Friday, 10 November 2017

Birds and trees of the Great North Wood - a guest blog

Today, November 3rd, I saw my first Redwing of the winter, in our garden in Forest Hill. It was scratching for food at the base of a Hawthorn tree, which is one of its favourite food sources at this time of year: the other is the Rowan or Mountain Ash, and its interest in both trees is of course their berries.

Redwing - Image courtesy of
Click on image for larger version
The Redwing is a small Thrush which has a prominent white stripe through its eye and a reddish mark beside its chest, which is part of its red underwing - hence the name Redwing. They come from Scandinavia and most winters there is a small flock of Redwing which fly between Forest Hill and the woods on Sydenham Hill in search of berries.

Both Forest Hill and Sydenham Woods are part of what used to be called the Great North Wood, an ancient oak forest which was first recorded in 1272, but may go back to the last Ice Age (go here to read more on the London Wildlife Trust website). Native Hawthorn and Rowan (Mountain Ash) would have been part of that forest then as they are today. But today it is possible to plant varieties of Rowan and Hawthorn which are better suited to the pavement setting and in this way we can attract woodland wild life from what remains of the Great North wood into our streets and into our everyday lives.

The most exotic Scandinavian winter visitor in search of berries is the Waxwing, which is often seen in hedgerows close to the East Coast, but only rarely in London. Sadly we not very likely to see Waxwings in Lewisham this winter, but there will be a day, and often it is a sunny day, when the berries on a tree close to your house will be just right and Blackbirds, Thrushes and maybe a Redwing will descend to gorge on those berries. It is a wonderful moment, a time to pause, to watch and then maybe to consider planting a Hawthorn or a Rowan.

Stuart Checkley
Guest Blogger, from a garden somewhere in Forest Hill

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Tree Sponsor of the Month - November

This month we are featuring a local business sponsor, Kallars Property Agents who have offices in Brockley and Deptford. 

1. Where is the sponsor tree located and why did you choose that particular site? 

Tressillian Road SE4 and Adelaide Avenue SE4 – these sites were chosen because they are in the conservation area and close to our office so we can help maintain them.   

2. What species of tree did you select and why?

135 TRESSILLIAN ROAD  silver birch (betula pendula) because it’s such a pretty tree with its white bark against the green leaves; 43 ADELAIDE AVENUE  snowy mespilus, serviceberry, juneberry, amelanchier because of the beautiful blossom.

Amelanchier - Adelaide Avenue, SE4

3. Why did you choose to sponsor a tree? Does it mark a special event or is it dedicated to someone?

We chose to sponsor a tree because it was a good way to mark the opening of our new office in Deptford. It was a lovely way to mark the event but still keep the link with Brockley (where Kallars’ first ever office is).

Silver Birch - Tressilian Road, SE4 
4. How long have you lived in the borough of Lewisham? Do you have any special memories you could share about the area?

Kallars as a business have been operating within the Lewisham Borough for 7 years now. The directors of Kallars have been working in the Lewisham Borough for nearly 20 years.  One of the things that springs to mind about the uniqueness of the Lewisham Borough is the “Big Cat” of Catford!  
5. Do you have a favourite tree in the area, apart from your sponsor tree of course? 

There is a beautiful majestic Copper Beech in someone’s front garden on the corner of Harefield Road.

here it is - corner Harefield and Wickham Roads (ed.)
Click for larger image
6. If there were no constraints what tree would you have chosen and why?

A Japanese Maple for the vivid colour and the Oak for its size and strength. 

7. How did you learn about sponsoring a street tree through Street Trees for Living?

We have worked closely with the Brockley Society for many years; I was approached by Dom Eliot the co-chair of the Brockley Society street tree campaign

8. What would you say to someone who is considering sponsoring a street tree?

It is a wonderful idea, especially nice if you would like to mark a special occasion such as a milestone birthday or anniversary.