Category: Community (Page 1 of 2)
On Tuesday 21st February 2023 EWG Chair Dr Sean McCormack spoke at the Warren Farm Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC) meeting called in by leader of the opposition, Liberal Democrat’s Cllr Gary Malcolm. Unfortunately, despite the first speaker Dr Mark A. Spencer speaking for nearly six minutes without interruption, Sean was told he was “well over time” by the Chair after just 3 minutes 25 seconds. Continuing, and only needing a short time to close his statement he was cut off just 7 seconds later when Labour Cllr Deirdre Costigan defending the Cabinet under scrutiny took her own microphone into her hands, and gave a shrug when the sound was cut. Suspicious? You decide, you can view here:
Incidentally Cllr Costigan was allowed to speak to defend her proposal to destroy rewilded Warren farm for sports facilities for 5 minutes 36 seconds before the Chair interjected, and the crowd objected, after which she continued for a further 90 seconds. So in the interests of not being censored, accidentally or otherwise, here is the full transcript including closing remarks that the scrutiny committee failed to offer Sean time to share after this rather unlucky and oddly timed ‘technical glitch’ with microphones:
“Warren Farm Nature Reserve doesn’t need Natural England’s sign off to be recognised as one of the most precious wildlife hotspots in Ealing. If we lose it we lose an extensive area of wide-open, grassland meadow habitat the likes of which cannot be found elsewhere.
We would, it’s true, lose Ealing’s only breeding Skylarks, that account for a significant proportion of London’s breeding population. But this is not just about Skylarks, a little brown bird that sings a nice song. I know lots of you listening tonight are wondering “what’s all the fuss about Skylarks?” Well, Skylarks are a symbol of wild open landscapes, a symbol of times when our countryside was richer for its abundance, humming with life, not depleted, grey and silent. They are an indicator species for the overall health of intact, vibrant ecosystems and for many other less visible or audible species. To have them breeding in Ealing is a jewel in Ealing’s crown. And an asset for this Council’s green credentials. Councillors, eliminate them at your own risk, it will be a PR disaster for this leadership. And despite what was said in the recent Cabinet meeting, they do not breed in any significant numbers across the road in Osterley Farm, nor will they survive on the crumbs of Warren Farm left behind if these plans go ahead. Incidentally they don’t “enjoy long vistas” either.
But let’s get off the topic of Skylarks, there are many other species that rely on this space in our increasingly urbanised landscape and that the Council’s own Biodiversity Action Plan promises to protect and enhance habitat for:
- Barn Owls
- Peregrine Falcons
- House Sparrows
- Slow Worms
- Grass Snakes
- Common Toads (not so common anymore!)
- Pollinators, Invertebrates and wildflowers galore.
All important, and all to suffer or die out if we keep chipping away at their habitat.
The proposed development is in breach of Ealing Council’s BAP but also its own Climate & Ecological Emergency Strategy. The Council’s own Local Plan red-flags the loss of biodiversity, habitat and green space in a parks-depleted area.
The addition of the Imperial College land to the proposed nature reserve would not mitigate this loss. And it is entirely misleading to suggest it would. To label this one of London’s biggest rewilding projects when it will obliterate almost half of already rewilded Warren Farm is a total nonsense. Having recently been through the process for a genuine rewilding project reintroducing beavers to the urban landscape at Paradise Fields, I can tell you Natural England are not likely to look favourably on ecological destruction dressed up as rewilding. It’s greenwashing, plain and simple.
Public and expert opinion is firmly against this proposal.
Since Ealing Council published its plans on 17th January, another 5,000 people have signed the petition asking for Local Nature Reserve status for the entire site, taking the total currently to over 19,000.
A number of high-profile experts, wildlife organisations and charities have criticised the decision and supported the Warren Farm Nature Reserve campaign.
London Wildlife Trust have said they could run the entire site as a LNR and can get funding to do it. An offer to sponsor the site for rewilding has come through Rewilding Britain, brokered by myself to Cllrs Costigan and Mason, yet it wasn’t entertained.
