Did you know that we have common frogs living on Palace Road Estate? We might expect them to be living in ponds. That’s where they breed during spring. However, they spend much of the rest of the year living and feeding in places like gardens, meadows and woodland.
Common frogs are carnivores, meaning that they feed on other animals. They eat things like flies, worms, snails and slugs. These types of animals are known as invertebrates (animals without a backbone) or mini-beasts. There are plenty of mini-beasts living in the gardens and grounds of Palace Road Estate.
Where do you think it will go to breed? One of the ponds in Palace Road Nature Garden, perhaps?
The mistle thrush is a large songbird found in woodland, parks and gardens. One of these birds can often be seen in the oak tree or on the ground between Chalner House and Coburg Crescent. Perhaps it has a nest nearby.
The mistle thrush has greyish-brown upper parts, a long tail and a white belly with dark brown spots. It is larger and paler than the similar song thrush.
The mistle thrush sings a ‘fluty’ song which is usually delivered from a high perch and it gives a rattling call in flight. On the ground, the mistle thrush often has an upright stance that further emphasises its size.
The first blossom is appearing on the new apple trees which were planted on the estate in February. This blossom, together with a range of wildflowers (which we’ll cover in a future post), brings scenes of colour and nature to our urban environment.
As more blossom emerges over the coming days and weeks, it will attract a range of insects. We’ve already seen a dark-edged bee-fly visiting the new trees. If you see any other interesting insects, do let us know so that we can write about them in future posts (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Some of the mature pear trees on the estate are already covered in blossom.
Apples and pears are both members of the Rose family of flowering plants (Rosaceae). Other members of the Rose family which are food crops include almonds, cherries, raspberries and strawberries.
With its trees, shrubs and gardens, our estate is home to a variety of wildlife. It was sad to lose so many mature trees earlier this month. However, we can still appreciate the ones that are left and the wildlife that visits and lives in them. This post is about an elegant bird – the Nuthatch.
The Nuthatch has distinctive colourings: it is blue-grey on top
and rust-coloured below and it has a black stripe running across its eye to the
back of its head.
Its name comes from its habit of wedging nuts or seeds in crevices in the bark and hammering them open with its bill.
Nuthatches have been spotted on several occasions, including this
week, on the oak tree outside Chalner House. Perhaps you’ve seen them on other
trees on the estate too?
Watch out for the Nuthatch’s unusual way of moving down trunks:
it’s the only British bird species which goes down headfirst!
This post is part of an ongoing series about nature and wildlife on Palace Road Estate. Do get in touch if you’ve spotted any other interesting birds, or other types of wildlife, which we could cover in future posts (email: email@example.com).
Residents and Open Orchard had an enjoyable day planting apple trees on Palace Road Estate last month. Many thanks to everyone who came along, including a number of keen young helpers. Thanks too to Thomas and Robert from Open Orchard who shared their expertise and tools.
We planted a mini-orchard in the grass area between Ponton House and Coburg Crescent. We also planted trees on Bushell Close, on Palace Road outside Ponton House, and on Coburg Crescent outside Despard House.
The apple trees are a range of different varieties, with some great names: Nuvar Freckles, Nuvar Golden Hills, Sunset, Kidd’s Orange Red, Laxton’s Superb, Self-Fertile Cox, Sweet Society and Bountiful.
The different varieties will produce apples with different delicious flavours, which will be ready to pick at different times. We will need to be patient though as it will be a couple of years before there is fruit which we can pick to eat.
PRERA purchased the trees from Keepers Nursery and you can read more about the different varieties on their website.
Many thanks to the following people and organisations who helped to make the planting day a success:
Gerry, the Friends Group Coordinator for Palace Road Nature Garden, for lending us a wheelbarrow and trolley and donating woodchip
Lambeth Landscapes / Lambeth Council for donating wooden stakes
Keepers Nursery for their advice about selecting trees and about how to store them before planting.
During the summer, the apple trees will need plenty of water. If you would like to help with watering, do get in touch if you haven’t already done so (email firstname.lastname@example.org). Watering cans can be provided.
Yesterday, newsletters were delivered to residents by Farrans, the contractor leading the building of the new resource centre on Coburg Crescent. These newsletters introduced Farrans and warned residents that some trees next to the current hoarding would be felled to make way for the building work. That same day those trees were felled.
The trees that were felled were a mixture of ash, lime and Norway maple. They were assessed during a tree survey in 2017 and most were considered to be of ‘moderate quality’.
The tree survey also highlighted that there is potential for damage to other trees in the area, in particular to the Norway maple that lies close to the bin store. This has roots that extend into the building site. The Tree Protection Plan requires that fencing is erected to protect this tree before any other work commences. The tree survey also recommends that the grass verge to the north-west of the site is protected with fencing.
PRERA and Open Orchard are working together to plant more fruit trees on Palace Road Estate. Do come and join in with the planting. See the poster below for further details.
In time, the trees will provide residents with a source of healthy, local, fresh produce. We’ll be planting a range of varieties of apple, many of which you’re unlikely to find in local supermarkets.
If you’re not able to make it to this planting event but you’d like to help look after the new trees, do get in touch (email email@example.com). The trees are going to need plenty of water through the spring and summer. In due course they will also need some pruning. Training can be arranged.
Would you be interested in getting involved in other food growing and gardening projects on the estate? If so, do get in touch (email firstname.lastname@example.org). As a community organisation, PRERA can apply for funding and other resources for such projects.
Parts of the estate burst into colour yesterday, thanks to Pinnacle who came to plant four areas with flowers.
The planting was an apology from Pinnacle who had mowed areas where residents had planted snowdrops. These flowers are perennials, so residents should be able to enjoy colourful displays in winter/spring for many years to come.
The bank between Coburg Crescent and the South Circular is also looking beautiful with its regular display of crocuses.