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Birds of Hilly Fields

The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch is going ahead between 29-31 of January (see info here). To take part, you have to register on their website, we have set up a bespoke sheet for the park. This year people are being encouraged to do it from home because of Covid-19. We have contacted them however and they will still accept results from parks. So if you want to combine an exercise walk with a bit of birdwatching whilst following the lockdown rules, then Hilly Fields awaits you!

Normally, the Friends run a bird watching event in the park to run alongside the BGB, but we cannot do that this year. However, as luck would have it you could use our handy  ‘Birds of Hilly Fields’. This is a new 32 page booklet produced by the Friends of Hilly Fields. Based on regular surveys since 2007, it includes a list and ‘pen portraits’ of all 51 species recorded during that time, as well as selected photographs, habitat description and advice on learning more about birds and helping them to flourish. As we cannot be there in person to sell it, it can be purchased online for £3 or with a bundle including booklet, bag and postcards for £10.

booklet and bag sales

bespoke for Hilly Fields.
Hilly Fields Bird Watch Sheet

Bunting project

First free workshop this Saturday, 5th September, 11-3pm. You’ll find them near the café at the top of the hill.

Bags at Magi Gifts

You can now help support our work by purchasing one of our hand screen printed tote bags. Magi Gifts on Brockley Road has a small selection on sale for £6 each. Many thanks to Magi for taking the trouble to display and sell.

https://www.magigifts.co.uk/
Tote Bags £6 each on sale at Magi Gifts, Brockley Road

Tree saplings update

We’ve had huge support for our new tree plantings during lockdown: lots of thanks and praise and even better still, new volunteers are adopting and watering them. Deep watering is one of the keys to healthy future survival as it encourages roots to grow downwards where they are best placed to find water in future droughts.

We are working on our autumn volunteering programme now and will update when ready.

tie a scarlet ribbon..
adopt a tree sapling
early morning waterers

April update

We managed to complete most of our new planting of tree saplings and perennial hedgerow plugs. As we can no longer organise our sociable volunteering sessions we are just sticking to incorporating tending to our park during our daily exercise.

If you are local and fancy helping, you can bring water from home (we can’t really use the park taps either) in plastic milk bottles (other containers can be used!) and choose a lonely plant to water. Probably most in need are the larger new shrubs interspersed along the boundary from the top of Vicars Hill to the Bothy. Don’t be tempted to share the water…one good dousing of 5L plus is best or none at all! THANKS IF YOU CAN MANAGE THIS.

VOLUNTEERING SESSIONS WILL RESUME AS SOON AS WE ARE ABLE.

Ongoing maintenance events

As spring is upon us and we have some tasks that need completing promptly: we have been having well spaced maintenance events! Thanks to everyone who came to help this weekend. We will continue to weed the new tree planting, mulch and plant the newly layered hedge. We have more plants on order for the Vicars Hill entrance and Cliffview boundary. These include hedgerow perennials and hedging plants.

Big Bird Watch

Winter morning

Following receipt of a tree plan from the council we went on a walk around the park, to check the impact of the proposed tree planting. Four of the new trees are proposed along the path that runs along the south meadow.

Looking towards the south meadow.
Looking towards music block at Prendergast School
Within the Friends’ tree strategy we hope to create a ‘ride’ and infil the trees either side. Maybe we could start planting bulbs along the edges?

Autumn on Hilly Fields

It was such a beautiful morning on Hilly Fields today and I couldn’t resist taking a few photographs of the autumn trees.

This is an abandoned nest – possibly a squirrel’s drey – surrounded by autumnal oak leaves.

The silver birches by the tennis courts are just past their best but still worth a look if you’re passing in the next few days. Their drooping leaves and catkins are delicate and difficult to capture in photographs. A native tree, one of the best for wildlife.

Berries of the Whitebeam tree in the north field. Much loved by the Mistle Thrushes in the park, the Whitebeam is native in Southern England and Ireland. The white leaves which are scattered on the grass at the moment can look silvery in autumn and the veins are finely etched . The whiteness is what gives the tree its name, ‘beam’ being an Anglo-Saxon word for tree.

A beech tree, also in the north field, and one of only two in the park. A native tree with many benefits for wildlife. The beech nuts (collectively known as beech mast) are not produced every year and this appears to be a ‘no-show’ year.

A carpet of leaves in the shade garden next to the bowling green.

I forgot to check what species of tree these are, but I like the way their foliage complements the yellow of the bin at bottom left!

TREE PLANTING 30th November, 2019

Even trees don’t last for ever, especially those threatened by spreading diseases. Our new tree saplings will widen a stand of horse chestnuts. This species is currently under attack from at least three pests and diseases. The most serious of which is ‘bleeding canker’. That’s what it is called, not what I think of it. So we are planning for the potential long term loss of the boundary trees.