In a climate and biodiversity emergency where wild spaces are being fragmented, depleted and destroyed bit by bit, we cannot chip away at these precious remnants of nature and claim it’s in the best interests of our children and future generations. This space is just too precious to ruin with sports facilities that could be accommodated elsewhere. The proposals are untenable. We need to go back to the drawing board to actually achieve a “win-win” for sports and nature in Southall. This could be a flagship rewilding project that puts Ealing on the map.
Ealing Wildlife Group are willing to collaborate positively to achieve these aims, but we are not willing to stand back and watch a misleading narrative carry out ecocide on one of our richest habitats, or be told that we don’t care about children’s futures for wanting to protect that.
Thank you. “
Wildlife presenters speak out on Ealing Council plans to de-wild & destroy Warren Farm Nature Reserve
Ealing Council’s proposal for sports facilities at Warren Farm must be reconsidered. There are much better alternatives for sports provision that will not destroy wild green spaces that are vital for our wellbeing. Spaces that are also vital for our threatened wildlife like red listed Skylarks, Swifts and Linnets, Bats, Barn Owls, Slow Worms and other species clinging on in this country, one of the most nature depleted in the world. We cannot continue to chip, chip, chip away at our remaining fragments of wild spaces and pretend this is in the interest of our children and future generations. We need nature, and sports. And Ealing Council’s plans are pitting one against the other. It is not a ‘win-win’ for all and they are not listening to local experts, the local community, their own Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategy or their own Biodiversity Action Plan.
If you care about nature and want to save it for our children’s future, with provision sports facilities in more suitable locations than rewilded, biodiverse meadow habitat then please take one or all of these actions:
- Sign the petition here: https://bit.ly/3HR1Y0J
- Write to our local councillors urging them to withdraw their support for the current destructive plans, full list is below to copy and paste
- Come join us in a protest at Ealing Town Hall on Tuesday February 21st at 5.30pm.
Full list of local Councillors to email here:
Imperial College have come out with a statement today saying they have no plans for sports grounds on their land in the controversy surrounding Ealing Council’s ambitious plans for sports and ‘rewilding’ at Warren Farm. The truth is that Imperial College land entering the scheme is currently a trashed, horse grazed paddock next door to Warren Farm. The Council can only get away with calling this entire scheme ‘rewilding’ because they are going to allow this single paddocked area to rewild. It will take 10-15 years. Many species will be lost in that time. Meanwhile Warren Farm itself has been rewilding for well over a decade and is now an incredibly precious ecosystem as a result of that time for nature to recover. Destroying half of Warren Farm for soccer pitches nobody needs and cricket pitches that could be placed elsewhere is not acceptable in a climate and biodiversity crisis.
Imperial College are being used as pawns in this flagrant ‘up yours’ to the Council’s own Biodiversity Action Plan and as tokenistic mitigation. It’s like chopping up ancient woodland with 500 year old Oak trees and saying you’ll plant the same number of Oak saplings in their place. It’s simply not equivalent and makes no sense when we have alternative sites for sports available. Biodiversity value comes with scale, intactness and age. It’s also not a good look for an organisation like Imperial hoping to boost their green credentials so I would strongly advise their legal and PR team take a closer look at how this will impact their reputation.
Council leaders are quite incredibly pushing through a plan tonight which has been vocally opposed by the majority of respondents in their public consultation, over 15,000 respondents to the Warren Farm Nature Reserve petition, our 5,500 members of Ealing Wildlife Group and most worryingly they’ve shown they don’t have a clue about very basic ecological principles. Nor it seems will they listen to experts or evidence on the matter. It begs the question why they are stubbornly proceeding with a plan that virtually everyone but them objects to? Is there an ulterior motive? How is it acceptable to ignore and silence objection on this, and then brazenly state it’s democratic. It boggles the mind.
