Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)
The Cuckoo is an iconic summer resident that arrives in the UK in April to breed from tropical Africa.
It is considered a lucky bird with the first call of the Cuckoo indicating that spring has arrived, with the event traditionally reported in 'The Times' newspaper. The sound is familiar to most people but it is only the male Cuckoo which calls cuckoo.
It is a dove-sized bird with blue grey upper parts, head and chest with dark barred white under parts. They are a well-known brood parasite, which means the females lay their eggs (between 12 and 22) in the nests of other birds, especially meadow pipits, dunnocks and reed warblers, and then leaves the adopted parents to bring up the juveniles.
The adults move back to Africa as soon as the breeding season is over, which is typically in July or August, with young birds leaving a month or so later.
The population has recently declined which has made them a Red List species meaning they are a high conservation priority needing urgent action. It was last proved that they bred in Richmond Park in 1979 but almost every year there are one or two lingering males. We are therefore fortunate that they can still be heard in Richmond Park in spring despite the national decline, so listen out for them!
Contractors have been employed to undertake a fish survey of Upper and Lower Pen Ponds at the beginning of April using electro-fishing and seine netting techniques. The survey will provide an informed opinion as to the general state and makeup of the fish population based on the species, numbers and age of the fish caught. The survey will also provide important information so works can be planned to ensure the Ponds are healthy and the fish population is sustainable.
Belted Galloway cows
The four Belted Galloway cows are still grazing the 4-hectare paddock on Sawyer’s Hill near to Holly Lodge. The cows have been grazing, trampling and therefore weakening the more vigorous grasses and coarser vegetation to create some bare ground, which will open up the sward and allow a flower-rich grassland to develop.
Looking for a career in horticulture? Grow your skills with The Royal Parks Horticultural Apprenticeship Scheme
We are recruiting for apprentices to start in August 2018. The Royal Parks Apprenticeship Scheme is an ideal way to begin a career in the horticultural and park management industry and is a unique opportunity to work and learn in one of London’s historic Royal Parks.
The length of the scheme will typically be 3 years and consist of on the job training, day release to college and specialist masterclasses run by experts.
For more details and to apply, please visit: https://www.royalparks.org.uk/apprenticeship. The closing date for applications is 22 April 2018.
Please respect the deer and always keep at least 50 meters away from them and do not touch, feed or photograph the deer at close range.
Veteran trees and protection
If you see wooden fencing or metal barriers erected around some of the ancient and veteran trees in the park, please respect it and do not climb or go inside it. The fencing has been erected to keep people safe from falling branches or tree collapse and to protect the tree and its root system from trampling and compaction of the ground.
Park road closures
Richmond Park will be closed on Sunday 13May for the London 10 mile Run, which is the second time this event will be held in Richmond Park. For more information and/or to enter the run, please visit: http://www.london10mile.com
Please tread lightly in Richmond Park National Nature Reserve