What's it all about?

What's this blog about?
This blog reports on the progress of the bird and wildlife projects (http://www.littleoakgroup.com/ that I am working within including wildlife news and sightings, conservation news, developments and events.


Beddington Farmlands is my local patch and is being developed into an urban nature reserve within the heartland of the Wandle Valley Regional Park http://www.wandlevalleypark.org.uk/. The Wandle Valley Regional Park (WVRP) is a linear park that runs the entire length of the River Wandle from source to mouth (see fig 1). The WVRP will be the South London equivalent of the Lee Valley Regional Park in North London.

Fig 1: The Wandle Valley Regional Park

Beddington Farmlands will form a nature reserve within the heartland of the Regional Park forming the largest contiguous green space and open area within the park (flanked by Beddington Park in the South and Mitcham Common in the North: fig 1). Currently Beddington Farmlands is used for waste treatment by Viridor and the site is being restored to a series of important habitats for wildlife. The restored habitats will comprise wet grassland, lakes, reed beds, meadowland and heathland and will comprise one of the largest nature reserve areas within Greater London (Fig 2). Currently there is restricted access to the reserve but it will be open to the public on completion.
Fig 2: Beddington Farmlands Restoration Plan


The Hackbridge Project
In order to integrate and link Beddington Farmlands to the River Wandle and the wider Wandle Valley Regional Park green corridors are being developed through the neighbouring settlement of Hackbridge to connect the farmlands to the river (fig 3) . Hackbridge is also part of a major initiative to become the most sustainable suburb in Greater London and the green spaces are being managed in a way to benefit wildlife- so in effect the neighbouring village will become part of the nature reserve habitats.
Fig 3. Hackbridge, the River Wandle and Beddington Farmlands integration plan (not to scale)

As part of the on-going recording and monitoring of the wildlife at Beddington Farmlands and the regional park in our area we, through the Beddington Farmlands Bird Group and London Borough of Sutton Biodiversity and the site ecologists MKA Ecology are compiling detailed species inventories for the area, monitoring the populations and we report the results in the Beddington Farmlands Bird and Wildlife Report and the capital's environmental records centre (GIGL). We are also developing detailed management plans for the green spaces within our study area and carrying out various biodiversity enhancement projects. Through the Conservation Science Group we also advise on the restoration of Beddington Farmlands and monitor the results of the restoration programme.

Partners and friends in this major project include the Wandle Valley Regional Park Trust, Viridor, The London Borough of Sutton, Beddington Farmlands Bird Group, The London Wildlife Trust, The London Natural History Society, The Widlfowl and Wetlands Trust, GIGL, The RSPB, The Hackbridge and Beddington Corner Neighbourhood Development Group, MKA Ecology, Lysanne Horrox Gardens and my business Little Oak (see below) .


Corvo, the Azores

My foreign patch is the Azores. Over the last 13 years I have been involved in various exploration trips looking for and studying nearctic vagrants, migrants, gulls and seabirds.
In recent years we have been organising exploration trips for groups:
I am a member of the Portuguese Raritiies Committee which is part of the Birdlife International Partner SPEA and I specialise in the recording of Rare and Scare Birds from the Azores:  http://www.spea.pt/en/birdwatching/portuguese-rarities-committee/
Partners and friends in this project include SPEA, Archipelago Choice, Azores Tourist Board, Commodore Guesthouse Corvo, DivingGraciosa, GerbyBirding, Birding Azores, Azores Birders and Azores Nature.


My money job is running Little Oak Tree and Garden Care with my brother Steve. We carry out nature friendly green space management in our local area. I often comes across interesting wildlife while at work and mostly enjoy habitat creating jobs that attract more wildlife to the areas we work.
More on Little Oak here: http://www.littleoakenvironmental.co.uk/

This blog also reports on my time in Oxfordshire due to family commitments, birding and nature holidays abroad as I work on my WP list and a bit of world birding. Also there are occasional updates on events with our nature themed music and art project aimed at young audiences: http://www.theebryans.com/

It's also about a call for a conscious and focused development of sustainable futures and to re-invent/ tweak/ overhaul systems that contribute to biodiversity loss using these projects as examples of independent efforts towards achieving that collective objective.

For a summary on it all http://www.littleoakgroup.com/

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