I’m all for social justice and new sports facilities for children and communities in need, but in appropriate locations that don’t destroy incredibly complex ecosystems and rare species. Ones that cannot exist elsewhere and cannot survive on the crumbs left behind when this Council barges its plans through effectively halving the space for Skylarks, Barn Owls, rare plants, Slow Worms, Bats and all the people that want to enjoy Warren Farm as it is. The fact is they won’t survive. A vital urban oasis needs protection. Chipping away bit by bit at these last refuges are why we are one of the most nature depleted countries in the world!
There is still a chance to halt these plans and start from scratch with a solution that favours sports for children as well as saving our last Skylarks and all the other species that rely on this land. I challenge Councillors voting tonight to vote no and let’s start discussions together from scratch, respectfully and collaboratively. Let’s bring children from Southall schools to Warren Farm together and teach them about the unique wildlife that lives there. And let’s ask them if they’d like cricket and football pitches to be installed there, or at one of the 7 other sites earmarked as suitable in the Council’s sports review last July. One of the seven sites that are wholly more suitable and won’t destroy the precious little urban nature we have left.
Our Council leaders say they have to find a compromise. This is the only acceptable compromise.
Dr Sean McCormack BSc (Hons), MVB, MRCVS
Founder & Chair, Ealing Wildlife Group
Following publication of plans (https://www.aroundealing.com/news/warren-farm-nature) to reinstate sports facilities at Warren Farm by Ealing Council leader Cllr Peter Mason which claims the compensation will be Local Nature Reserve (LNR) status for the remainder and a newly acquired field alongside, we wish to put out a response ASAP:
“I’m very disappointed that our leaders are pushing on with plans to destroy half of one our most biodiverse habitats in the borough, home to many rare species and the only site in Ealing where Skylarks can breed, a red listed bird of highest conservation concern. Having contributed to Ealing’s Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) which vows to protect and enhance habitat for this rare bird it’s shocking to hear that it’s apparently either Skylarks or sports facilities for children. This is disingenuous and misleading. We can have both. It’s also extremely concerning to see a real misuse of the term ‘rewilding’ when the plans involve the opposite, de-wilding. Warren Farm has already rewilded. It’s ecocide to undo that process.
Warren Farm is not the place for sports facilities. And Natural England will categorically not grant this plan for Local Nature Reserve status when it will cause local extinction of this precious Skylark population if it goes ahead. There are lots of sports grounds that children can use, and far more suitable sites to make new ones that won’t obliterate nature on such a concerning scale. There’s only one place in Ealing where we can show children Skylarks, an indicator species for a really rich and valuable ecosystem. I’m sure many children would agree to save this amazing natural asset we are lucky to have on our doorstep, and if they had a vote, would ask their Council leader Peter Mason to reconsider this ill thought out plan. It’s stubborn, ignoring the overwhelming consensus of the local community and undermining democracy at worst, and ecologically illiterate at best.
The Council needs to listen to experts on this if their Climate and Ecological Emergency policy or Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) mean anything at all. Skylarks, Barn Owls, Slow Worms, rare plants and insects, Bats and many other threatened species rely on this whole vast site to thrive, not a damaged portion of it left after new sports facilities swallow it up and leave the remainder for wildlife to share and make do with alongside a more concentrated public using the site currently for exercise, recreation and enjoying nature. The remainder will be a poor replacement and wholly unsuitable for Skylarks who need the large scale meadows currently there to avoid predators, as they are vulnerable ground nesting birds.
I’m urgently meeting with Cllr Deirdre Costigan and head of parks Chris Bunting next week to discuss implementation of the BAP and how we have got to this stage with Warren Farm as well as wider targets to protect and improve Biodiversity across the whole borough. Ealing Wildlife Group has been very collaborative with the Council over the years to achieve these aims together so we are extremely concerned for our collaborative future with this announcement. I would urge all Councillors to seek expert advice before believing some of the PR spin here being touted as a victory for Warren Farm and its wildlife when the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.
