A report from Dave Dawson our very own environmental and ecology adviser

Following my monthly monitoring visit to the park, here’s a short seasonal note:

The recent hot weather has accelerated the flowering of summer wildflowers and some of the species in the “wildflower meadow” patches have gone over to seed already. Many of these plants come from hot dry climates and these are thriving in the summer heat. Blackberries in Horse Close Wood are ripening earlier than usual. The hot weather has again led to an abundant, submerged, growth of rigid hornwort in the lake, providing food for a July record number of Coots, fully 70 birds being counted recently. On the water surface there’s much duckweed. In the brook, water’s edge plants are flowering. You can see wild watercress, codlins-and-cream, water mint, redshank, trifid bur-marigold and hemlock water dropwort.

Large numbers of waterfowl come to the park at this time of the year, as it provides a safe place for the annual moult. Before the gates are opened in the morning, most of these are feeding out on the open grassland. On a recent visit there were 50 Egyptian geese, 75 Canada geese and 40 Greylags there. On the lake, the visiting swans have left and the resident pair have six cygnets following them. We seem to have just the one breeding pair of Great crested grebes this year.