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Welcome to the West Wickham Commons Newsletter covering West Wickham Common and Spring Park. FacebookTwitterYouTubeWebsiteEmailLast of the summer butterflies
With the passing of the warm and drier summer months, the wetter weather and cooler days and nights of autumn means that the chances of seeing butterflies are ending for the year. Butterflies require the warmth of the sun to keep their miniscule wing muscles warm enough to move and little wind in order to stay aloft. However, the occasional warm autumn day might harbour a few butterfly species that are still on the wing. Common blues are one such species that can be seen right up until the end of October and a few have been recently spotted on the heath at West Wickham Common. Seeing butterflies, and even better, getting close enough to take the perfect photo of them, is a tricky task but can be perfected with patience! Check out these top tips for seeing butterflies:Choose the best day – the best time to go is late morning and early afternoon, avoiding windy, cold and rainy days.Bring binoculars – some butterflies, such as the Brown Hairstreak, fly way up high in the canopy of taller trees and are difficult to spot without the zoom of a camera or binoculars.Avoid casting a shadow – butterflies up close get spooked by sudden movements and changes to light so tread lightly.Look for sunny glades – many butterflies find glades and woodland edges perfect for basking in sunlight.Seeding the Spring Park meadow
There’s something happening in the Spring Park meadow! The Brilliant Butterflies project is working with landowners, including the City of London, to create more wildflower areas to support declining butterflies and insects. The meadow at Spring Park is a perfect site for seeding with wildflowers as the grassland’s low nutrient soils provide the right conditions for them to grow.
The Rangers, alongside the Brilliant Butterflies project, seeded patches of bare ground on the meadow with a bespoke mixture of wildflower seeds selected to support butterflies, moths and other invertebrates. The mix contains a variety of native wildflowers such as yarrow, field scabious and marjoram as well as locally sourced kidney vetch from nearby Priest’s Hill. The nationally rare small blue butterfly is one of the target species for the project to benefit from a greater diversity of wildflowers – the butterfly is found locally and could spread to sites such as Spring Park in the not so distant future! The seeds will take some time to germinate and establish, but should begin to appear next spring and summer.+ Check a look at the project hereYour photos
Left to right: Spring Park fungi by Mark Shoesmith, Nail galls on the leaves of small-leaved Lime by Moira O’Donnell and sweet chestnut by Mark Shoesmith.
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The City of London Corporation has seven green spaces in South London and Surrey covered by three charities: Ashtead Common, Coulsdon Commons and West Wickham Commons. Each charity has its own Newsletter and you can now:
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