Dr Sean McCormack BSc (Hons), MVB, MRCVS
Founder & Chair, Ealing Wildlife Group”
More information here: https://www.warrenfarmnaturereserve.co.uk/blog/ggbikuhfj677hdrecokz4xubtiawxy
I first heard of Warren Farm from the many diverse posts shared on the EWG Facebook page, seeing numerous photos of red kites, kestrels and skylarks soaring high above the 61-acre space, little owls looking out from the tree hollows of oak and a rainbow of insects and spiders.
I have only visited once before and with Spring fully upon us, a second visit was well overdue.
Over the last few years, my bird identification skills have improved, but other than bees and wasps, it is rare for me to catch a glimpse of invertebrates, let alone try to identify them.
As such, my mission was to spend more time in nature to improve my knowledge, focusing in on birds and insects. Yet, with an estimated 27,000 insects across the UK, I realised that I needed to go with people who could help me identify what I saw.
Julian, a member of EWG, an amateur entomologist and amazing macro photographer, who regularly frequents this space, had kindly offered to let me accompany him on one of his solo photography walks. Unbeknownst to him, I ended up hijacking his kind offer and using it as an opportunity to have other people come along.
The walk was to start at 10 am outside the Fox Pub in Hanwell. A popular meeting point for the Ealing Wildlife Group.
A group of 9 of us, plus Max the very well-behaved dog, headed in via the Green Lane entrance, crossing the River Brent on our way. Upon our arrival, Katie, Trustee of the Brent River & Canal Society running the campaign seeking Local Nature Reserve designation to save Warren Farm from development and frequent visitor, had arranged for some members of a local nature group to attend. Quickly our group of 9 turned into closer to 20.
The precious acid and neutral grassland meadow habitat, perfect for native wildflowers and grasses, creates a rich and diverse environment for a multitude of insects and spiders. As with any species-rich ecosystem, invertebrates are key in making it perfect for the mammals and birds which feed on them.
‘So, where do we start?’ someone asked.
Julian knelt down over some foliage and said ‘Getting low is the best way to see things.
I leant over the nettles and brambles and stopped to focus in on a few leaves for no more than a few seconds. I spotted the rich red ladybird and then immediately, I saw another, then another. It was as though the first one gave me the key to sight. I looked at them with the same wonder a small child sees the world.
My eyes moved slowly over the leaves in front of me. Within the space of a few meters, crickets and grasshoppers clustered next to one another, more ladybirds including a yellow 14 spotted, caterpillar webbing, flower beetles, wasps, butterflies, bees and spiders.
Those knowledgeable among us happily helped to identify what we saw. At times, the owners of well-thumbed ID books were keen to show us what we were seeing. I found there to be something very special about a group of strangers coming together to both share their knowledge and learn from each other all whilst having fun.
I saw for myself the kestrel and red kites hunting high up in the sky. The numerous binoculars were shared around to help us get better views of the screaming parties of swifts and linnets, passing overhead like bullets.
I watched nesting pairs of skylarks rise into the sky, singing as they went, before hurtling back down, disappearing into the knee-high vegetation of the field.
The little owl was spotted in the oak, however, I missed out on a glimpse.
We spent the next 3 hours walking around this important habitat, witnessing this space which had been allowed to succumb to nature and create a much valued and needed ecosystem.
During a short break, Katie used it as yet another learning opportunity to show us feathers she had collected and test our knowledge.
I have no doubt I will be back, hopefully next time with even more people to show this vast and diverse space to. I look forward to the summer months, when the grasses will be higher, bringing even more life – given we never stop learning, I hope that next time, I will be more attuned to spotting and identifying more of what I see.
There is currently a campaign to turn this space into a designated nature reserve and I can see why – it really is a treasure so make sure it’s your next destination.
