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Spring Walk 2015 Report

Last Saturday, 16th May a group of about twenty people met in Dog Kennel Hill Open Space for the annual Spring walk. This was led by the superb Daniel Greenwood who works for the London Wildlife Trust and who helps to maintain Sydenham Woods.

The walk began in the open space where we talked through the many wild flowers that are currently in bloom there: comfrey, michelmas daisies, cow parsley, blue alkanet and common knapweed to name a few. We walked past a bird box and noticed a blue tit was feeding its young inside. We continued to the “wild area” which is a feeding station for many birds and we passed by a lovely patch of wild garlic which is spreading in the shade of the trees.

On entering the wood we paused to look at some jelly ear fungus which is apparently edible (though you’d be ill-advised to eat any here as it is on the route of a popular dog walk!). We heard many birds calling each other and giving off warning alarms as the magpies flew in.

Then for the second year we went through onto the Green Dale fields. By now the sun was out and it was glorious to meander through the lush green grass. As we stopped to discuss birds, a kestrel was spotted hovering above our heads. It was juxtaposed with one of the many planes that fly on their way to Heathrow. The kestrel swooped across the open field and flew right above us. It was truly magical and a first for many of us.

Kestrel over Green Dale fields courtesy of @anroache

We noticed the 4 bore-holes that have recently been dug on the Green Dale fields as part of the council’s investigations into the water course there. If a natural source of water is found, there may be a case for adding a pond there, which would be a wonderful addition to the local mosaic of habitats.

The vetch that covers the Green Dale is now in bloom with lovely purple flowers and we are now seeing this species in the meadow in Dog Kennel Hill Wood: another sign that the two areas feed and sustain each other.

All in all, another lovely walk in the sun whilst learning something. Many thanks to Daniel Greenwood () for another superb event and to all who came on it.

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