onlineFOCUS – News and Stuff For Rochford District since 2003

 

Archive for Flora And Fauna

The Giants Of Pine Tree Avenue

giant redwoods

 

This is nothing to do with our district, but the Liberal England blog has an interesting piece on the trees in a suburban avenue in Leicester. They aren’t pines, they are flippin’ Giant Redwoods.

Pine Tree Avenue in Humberstone, a village that has become a suburb of Leicester, is not lined with pines. It is lined with sequoia gigantea – giant redwoods.
Some are currently under threat of replacement with a smaller species by the city council because of the damage they are said to be causing to houses and drives. Some residents welcome the plan and some do not. You can read about the controversy in the Leicester Mercury.
This remarkable avenue exists because Pine Tree Avenue used to be the drives to Humberstone Hall. The estate was sold as housing land by the Paget family after World War I, when they moved to Lubenham near Market Harborough….

 

Wallasea Wander

Paglesham -lookingouttoWallaseaIsland

 

From the RSPB website, a morning you might enjoy:

Wallasea Wander

Saturday 12 April

9:45am to 12pm

Price: Free, donations welcome.

Booking essential

Join our monthly walks to spot some of the amazing wildlife that makes Wallasea Island its home. Find out more about the development of this exciting new nature reserve.

Directions

Meet at: RSPB car park, Wallasea Island

 

Don’t forget that Wallasea Island ( in our district) is going  to become a pretty wonderful place:

Wallasea Island Wild Coast project is a landmark conservation and engineering scheme for the 21st century, on a scale never before attempted in the UK and the largest of its type in Europe.

The aim of this project is to combat the threats from climate change and coastal flooding by recreating the ancient wetland landscape of mudflats and saltmarsh, lagoons and pasture. It will also help to compensate for the loss of such tidal habitats elsewhere in England.

Once completed, this will provide a haven for a wonderful array of nationally and internationally important wildlife and an amazing place for the local community, and those from further afield, to come and enjoy.

Although the reserve is planned to be in development until around 2019, you’re welcome to come along and view the progress as each phase comes to life and the marshland naturally regenerates. The current sea wall access along the North (Defra) sea wall is a wonderful place to come to relax and enjoy, whether for walking, cycling, birdwatching, painting, photography or simply taking in the sea air.

Over the coming years, the scheme will create a varied wetland landscape with more than nine miles (15 km) of new and improved access routes, and eventually a range of visitor facilities.

Opening times

The sea wall footpath is open at all times.

Entrance charges

None – it’s free.

Information for dog owners

There are plans for a dog walking area on part of the island – please contact us for details.

 

Here Comes The Sun…

A photo of a fox sunbathing in a Rayleigh garden today, taken by the Mighty Oz….

FOX

You Can Help Buy And Protect Some Woodland In Thundersley…..

cottage
From the website of the Essex Wildlife Trust:

Urgent – Help us save Cottage Plantation: a fantastic woodland site. We have just 12 weeks to raise £44,000 towards the purchase of Cottage Plantation – a fantastic woodland site in Daws Heath. Cottage Plantation is in a complex of ancient woodlands and has many native species of trees. Essex Wildlife Trust aims to acquire this site and we are determined to raise the last £44,000 which, together with grants, will complete the purchase.

We need 1,760 people to donate £25 each to help us save this truly tranquil and important woodland.

The woodland is on the opposite side of the road to Essex Wildlife Trust’s Little Haven nature reserve and would form an important part of the Daws Heath & Belfairs Living Landscape. As you can see from the attached map, Cottage Plantation is surrounded by ancient woodlands and nature reserves and, through Essex Wildlife Trust acquiring the site, this area will be even more robust so that wildlife can flourish.

The woodland is truly beautiful and walking in it offers tranquillity and a chance to escape from it all. At present it is privately owned but Essex Wildlife Trust will make the area accessible for all to enjoy. Footpaths will be improved and the site will welcome visitors.

 

Find out more here.

Open Fields Have Become A Place Of Beauty

Two positive items about parks!

First of all, we received the following email today from one of our regular readers, Christine Paine:

Something up beat. As I am sure you know there is a park behind the football pitches in Rawreth Lane. I mean the park at the Bedloes end of Rawreth Lane – not Sweyne Park .
.

I don’t know who is responsible for it, maintenance etc. but it is a complete joy. Planted for wildlife, grass paths and areas always nicely cut, but not over manicured. I walk the dog there once or twice a week, it is quite her favourite place to go. Because of where it is the dog walkers all tend to be local and also respectful – there a good dog poo bins and it is rare to find any laying around in the park, people pick up, dogs are under control. I sat there last Thursday in the sun, and the dog and I watched a couple of woodpeckers flitting around in the trees, which are starting to turn a lovely colour. It is a quiet, peaceful sanctuary which is a joy to visit. Never crowded even when there are a lot of dogs being walked there, always somewhere to just sit and watch whatever birds, stoats etc. happen to be moving around.
.

