On behalf of The Royal Parks, Happy New Year to all our visitors!
Resurfacing of the Diana Overflow Car Park
The Diana Overflow Car Park is being resurfaced to provide a better facility. The works have already started and are expected to be complete by the end of January.
Tree surgery is taking place in various parts of Bushy Park. This work is essential for keeping the trees in safe condition. The recent storms have resulted in the loss of around 10 trees across the park.
Teddington Town Cricket Club
Work to re-build their Club House will be starting in January 2014. It will be a building site for a few months. Footpath diversions will be in place for walkers in the area of Coleshill Road Gate. There will be some lorry movements on the track behind Bartons Cottage.
Depending on the seasonal temperatures the snowdrops (Galanthus) will start to emerge in Birch Glade - they are located by the stream.
Native primroses (Primula vulgaris) are already flowering on the banks near Fishers Field. Many of these primroses have recently been planted by the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks.
With the leaves off the trees their skeletal shapes can be seen in all areas of the Gardens - it is worth looking at them to enjoy the varied shapes. The dogwoods (Cornus) in Canada Glade are still worth looking at this month as the red and gold stems stand out in the low winter sunlight.
The annual programme on Rhododendron ponticum removal is planned to start this January and will run on to March, just before the nesting season. This is part of a nationwide objective to eradicate this invasive species. The area that was cleared last year will be re-planted in the next month or so with a variety of moisture loving trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants.
Well that is another year over and a new one is beginning. Hopefully you will have recorded some interesting birds in the park last year. If you have visited the park on a regular basis recording over 100 species should be easily achieved. If there were some glaring omissions from that list, you could make it your aim to connect with that species this year. Hopefully last year's blip will not be repeated and the species will not join the ever increasing list of birds that are in decline in the United Kingdom. The species causing most concern at present is the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker down to one pair in 2013. If the weather remains reasonably mild and the lakes do not freeze over, waterfowl numbers on Heron Pond may build up. There isn't a large variety; the regulars being Mallard, Pochard, Tufted, Red Crested Pochard and Coot. Most winters a few Shoveler and Gadwall will appear.
Checking the ponds and streams first thing in the morning is best, before something unusual is flushed by park visitors. Goosanders, the largest of the sawbills, now no longer visit the park but were once annual winter visitors. However one could quite easily drop in as birds winter on some of the reservoirs gravel pits that are not many miles away. If there is a cold snap in south-east England then checking the areas where the bracken grows may reward you with a sighting of a Dartford Warbler or that other heathland species the Stonechat.