I am grateful to those who helped bring such knowledge to our day:
On Thursday May 26th at 7pm we’re delighted to be hosting our friends from Beaver Trust at Horsenden Farm (Horsenden Ln N, Horsenden, Greenford UB6 7PQ) to give an evening talk followed by a panel discussion to answer some of the questions and concerns arising from our public consultation on beaver reintroduction in Ealing. Our project partners Citizen Zoo, Friends of Horsenden Hill and Ealing Council will be there too to answer questions and join the discussion. Gathering in the courtyard from 7pm, Perivale brewery will be open to provide refreshments. Talk starts at 7.30pm.
Earlier in the day we’re hosting a couple of guided tour talks and walks at Paradise Fields to explain our proposed beaver reintroduction in situ. We expect to see and hear lots of wildlife. All welcome. 1pm and 5pm for guided walks starting at the underpass from Westway Retail Park (via McDonalds car park, postcode UB6 0UW), but drop by all day from 1pm.
Would you like to host Swift nest boxes with your neighbours? We’re looking for Swift street champions!
In recent days the Swifts are arriving back in Ealing! We have pretty much completed phase one of our Swift project, with about 60 boxes already up and ready for inspection by adult breeding pairs who have returned to find their traditional nest site no longer present or accessible. As well as first year breeding birds looking to set up home.
If anyone would like Swift nest boxes installed as we reach phase two of the project, then drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, street address and whether you’ve seen swifts or know they are breeding nearby.
For efficiency and cost saving with our contractor we are looking to find Swift champions who will recruit 5-10 neighbours on their street or in the immediate vicinity who would each host 1-3 boxes on their houses. And a calling system or two on each street as well. We hope to get phase two complete by July when young birds will start inspecting potential nest cavities for when they return in 2023.
Phase three will be the individuals who have already been in touch who want boxes they already have erected on their house only, or wish to host one or two of our boxes on their own home. If you can be the Swift champion for your neighbourhood and offer a home for lots of boxes then we can get to you quicker. So get in that neighbourhood Whatsapp or Facebook group and gauge interest.
We would love to host more boxes in Acton, Northolt, Greenford and Southall so offers from these areas will now be prioritised.
More info here:
Also as always happy to answer questions in comments, but please do read the article first
From the EWG@Costons Lane Grand Opening Day!
First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone who came out to the Grand Opening and supported EWG@C! I will probably do a full post about that in a few days but I wanted to list the raffle winners asap so we can get people their prizes if they didn’t get a chance to pick them up on the day. If you see your name here and didn’t get your prize on Sunday, please email email@example.com with the subject line raffle winner, and we can arrange pickup. We also should have some contact info from everyone so if I don’t hear back I’ll get in touch. Also wanted to especially say thank you to Lesley Burgess for doing such a bang-up job helping us with the raffle!
Night Safari with Dr Sean McCormack
Sue Philips #343
Pitzhanger 1 year membership
Fred and Sue #203
David Attenborough Print
Dr Aysha Raza #260
Bottle of Red Wine
Victoria Williams #176
Gemma Holmes #421
Allotment Top Trumps
Box of chocolates
Hannah Smith #387
Bottle of Prosecco
Thanks again everyone!
The big day is coming – and we can’t wait for it!
This Sunday (08/05/22) marks a very important milestone for Ealing Wildlife Group: it’s the day we will officially open EWG @ Costons Lane to the public and we’re oh – so very excited about it.
There is still a lot we want to do with our reserve to keep it flourishing, but we’re dedicating the whole day to celebrate how much we have achieved so far and to finally share the progress and benefits of the reserve with the wider community.
We would be delighted to see you there so we can show you around, tell you a bit more about our plans for the reserve and perhaps interest you in some activities (and coffee!).
The big day will be 8th May 2022, from 10 am to 4 pm. We are off Ruislip Rd right across the road from Lidl. For a location map please click here.
- plant sale
- tours of the reserve
- more info about EWG and our work
- activities for the kids (pond dipping, face painting, building a bug hotel, and a wildlife treasure hunt!)
- Refreshment table with cakes, coffee, tea, and juice
1pm: Ribbon-cutting ceremony
2pm: Opening of our bird hide
What is EWG @ Costons Lane?
