Riches at Richmond

London Wildlife Challenge day #5

Ok so it’s a bit cliche… When you think of Wildlife in London you think of deer at Richmond Park… So today I headed out to test why this is such a common place for Londoners to head. Needless to say – I get it now… it’s bloody gorgeous! #firsttimeinRichmond!!

Cheeky Chestnuts… Naughty

There’s something comforting and yet majestic about the fabulous horse chestnut tree, I find. These ancient wonders fill our parks in both the city regions and countryside – but of course, this being a London wildlife challenge, we will be talking about the city trees (naturally…)

Everyday on my commute to the University College of London (where I’m currently interning) I have to walk through two parks. Both of these parks are ‘fenced’ by rows of beautifully established horse chestnuts trees. However, today I couldn’t help but notice that autumn had come suspiciously early in the world of a horse chestnut tree. The leaves are golden and crispy and had already fallen off. Something is wrong here… So what could possibly be causing this early ‘wintering’ of trees?… Climate change?

Nope! On further inspection and just a hint of research (because help me I need a proper job… and indeed a life) I found the cause to be the famous ‘Horse chestnut leaf miner’ (Cameraria ohridella) – an exotic insect pest which specifically resides in horse chestnut trees. It was first reported in the UK in 2002, in the London Borough of Wimbledon, and has since spread north, south and west to most of England. Bollocks.

Photographic evidence….

© Eve Sanders (ToobysTravels)

Pondering on Pond Life…

Struggling with missing my home in Devon after recently moving to London – I decided to go pond dipping (because I’m secretly four years old…) “Pond dipping in London?!” I hear you say.. well yes! Now I’m not going to pretend I was expecting to find a lot, after all I’m in central London where there’s less wildlife right? WRONG! Equipped with nothing but a small net and sat cross legged in my pyjamas (what a grotesque image… I apologise..) I found a huge abundance of species, from enormous frogs to small water Arthropods! Now, I am very fortunate to have a well established pond in my garden, but fear not if thy self lacks a pond. A small washing up tub (available from… well any where to be honest…) dug into the ground, or even just placed on a patio/balcony with some stones leading up to it, so wildlife can enter will do the trick! Not bad for day two of my London Wildlife Challenge aye?… Don’t be so cheeky..

Form a Kew… Get it?

Ok so it’s a bit cheeky to kick start my London wildlife series at Kew Gardens… The wonderfully lush Gardens at Kew have been open since 1772 and are well worth a visit to see some spectacular, bee-friendly flower boarders, trees (so hippy friendly..) and wildlife like the sweetheart of a Coot in the video below. If you’re after some peace and quiet and a break from the mad City of London, then Kew could be your answer. There is a fee for entry, but you can take the tube there!!

These pictures were taken at the central lake at Kew.

© Eve Sanders

I am on a Mission **Panic All Around**

No really! I am on a mission. I have just moved to central London while I work for six-months on the river Thames (details of exactly what I’m up to on the river Thames to follow..) Now then, moving from a field in Devon to central London when you’ve lived in Devon for twenty-two years is a big jump, yes, but hear me out! Over the next six-months I challenge myself to find as much urban wildlife and nature as possible. I will be posting these findings and pictures on my blog page ‘The Daily Nature Fix’ – so stay tuned in. During my time here in London I want to fight for, and promote to governing bodies ways in which we can help protect our ever declining wildlife. I refuse to believe it’s too late. Now then… let the challenge commence!… Need a cup of tea already…