We’ve been so busy this past year, that we’ve forgotten (or run out of time) to keep our website updated. For anyone just occasionally checking in on our Facebook group, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was just a forum for people to post wildlife photos and sightings. But there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes.

Here’s a list of just some of the things we managed to deliver for Ealing in 2019, and a snapshot of what’s in store this year.

Habitat Management

– countless volunteer habitat management task days (e.g Boles Meadow, Hanwell Meadows, Horsenden Hill to name a few)

Balsam Bashing

– helping manage ponds and surrounding habitat with EWG volunteers and the Friends of Horsenden Hill to preserve vulnerable populations of the internationally threatened Great Crested Newt (GCN) at key locations in the Borough. We also carried out GCN breeding surveys under license with one of our professional ecologists

GCN James Morton HH

– getting funding from Tesco for an owl conservation project, erecting approx 20 owl nest boxes for Barn, Tawny and Little Owls across the Borough in association with the parks team

Little Owl by Sean McCormack

– crucially, for our owl project, working with the Council parks and grassland management team to adapt mowing regimes in key locations to reestablish the rough grassland habitat required specifically by barn owls’ and kestrels’ small mammal prey. Mitigating for the very type of habitat we look set to lose in other areas of Ealing due to proposed development plans.  

Community Events

– running our third annual photography exhibition for residents to enjoy which is proven to boost engagement with and enjoyment of our green spaces (as well as keeping our membership growing year on year)

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– community outreach and family fun events in parks including activities like bug hunting, pond dipping and bird spotting to engage young people, families and often under resourced communities with nature and our valuable green spaces

– took part and were funded by the Mayor of London’s National Park City Festival to put on a series of community events called Ealing Wild Discovery Days in July 2019, covering parks and green spaces across the Borough including areas we haven’t previously had much of a presence, such as Northolt, Acton and Southall. 

Education

– trips and excursions to share knowledge, build a community and get people outdoors learning about nature. London Wetlands Centre, a camping weekend at Knepp rewilding project in West Sussex, our annual Dawn Chorus walk at Long Wood, Hanwell Meadows and Warren Farm, starling murmuration at RSPB Otmoor in Oxfordshire. All good fun!

Knepp EWG trip by Sean McCormack

– giving talks and walks to several scouts groups in evenings about bats and other wildlife

– free of charge educational bat walks from April to October for the public across the entire Borough from Northolt to Acton which highlight the importance of maintaining wildlife corridors and green spaces for these key indicator species for biodiversity value

Bat walk at Hanwell Viaduct by Steve Morey

Conservation/Partnerships

– monitoring newly discovered badger setts in the Borough under the advice of the Wildlife Crime Prevention Force to ensure there is evidence of human disturbance should it happen again, like with the last badgers in Ealing that were dug out by men with dogs for sport

Badger trailcam capture SMcC

– establishing links with Network Rail and London Bat Group to survey and monitor local rail assets as potential bat roost sites, hibernation roosts in particular

– establishing links with several large scale developers in the area to provide nesting and roosting provision for swifts, peregrine falcons and bats as well as other biodiversity benefits integral to their future development proposals

Peregrine in Brentford by Nigel Bewley

– engaging with local business clubs and business owners to put sponsorship money into green initiatives and wildlife projects in the Borough.

Business As Usual:

– Facilitating an online inclusive discussion forum on Facebook on which there are no stupid questions about wildlife or nature, and everyone can learn and be inspired by a community of experts all with different interests, opinions and viewpoints but by and large treat each other with respect

2020 – things to come!

All of our 2019 work is on-going and, on top of that we are adding the following:

currently we’re applying for grant funding to transform a 4500sq m derelict allotments site into an official nature reserve to protect it from development (and we need donation pledges to help us get match funding! Check it out here:

https://www.spacehive.com/ealing-wildlife-group-nature-reserve

– repeating a Water Vole survey in 2020 that was last carried out in 2009 by WWT to establish whether we still have a population of Britain’s fastest declining mammal and what we can do to protect them

– soon to be rolling out a schools outreach programme encouraging wildlife gardening, and encouraging kids to take an interest in bugs, birds and bats in their school grounds

– building kingfisher banks and artificial nesting tubes with the ranger team in multiple locations across the Borough. We’ll be looking for volunteers to help us on this and other habitat task days.

Kingfisher at Boles Meadow by Phil Alford

So there you have it, there’s lots going on! And plenty more in the pipeline, and some we’ve probably forgotten. If you’d like to get involved, keep an eye on our events page here on our website, on our Facebook group, or email us to be added to a volunteering mailing list on [email protected]

(Featured image of Barn Owl by Nigel Bewley).