Back in 2020, EWG took over the old allotment site at Costons Lane with the objective of turning it into a nature reserve and education centre.
With the help of our amazing volunteers, we were able to transform an unused green space into one full of wildlife (we’ve already spotted different butterflies, spiders, newts, slow worms, bats, solitary bees, and even some frogspawn!).
Before and After
A Sneak Preview
You can read more about Costons Lane here and here
We hope to see you there!
For further information or press enquiries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
We are excited to announce that we intend to apply for a license from Natural England to reintroduce Eurasian beavers to Ealing in a controlled enclosure trial at Paradise Fields in North Greenford. This is a joint project between Ealing Wildlife Group (EWG), Ealing Council, Citizen Zoo and Friends of Horsenden Hill, supported by experts at the Beaver Trust. Ealing Council have agreed to provide ranger support and partial financial backing from Section 106 developer funding to improve the local environment and provide community benefit. We will be seeking further funding for the project in order to make it happen should our application be successful.
Following a series of visits, Paradise Fields has been identified as highly suitable habitat for beaver reintroduction, and as a flagship London rewilding project. The intention is to enclose most of the 10 hectare site and uniquely to allow visitors to enter an immersive experience in a rewilding beaver landscape. Studying the impacts of beavers in the urban landscape in an enclosed trial setting at first is very important before wider free-living beaver reintroduction is considered, or before natural recolonisation occurs over the coming years.
Free living wild beavers are already as close to London as Medway in Kent to the South and Oxfordshire in the west. Natural recolonisation is almost an inevitability. Learning to live alongside beavers is something that landowners, local councils, residents, conservation organisations and other stakeholders are going to have to do in future. And excitingly today, the 17th March 2022, Forty Hall Farm in Enfield released a pair of beavers into a woodland enclosure under license in a joint project by Capel Manor College and Enfield Council, the first beavers to live in London in 400 years.
The key objectives of our proposed project are:
1) Learn to manage beavers in the urban context including monitoring flood mitigation effects in an urban catchment
2) Habitat and biodiversity improvements on site, with a view to later reintroduce water voles, now considered locally extinct
3) Public engagement of local urban communities with nature, biodiversity and nature based solutions/ecosystem services
Public engagement with the proposed beaver reintroduction is absolutely crucial to all involved in the project. We will be asking site users to modify behaviour to some degree like in taking care to close gates, not to litter, to walk dogs on lead, sticking to paths, cyclists will need to dismount to enter and exit, report any fence damage and so on. And for that reason we recognise there may be concerns from local residents or site visitors about a project of this nature, so we are launching a public consultation survey to request feedback, insights and so we can answer any concerns raised. Please do take part in the survey here, where you can also sign up to our beaver project mailing list:
For more information on why beaver reintroduction is being considered in London, and the associated benefits of projects such as this, here’s a talk by our friend and colleague Elliot Newton from Citizen Zoo:
For further information on beavers and the ecosystem services they can provide, please take a look at the Beaver Trust website (https://beavertrust.org/) and the short film ‘Beavers without Borders’:
For more information or press enquiries please contact email@example.com.
We’re very excited to have exceeded our funding goal to help save Ealing’s Swifts. If you’re not aware of the campaign you can read more here.
But now, we are looking for interested residents, business and organisations who would be happy to host some of our swift nest boxes ahead of their summer breeding season this year. We’re especially interested in public buildings where they can be enjoyed by many. If you’re interested or have a site in mind please read the following to make sure it’s suitable and then drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org.
By hosting some of our Swift nest boxes you’ll be helping this iconic summer visitor and now red-listed bird remain as a thriving species in the borough of Ealing for future generations to enjoy.
We have a few requirements we hope you can meet to be part of the project which we will outline here. It’s important we have suitable sites and full commitment from one or two Swift champions at each site to ensure the success and sustainability of the project.
As we have had a good response from interested parties, we’re asking that you run through this list and self-select whether you think your site might meet these requirements before we arrange a visit. We’re happy to chat through any concerns or minor points that might not fully satisfy the list on a case by case basis either by email or phone.