Whoever is responsible for looking after it deserves high compliments and perhaps you would be good enough to pass them on if you know who it is.

We will certainly pass this on to the council staff concerned !

Secondly, we had the guided walk around Sweyne Park today – the early morning rain stopped in time. 18 people and 2 dogs has a walk around the park, with former council officer Geoff Dawson as our guide. He explained, for example, how he managed the original planting (with lots of plants that produce food for wildlife). Some of the trees are now 20 years old. The wildlife mentioned included squirrels, foxes, deer, jays, waxwings, magpies , green woodpeckers , sparrowhawks and cinnabar moths. All in all, a very enjoyable walk.

However most of the people who came were from Hawkwell and Hockley rather than Rayleigh!
Sweyne Park can be a beautiful place, and it would benefit from local people getting involved in the Friends of Sweyne Park group. Most of us lead very busy lives nowadays, but spending a few hours helping to organise an event would be be a big help. If you can help please phone Heather Meggison on 01702 318057.

Sweyne Park Oct 2013 3

Sweyne Park Oct 2013 1

Sweyne Park Oct 2013 2

“See You On The OUTSIDE”

Project Wild Thing is a film-led project – about getting people, especially children, outside, into nature.

If you want nature, wildness and free-range living for kids and adults to exist alongside an increasingly industrialised and technological society then join us and get involved in making that happen.
See you on the outside.

This little film explains it better and is worth watching. Sometimes you are tempted to laugh – or maybe wince :

Hat-tip: Liberal England

Lots of Seals !

From the Port of London Authority Website:

An astounding 708 seals have been spotted in the Thames Estuary in the first ever count by air, land and sea, carried out by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

Conservationists and volunteers jumped into boats to help tally the number of grey and harbour seals along the Thames, whilst others took to the air for a bird’s eye view of the coast, or stuck to solid ground to investigate small creeks and rivers.

Full article here, and an interactive map here.

Something NOT To Worry About In Rawreth Lane !

If you look in the ditch near Laburnum Way in Rawreth, you’ll see too much vegetation in there – it needs clearing out again and we are asking for that to be done.

However you’ll see some of the plant growth is a worrying red colour. It looks alarmingly like pollution.

But apparently it is just willow roots – they produce a red colour when just submerged in water!

A Bee In Hot Weather

It’s been a while since we’ve had any nature photos here. So here’s a bee in a Rayleigh garden this week- photo by Barry Elliott of Bee Pest Control… (click on it to enlarge)

Any other nature photos are always welcome…

Enjoy The Fresh Air On Wallasea Island !

Yellow Wagtail (?) on Wallasea Island – from Paul G, RSPB website

 

If you want to get some fresh air, try going to the Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project and:

View the marshes in bloom – sea lavender, sea aster and sea purslane create a carpet of colour
See the rusty seals basking on the mudflats, gleaming red-golden in the sunshine
Soak up the sun on the sea wall and hope to see a migrant butterfly – will it be a clouded yellow or painted lady?

Invasion Of The Lizards

The Echo reports:

DOZENS of lizards at a Thundersley wildlife haven are set to be relocated to make way for 150 new homes.Developer David Wilson Homes is conducting preliminary work on the construction of new homes on land, known as the Thundersley Plotlands, between Kiln Road and Wensley Road, Thundersley

Worried residents raised concerns over the safety of local wildlife after dozens of trees on the site were cut down last week.

Now, thirty common lizards are set to be transferred to the Cherry Orchard Jubilee Country Park in Rochford to keep them from harm

Full report here

 

The Grace Of Birds And The Grace Of Yoga…

There’s quite a bit of stuff to write tomorrow, including items on Council Tax and FixMyStreet. But for tonight here’s two brand new short videos.

This is one on nature conservation featuring David Attenborough that a friend sent to Chris Black:

And one from a Rayleigh Yoga teacher promoting her classes: (Hat-tip to the Rayleigh Essex facebook page for this one)

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The Core Strategy

This is the official master document for planning policy in our district! To download it, click here click here. (2.5mb)

Planning Applications…

If you want information on a particular planning application, you can find it on the District Council website here.

If you want to know what new planning applications have been submitted this week, click here.

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If you want to report a problem, you can email Lib Dems councillors by clicking here.
There's also an independent website called FixMyStreet. It's very good for reporting minor street problems like holes in the road, grafitti or failed streetlights. You can find FixMyStreet here.

The Roads That Need Repairing


The County Council admitted in July that over 200 roads in our district need repairing! They say they will fix them by May 2013. Click here to see the list.

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