This small warbler has a long thin tail and is resident of lowland heaths in the UK. The adult male has grey-brown upperparts with reddish-brown underparts whilst the female and immature are duller.
They do not breed in the park but it is the most important site for wintering birds in the Greater London area, as at least 7 birds were seen in one day this winter. They can be spotted perching on or amongst the thick bracken, or heard singing their distinctive, scratchy warble.
These skulking and elusive birds only eat insects and other invertebrates, and nest close to the ground in dense heather or gorse, which makes them vulnerable to harsh, cold winters.
The population crashed to a few pairs in the 1960s but is gradually recovering, despite the past few winters, and increasing both in numbers and range again. It is still an Amber List species, which means it is of high conservation priority needing action so always remember to ‘tread lightly’.
Approximately 2 hectares of Rhododendron ponticum was cleared and burnt across Spankers Hill Wood last month, and further work was also carried out in Sidmouth Wood to control this non-native invasive plant.
With on-going maintenance and as part of the 5-year English Woodland Grant Scheme funded by the Forestry Commission, it is hoped that native plants and trees will now be able to establish and thrive in these areas.
Two Storm Wood
In 1987 and 1990 two great storms resulted in the loss of over 1000 trees in Richmond Park. In the early 1990’s it was decided to plant a new wood, called Two Storm Wood, to counter this devastation.
A site was chosen that already included a number of ancient oaks and features of archaeological interest. It was enclosed and hundreds of new trees of mixed species were planted amongst the existing landscape.
Works are now planned in the wood over the next few years to improve the growing conditions and enhance the habitat, which will include removal or thinning of some existing trees.
If you have a sponsored or commemorative tree in Two Storm Wood, and know where it is located, please contact the park office as soon as possible via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0300 061 2200.
Oak Processionary Moth and old nests
All year round it’s possible that old nests of the insect pest Oak Processionary Moth may be found on the trunks and branches of oak trees or fall out of the trees and be found on the ground.
These nests contain hairs that may pose a health threat to people and animals so do not touch the nests. Keep children and pets away and if you or your animal has a reaction, seek medical/veterinary attention.
Photographs of old OPM nests can be found on the “Be Aware” sign on the notice boards located around the park.
The next Blue Moon in London is on 31 January so hopefully Richmond Park will be a great place to see it.
A Blue Moon is an additional full moon that appears in a subdivision of a year and can be defined as either the third full moon in an astronomical season with four full moons or it’s the second full moon in the same calendar month.
Blue Moon’s happen every two or three years which is why the term ‘Once in a Blue Moon’ is often referred to as something of rarity or not often. However, it has nothing to do with the actual colour.
Horse & Carriage Rides
In liaison with Operation Centaur, horse and carriage rides will continue to operate in Richmond Park from Tuesday 2 January to Sunday 7 January 2018 at 12 noon and at 1.00pm. This is the last opportunity to have a unique experience to explore the park with the majestic Shire horses and see the beauty and wildlife up close.
For more information and to make a booking, please visit: https://www.royalparks.org.uk/whats-on/upcoming-events
“Please tread lightly in Richmond Park National Nature Reserve”