- A North, East or North-East facing wall on a building to erect boxes
- Space for at least three, but preferably five boxes at least 0.5m apart
- A sheltered position under a ledge or eaves if possible
- A drop of at least 5m height underneath each box, free from any physical obstructions to allow young swifts to drop and take their first flight without becoming grounded
- In some sites we may wish to host a public education sign or information board to showcase the project and educate about Swift conservation and wider biodiversity
- Permission from building owners to erect long lasting nest boxes onto the building, affixed using screws and other hardware drilled into the brick or woodwork
- Access to site with high ladders and/or cherry picker equipment as needed
- Depending on sites, you may prefer to erect the boxes yourself rather than have our contractor visit to do so (please let us know if this is the case)
- Ideally we want to get boxes up by the end of April 2022, but some sites may have to be later (young swifts will still check out boxes put up later in summer)
- One or preferably two people per site who will act as point of contact for us at EWG
- Willingness to act as a Swift champion, educating and advocating for Swift conservation at each site and with any residents, occupants, visitors etc
- Responsibility to operate calling systems during key periods to attract Swifts to the boxes in the early phase of the project, anticipated to be at least three seasons in early and late summer when Swifts are arriving from and preparing to leave for Africa
- We will supply a small electronic device that plays the sound of Swifts at each site to try to recruit returning adult Swifts that are looking for a nest site or have been displaced from a previous one, as well as young Swifts thinking about a nest site for the following summer
- We can also supply a Swift call CD or MP3 digital file for you to play if preferable
- Calling systems need to be played in close proximity to the nest boxes to attract passing Swifts to investigate as they like to nest in loose colonies
- The electronic box can be placed outside on a wall or window ledge and the wire looped back through a window. It needs to be plugged into a USB socket or plug adaptor in order to work and can be placed on an automatic timer. We can provide what is needed at each site
- Calling system volume can be adjusted, but ideally would mimic the natural sounds (and volume) Swifts would make around the nest site anyway
- If there are concerns around noise the calling systems can be played at certain times of day only
- Ideally they should be played for an hour or two in the morning and evening at peak Swift arrival time in late April/early May, and again when young Swifts are on the wing and preparing to leave in late summer (late July/August)
- We can advise on this on a case by case basis, but the use of calling systems for the first few years of a project until Swifts are established in boxes and the site becomes attractive in its own right to passing swifts is a vital part of the success of the project
- We’re hoping you can accommodate the calling system until Swifts take up residence but do let us know if there are any concerns about this so we can find a solution that works for everyone
- Any Swift sightings and breeding records should be submitted both to EWG and Greenspace Information for Greater London (GiGL) each year to support ongoing monitoring of Swifts in Ealing
- We will set up an easy system to do this
- We would also ask that we can visit the site to observe and monitor Swift activity, and if appropriate bring the public to see the boxes if they are successful in attracting breeding Swifts in future
We hope all of the above is reasonable and can be accommodated. Please let us know if your proposed site meets the requirements or get in touch if you have any concerns or queries.
If you have a site in mind or would like to suggest one, ask more questions or volunteer with the project then please drop us a line on email@example.com
More information on swifts and boxes can be found here:
An exciting meeting of various stakeholders took place on January 17th 2022 to scope out the potential for an urban beaver reintroduction project in London. Ealing Wildlife Group are entering talks to partner with Ealing Council park rangers, Friends of Horsenden Hill and Citizen Zoo to apply for a licence for an enclosed urban beaver reintroduction trial.
We recently invited the Beaver Trust, London Beaver Working Group and Citizen Zoo to come and assess the proposed release site, Paradise Fields in Greenford, Ealing. And the feedback was very promising and positive that the site is suitable and our proposal would be supported.
