in London are designated as sites of importance for wildlife and, in requiring large buildings, the pursuit of further incinerator capacity in London threatens such sites, as seen with the bitterly opposed Beddington Farmlands and Pinkham Way incinerators.

It should be noted that since this proposed development passes the threshold for a ‘Nationally Important Infrastructure Project’, it will be dealt with by the Planning Inspectorate at a public inquiry, at which the public and other interested parties can put forward evidence. It will not be determined by Bexley Council’s Planning Committee, but one would expect the Council to take sides at the inquiry. We will therefore need to lobby Councillors to try and get Bexley to take the right side.  

For further background see:

https://riversideenergypark.com/

The basic consultation leaflet is here and probably has enough detail for friends and relatives you can persuade to become concerned:

https://riversideenergypark.com/assets/images/Statutory-Consultation-Leaflet_FINAL_June-2018.pdf

A fuller non-technical environmental  summary that followers of this website would want to look at is here:

https://riversideenergypark.com/assets/images/Riverside-Energy-Park_EN010093_PEIR-Non-Technical-Summary.pdf

Terrestrial biodiversity impacts are dealt with here. As usual with this sort of document a large proportion of it, at the top, is devoted to rote regurgitation of all the legal constraints, policies and guidance they are supposed to abide by:

https://riversideenergypark.com/assets/images/Riverside-Energy-Park_PEIR_Chapter-11-Terrestrial-Biodiversity.pdf

A list of all available documents is here:

https://riversideenergypark.com/consultation/materials

The London Assembly Environment Committee report dealing with waste, recycling and incineration follows.

(Chris Rose, Vice-chair, Bexley Natural Environment Forum)

Download the PDF file .

 

 

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Mill Meadows site – BNEF remains opposed to impoverishment of SMINC habitat

Bexley Natural Environment Forum has objected to certain aspects of a re-submitted plan to turn an area in Bexley village behind (to the west of) the Old Mill, comprising an old stable block, and various dilapidated small buildings and caravans into new housing. The key area of contention is the proposed creation of an all-weather, flood-lit hockey pitch, and a new cricket pitch, on an area of semi-natural vegetation within the River Cray Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation, and the potential trampling of and disturbance to another part to be fenced off for use by the residents.

BNEF’s submission is reproduced in full below. The deadline for comments is 29th June. They should be sent to DevelopmentControl@bexley.gov.uk, quoting reference 
18/01129/FULM    

Download the PDF file .

 

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Bexley Lepidopterist Issue No.3 published

Mike Robinson has issued the latest edition of ‘The Bexley Lepidopterist’, listing the first recorded dates for  the sightings of the adults of each species of butterfly in the Borough so far this year, up to 31st May 2018.  He has summarised other points of interest since No. 2 came out, with the high numbers of Holly Blues being particularly noteworthy. Mike now wishes to start giving more attention to moths, particularly the night-flying species.

For the latest news on Bexley butterflies and moths see:

https://www.facebook.com/BexleyButterflyandMothGroup/

Download the PDF file .

 

 

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Opportunity to assist research into Birdwatching

My friend Lucia Perez Gonzalez is conducting research at University College London into how regular birdwatchers actually practice bird watching in London parks and open spaces and is looking to accompany you on one of your walks and discuss your practices.

If you are a regular birdwatcher, and Bexley Wildlife benefits from the observations of many, then you should read the leaflet below and consider working with Lucia.

Her contact details are in the leaflet.

I think this sounds a lot of fun to do.

Jonathan Rooks

 

Download the PDF file .

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Bexley Natural Environment Forum objection to Cory’s plans for a second Crossness incinerator

Bexley Natural Environment Forum has responded to Cory’s public consultation on plans for a second incinerator next to the Nature Reserve at Crossness, challenging the policy assumptions and economic model behind it, as well as making suggestions for ways of up-scaling their proposals for solar arrays and calling for a robust ‘mitigation’ offer should the scheme be approved.

The consultation ended on 29th March and was at least an opportunity to try and influence the plans before they are submitted as a formal planning application.

Download the PDF file .

