Ticks and Lyme Disease
Ticks are small creatures related to spiders and mites and feed on the blood of humans, dogs and other animals. They cannot jump or fly, so they cling onto vegetation and wait until an animal or human brushes past to attach to their skin. Whilst the risk is very low, they can transmit diseases including Lyme disease.
During spring, summer and autumn, ticks are more numerous and more active. Park visitors are advised to guard against tick bites by avoiding tall vegetation (especially if wearing shorts) and by staying on well worn paths. Insect repellent can also be used. Check yourself after walking in the Park and remove ticks immediately. If concerned, you feel unwell or a rash appears, consult your GP immediately.
For more information, please see Ticks and Lyme Disease or visit the Bushy Park Office for a leaflet.
Oak Processionary Moth
May is the time of year when the caterpillars of this invasive Moth are on the move. The hairs of the caterpillars carry a toxin which can be a threat to human health, causing skin rashes, eye irritation and respiratory problems.
In late April/early May pesticide spraying will take place on oaks in busy areas and those where they have been previously infested. This will be followed by careful surveying of the whole park in June and July to locate nests which are then removed by specialist operatives using protective clothing and equipment.
If you come across the caterpillars or their webbed nests please do not touch them and keep children and pets away. Report any sightings to the Park office on 0300 061 2250.
The Woodland Gardens
The Azaleas and the species Rhododendron will still be in flower at the end of the month.
Evergreen azaleas include: ‘Amoena’, with magenta flowers. ‘Rosebud’ – opening buds resemble tiny roses. ‘Vuyk’s Scarlet’, larger flowers of a deep silky red.
Deciduous azaleas: these flower slightly later and often have a rich spicy smell, particularly Azalea pontica, (Rhododendron luteum), which is yellow and some of the Rustica hybrids, Smaller double flowered deciduous Azs.
The Volunteers have been doing an amazing job of weeding and edging beds in the Waterhouse Garden, uncovering plants swamped with brambles and nettles and generally tidying up to help show off the full beauty of the Garden.
The lack of rain in March and April with lots of fine sunny days coupled with the wind coming from a northerly direction is not what is wanted for bringing large numbers of migrants across the English Channel.
If there is no warm air being pushed up from southern Europe and no rain to ground the birds, when they are passing over the park the birds will carry on heading towards their breeding grounds in the north. This is good for them but means it harder to find those little gems that make your heart miss a beat, birds like the Common Redstart, Pied Flycatcher and possibly Wood Warbler. These birds have already reached their breeding grounds in the United Kingdom meaning that we will have to hope that they or their young pass through in late summer.
In Bushy Park all of our summer visitors will have arrived by mid May. The best areas to look for or listen out for these summer visiting species are Bushy Park’s enclosures or the areas that run alongside the Longford River. Here you should without too much difficulty hear Blackcap, Common Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and, if the wind is from the west, the scratchy sound of one of a male Reed Warbler coming from one of the Reed fringed pools in the Brew House Meadow area. This year this cast has been joined by a very powerful songster the Cetti’s Warbler. This is a fairly recent colonist to the United Kingdom, with one wintering in Bushy Park in 2013-2014 and returning the following winter and has since set up a territory. It is a species that frequents dense undergrowth.
Our aerial feeders, the Swift, Swallow and House Martin will be seen hawking insects from above the grassy areas of the park or over the waters of the Diana Fountain. Careful scrutiny of these birds might reveal a handful of Sand Martins, there is a small colony on one of the islands in the nearby River Thames. If you should hear distress calls coming from these feeding flocks it could be that the beautiful and very graceful Hobby is on the lookout for a meal. This little falcon is easily capable of taking one of these birds but can on warm evenings be seen hawking recently hatched May Flies.
For more bird news check out www.regentsparkbirds.blogspot.com it also covers Bushy Park