Category: Costons Lane Nature Reserve

Costons Lane Nature Reserve Update

Where we were in 2020, where we are now, and where we are going in 2021

Male Emperor Dragonfly

It’s been awhile and circumstances have slowed everything down but things are still moving forward at Costons Lane!

The weather and Thames Water have delayed the pond building until we get the go ahead from TW and it dries out a bit, but we have been working on other aspects of the project! The contractor has lifted the gate (so it opens now!) and will be building the platform for our building and the paths in the front half. Once this work is complete and restrictions lift, we can have volunteer days again! Our first task will be create the wildlife garden. And once the platform is complete we can order our beautiful green roofed recycled shipping container and finally give Ealing wildlife Group a home of its own!

Common Carder Bumblebee and a Bramble blossom

Of course the first priority of a nature reserve is to provide a place for nature to thrive and CLNR is no different. We had a bioblitz last summer, the first of many, to see what kind of plants and animals call it home. As expected most of what we found were insects and arachnids which is very good as the UK is catastrophically losing insect life! We had a few ladybirds, several species of tiny parasitic wasps, two kinds of grasshopper, leafhoppers, dock bugs, blue flea beetles, dragonflies, many different butterflies, bumblebees, honey bees, several spiders we don’t know what they are yet and a few wasp spiders which are always exciting! You can see the full gallery of critters below, the ones we know are named, if you think you can identify any of the others or think we may have got it wrong leave a comment below!

Wood Pigeon in a nest

As for birds we saw and heard robins, starlings, house sparrows, wood pigeons, and a red kite and sparrowhawk over head! On different occasions we have also heard wrens, green finches, and black caps as well! No amphibians or reptiles yet, but creating the pond should help the amphibians and of course we plan on building habitat for slow worms and if we are lucky maybe even grass snakes! The mammals we found were grey squirrels (of course,) a curious fox, and a few pipistrelle and soprano pipistrelle bats. We were expecting more bats but again the pond will create food and should attract more, most we saw seemed to be on their way to the river where food is plentiful.

Ranger Jon and some of our volunteers

Throughout the summer and early autumn we had several volunteer days, while it was still allowed and safe to do so. The first one was the biggest, with 30 volunteers and the help of the Ealing Park Rangers we moved enormous amount of rubbish out to the entrance to be picked up later! The area was originally an allotment site (abandoned 20 years ago because of the constant flooding) so much of the rubbish was bits and pieces of old allotment detritus. Unfortunately, it was also used as a fly tip so we found toilets, shopping trolleys, old footballs, shoes, batteries, you name it! Park rangers Jon and James cleared a path around the site with a giant mowing machine and later it will properly mulched. Our second two volunteer days were mostly clearing brambles from the area we plan to turn into a meadow to replace the meadow that will be lost when we build the pond. We still found and moved a tonne of rubbish we even found a bathtub! Then the lockdowns came and the weather turned and volunteering stopped for the winter.

Ranger James carving out the path

So where do we go from here? Anticipating the lockdown easing up in the spring, we will continue to have volunteer days, starting with the wildlife garden. And also exciting news, we have got two shipments of free trees from I Dig and the Woodland trust, so we will have to plan a planting scheme and get planting them out! Then working around the heavy works of pond building and path laying, we will build the bird hides and the pond dipping platform. I plan on setting up a spring bioblitz, as at Boles meadow I’d like to have a bioblitz in every season. After the large projects are complete, it will be different tasks, building and installing bird and bat boxes, different feeding stations, increasing the diversity of plants and micro habitats, and seeing how we could increase our connectivity to other green sites in the area. Later as the building is installed, we hope to build a deck around it to give us more space to teach, and have community events.

So that’s about it, progress is slower than we would like but not too bad considering the circumstances. As always, if you would like to volunteer, pop us am email at [email protected] and put volunteer in the subject heading and let us know what you would like to do. It may be a while until you hear anything back because of lockdown but hold tight and rest assured your help is very much wanted and appreciated! Hope to see you all in the spring!

EWG’s very own nature reserve!

We have a wonderful announcement!

Our funding drive for the future Costons Lane Nature reserve has been successful!! We wanted to especially thank Transform Your Space for donating £9,577, Greystar and Greenford Quay whose donation of £7,000 made up our remaining difference and ensured the project’s success.

We particularly want to call out Andrew McRae and Gemma Holmes for their extremely generous private donations of £500 each but we want to thank everyone who donated, from £1, £5, £10, £20, £50 or £100. It all helps tremendously and we couldn’t be more thankful to you all and we couldn’t have done it without every single one of you!

We set up the funding drive to allow for over funding so it’s not too late to donate if you are able (visit https://www.spacehive.com/ealing-wildlife-group-nature-reserve.) The over funding will go towards things like extra classroom equipment, bat boxes, bird boxes, native plants, classes and lectures, trail cams, a static bat detector, the possibilities are endless.

Nina Provencal, Events Manager for Greystar said: “Greenford Quay are delighted to be involved in this project, working with the local community and continually looking at ways to help bring communities together is a huge part of our agenda”.

We Need You!

We hope to get the project started in midsummer and depending on the lockdown situation we would like to get people volunteering as soon as we can. This reserve is for all of us in Ealing Wildlife Group and we would love everyone to come and be involved in its creation and evolution. Learn about conservation, urban wildlife, native plants, meet new people and most importantly have fun! Comment below if you are interested in getting involved and volunteering!

What is Costons Lane Nature Reserve?

We will take the old disused and flood prone allotment site & turn it into a nature reserve & education centre. We plan to clear rubble, reinstate the pond, provide trails around the site. We’ll encourage native plants, & manage for native wildlife.

We want to install a storage area for our equipment and teaching facilities, bird feeders & houses, bat & bug homes, hedgehog homes, habitat features for frogs, toads, newts & reptiles such as slow worms. We want to plant native & ornamental flowers to help pollinators, & install log piles for rare stag beetles. We would like to install hides so people can come and observe the wildlife, take photos and learn about the wonders of the natural world.

We would encourage citizen science by hosting Bioblitzes as a chance for the community to help us record species for organizations like Greenspace Information for Greater London, Bat Conservation Trust, London Wildlife Trust, RSPB. We could also host schools and scouts groups & have community open days. To learn more visit https://www.spacehive.com/ealing-wildlife-group-nature-reserve

Once we get up and running we will be documenting our progress on all of our social media channels so be sure to follow us to keep up to date!