Beavers are coming back in the UK landscape and it won’t be long before they reach more urban areas. Indeed there are already free living beaver populations as close to London as Medway in Kent to the Southeast and Oxfordshire to the West. So we need to learn to live alongside them when they do arrive. An enclosed trial in the urban setting therefore could provide us with a lot of learning opportunities.
We are keen to set up an enclosed urban trial in Ealing to assess and monitor:
- how beavers can mitigate flooding in the urban landscape
- how urban communities engage with beaver reintroduction, rewilding and wildlife reintroduction
- how beavers can alter urban wetland habitats and improve their biodiversity
- how beaver-human-landscape conflicts can be mitigated in the urban landscape
- how we can bring back other threatened or locally extinct wildlife species such as harvest mice and water voles using beavers as ecosystem engineers
Here is a great talk by our friend at Citizen Zoo, Elliot Newton, explaining why bringing back beavers to London is a good idea:
For further information or press enquiries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the biggest thrills of spring is when the beautiful and acrobatic swifts return to the UK after a long and perilous journey from Africa. They tell us that summer is on its way soon and that all is well with the world.
The sad fact is that Ealing’s swifts, like swifts across the UK, are in serious decline. Swifts spend their winter in Africa and return to the UK in April with their lifelong partner and offspring to breed in the same area as last year. Swifts are used to living alongside humans, but modern building design and the refurbishment of old buildings have been depriving them of the nooks and crannies that they use for nesting sites.
The Saving Ealing’s Swifts project is to combat the decline of swift nesting sites. Ealing Wildlife Group is planning to erect 150 nest boxes to boost existing colonies of swifts and attract new colonies. The nest boxes will be sited on public buildings across the borough, with signage to tell the public about these wonderful birds. The project will boost biodiversity in our borough & engage local communities with the conservation of these birds.
The swifts will be returning in April and May 2022, and so we hope to have the swift boxes erected by March, in plenty of time to help protect and conserve this iconic species for future generations. Can you help by making a pledge to our fundraising effort? We need to raise £10,000 in total, including £5000 from our followers which will be matched by Future Ealing. Every little helps and you can pledge at www.spacehive.com/savingealingswifts. If you are not able to contribute, there are other ways you can help, by offering your time to support some of our work by volunteering.
Thank you all for your ongoing support and for making Ealing such a great place for wildlife!
Back in June we held a ‘design a t-shirt’ competition and asked you to send in your drawings based on iconic Ealing wildlife. The competition was run by Neera, a friend of EWG and a local artist, who has done other fundraising activities for EWG in the past.
There were some great entries and, as it was too difficult to choose just one winner, Neera chose two! The winners are: Stag Beetle by Neven Makan, aged 9, and Hatchling by Poppy Powell, aged 12. Congratulations to you both and thanks to everyone who entered.
The winning t-shirts are now READY TO BUY! They come in child and adult sizes, you can choose from two print colours, t-shirts are 100% organic cotton and GOTS accredited – perfect for gifts or just for yourself! Best of all, £5 from the sale of every t-shirt goes directly to EWG to enable us to fund initiatives which help local wildlife.
EWG Chair, Sean McCormack, picked his t-shirt up from Neera last week and was proudly displaying it at Horsenden Apple Day last weekend.
EWG volunteer Sandra Agar, also went along to see the t-shirts being printed:
A massive thank you to Neera for running the competition and to all of you for buying the t-shirts and continuing to support the work of EWG.
An exhibition of photography to highlight the wonderful nature and wild spaces on our doorstep, celebrating the important relationships between people and local wildlife in Ealing.
We want to explore what nature and wildlife means to you. Everyone sees their surroundings through a different lens, so we want to celebrate diverse personal journeys and individual relationships with nature.
This is not purely a technical photography exhibition; equally if not more important is the portrayal of images that will engage the public with the natural world at a local level in Ealing.
We will judge each photograph impartially, without bias and keeping the mission of the exhibition in mind.
The judging panel consists of a panel of wildlife and/or photography enthusiasts, including members of Ealing Wildlife Group, Ealing Council Park Rangers as well as amateur and professional photographers.