 

 

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GDPR and the Bexley Wildlife Website

You will undoubtedly become aware of the new Data Protection regulations (GDPR) and received emails from organisations asking for your permission to continue to send you information.

So you didn’t think we had ignored the rules, I wanted to let you know how they apply to this site.

I only keep your email/name, no other personal information, and only use it to send you these posts.

GDPR does not apply to me in the circumstances of this list, but if it did the basis under GDPR would be ‘Legitimate Interest’.

So that you don’t feel obliged to receive the emails, there is an unsubscribe option in every email should you no longer wish to continue to receive them. You can of course also register new email addresses if you change yours.

This site is run by an individual, not an organisation of any sort, and only I have direct access to the emails. Others can post to the site, but the emails are sent by an email management system that only I have access to.

I hope that is clear.

Regards

Jonathan Rooks

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London Wildlife Trust busy at Braeburn Park with pathway improvements, habitat management, butterfly monitoring and upcoming bioblitz plans.

From Shaun Marriott, London Wildlife Trust, Reserves Manager (South). <smarriott@wildlondon.org.uk> / Mob: 07710194268

There are plenty of upcoming opportunities to get involved with LWT’s excellent Braeburn Park site, which is just over the railway line from Hall Place and a 5 minute walk west from Crayford railway station. The Trust is always looking for new people to get involved with site management. No specialist knowledge or skills are required and equipment is provided.  Volunteers are also sought to do butterfly counts along set routes at the reserve so as to monitor their numbers from year to year. Contact Shaun for more details. The site is open to the public at all times, and news of any interesting wildlife sightings will be much appreciated. 

Access points are at the west end of Lower Station Road, Galloway Drive, the west end of the Braeburn Park estate, the old Rochester Way or a footpath down from the A2 bridge just after it crosses the railway line. See the map here:

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Braeburn+Park/@51.4441628,0.1724545,17z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x47d8ae11409ac429:0xd5aa16316126e4ad!8m2!3d51.4454801!4d0.1713923

Workdays during May will continue to be on Wednesdays and Thursdays, meeting 10.30 am at the tool store which is located a short distance past the bend on the old Rochester Way (roughly where it says ‘Braeburn Park Nature Reserve’ on the map), opposite the industrial estate. Alternatively, volunteers can catch up with the London Wildlife Trust work party at the work-site by contacting Shaun on the day. You will need to register.

The Trust is currently cutting back overgrown vegetation along various paths, building a new path along the low bank which runs along the wet area of the inclined sand cutting and working on small infrastructure tasks, including some steps. This will provide good access along the bank for walkers, with the aim of protecting the seasonally wet area.

Control of non-native species such as Goat’s rue will take place in the coming weeks, retaining the open areas which have been created by the Trust at various points around Braeburn Park, including the slopes surrounding the small playground and around the former sand pit banks. National Grid contractors recently loaned a mini digger with an operator to help with footpath and drainage improvements at the top of this area.

The sand pit at Braeburn is important for burrowing Hymenoptera. (Photo courtesy LWT)

 

A steady increase in the number of casual visitors to Braeburn Park has been noted and feedback about improvements to paths, as well as habitats, is positive. More benches will be installed, along with some ‘what to see’ posters placed along paths and reptile refugia will be located at various hot-spots in early June so volunteers can begin monitoring slow worms, lizards and other species.

Butterfly recording has started and it is hoped that a full transect will be underway by early to mid-June, with monthly data forwarded to GiGL and other recording centres. Several bee orchids were in leaf recently on one of the acid grassland slopes, following Winter mowing of bramble and other scrub. The report about the recent London Wildlife Trust/Bexley RSPB collaborative bird walk here has been flagged up on the ‘Bexley Wildlife’ Facebook page. Lots of birds and people on the day, but better weather would no doubt have brought out more birds to be seen.

The London Natural History Society visit on 28th July will be part of a bioblitz event at Braeburn Park, currently at the planning stage, where there will be walks and other family-friendly activities on that day, looking at the varied habitats, birds, butterflies, wildflowers and bugs.

It is hoped that some Sunday workdays and other activities will be organised for June and details will be posted on the Trust’s Wildlondon website at http://www.wildlondon.org.uk/, as well as that of Bexley Wildlife.

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