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Monday, April 30, 2012

First Baby Duck of the Year

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I grabbed this shot on a very very wet Sunday this is Coronation Walk Stream working not because its been fixed but the rain has been so bad but its nice to see how this should look and used to be when it worked years ago

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The Grey Wagtail has been about a lot this week and must be breading near the lake.

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Bad news on the Swans they went back to their nest by the bridge and laid eggs as you can see but latter in the week the eggs were found smashed on the bowling green. There are stiff penalties for anyone stealing eggs or hurting Swans or Grebes both are protected birds. The swans are now trying another nest but this week the Rangers are coming down on Tuesday to see if they can help we have asked for hay bails around the islands with a ramp so swans and grebe can bread by the island in safety. A Grebe laid eggs this week and in a short time they were taken. Its a very sad world when wildlife is destroyed in this way.

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On Tuesday I spotted the new chick the first this year the mother and father showed off the 11 chicks and both parents were there with them.

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Sadly by Saturday they were down to only 5 chicks they had lost some every day we dont know if its a fox or cats or kids

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The five remaining chicks on Sunday lets hope they survive but I have heard people saying do we want a duck so maybe someone is taking them home not the thing to do with wild ducks and they need their mother at this stage. If you see anyone hurting any wildlife in the park call the Police.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Swans Nesting

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This poor old squirrel was out and about this week as you can see its had its tail ripped of by something but its still cheeky coming for its nuts on the seat while you sit there

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Last week the swans built a nest by the Tipkinder bridge but they have abandoned it and started again down by the golf coarse end of the lake. I suppose they have been disturbed down the other end as we have had lots of reports of yobs chasing the ducks recently. The problem were they have started again is people let dogs off the lead down there and its quite for the yobs to mess about. Swans and Grebe are protected birds and its illegal to steal eggs disturb them etc  and heavy penalties if you are caught.

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The Grebes are still about up to five some days. They to are trying to breed but cant find anywhere to do it. They are very hard to take pictures of as they are the same colour as the water and even professional book show poor pictures of them. This week I got lucky when they came close under the bridge with the sun in the right spot and a calm water day.

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The menace of dogs off the lead

As you can see people are still letting dogs off the lead these people visit regular and never have it on a lead or pickup after it. They take it off the lead around the childs play area were it can carry disease  or jump pup and injure a child. One women this week had 6 Jack Russell's off the lead and when I told her I was ignored. If these dogs attack a swan or a Grebe it can be shot.

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The tulips are just coming out by the lodge this week and not long before they are taken up in time for the new display for the Queens Jubilee flower display which will have to be in soon

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Greylag goose arrives in the Queens Park

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This week a Greylag goose arrived in the park.

The ancestor of most domestic geese, the greylag is the largest and bulkiest of the wild geese native to the UK and Europe. In many parts of the UK it has been re-established by releasing birds in suitable areas, but the resulting flocks (often mixed with Canada geese) found around gravel pits, lakes and reservoirs all year round in southern Britain tend to be semi-tame and uninspiring. The native birds and wintering flocks found in Scotland retain the special appeal of truly wild geese.

Where to see them

Greylag geese are easily seen in lowland areas of the UK all year, sometimes even in suburban parks with lakes but especially on low-lying grassy fields in river valleys. Wild ones, however, are found mostly north of the Solway and can be seen at RSPB nature reserves such as Mersehead (Dumfries & Galloway), Vane Farm (Fife) and Loch of Strathbeg (Grampian) from September to April. Wild breeding greylags can be found at Forsinard (Caithnes & Sutherland).

When to see them

All year round in the south; mostly September to March or April where wild visitors appear in the north.

What they eat

Grass, roots, cereal leaves and spilled grain

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Also back this week is the Heron looking for some fish he hasnt been for a fair few weeks

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Squirrels have been about this week as well begging for food

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On Wednesday the swans were messing about near Tipkinder bridge and by Friday it was evident they had built a nest as the swan above was sitting on it being very protective. This could be a problem give the yobs who chase ducks etc as if they mess with a swan which is a royal bird they can fight back. They dont know Kung Fu but an ancient art called I Peck You. You are advised to walk past them very quietly as they are right next to the path if you let kids make a lot of noise they may get chased off. 

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The poor old Grebe is having less luck as here they are building a nest close to the bank only to have it destroyed by kids once again we want desperately to get some hay bails next to the island were they can nest in peace. Bo the Grebe and swans are protected birds and heavy fines if you attack them. The local Police have been around this week after complaints of kids throwing at ducks and attacking them lets hope they keep up the patrols

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter

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Easter comes to the Queens Park and the weather has been against it with it being cold and damp there hasnt been a lot of people in the park. The Coronation Walk has had another tidy up this week and they were going to try and get the pump working for the stream. This week the yobs have tried to break into the bowling hut and with kids being off school everything is getting thrown into the lake.

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FREE Easter Entertainment at
The Pickle Jar at the Lakeside Pavilion this weekend:
GOOD FRIDAY 1pm – 4pm
Soprano Linda Race sings songs from the musicals
EASTER SATURDAY 1pm – 4pm
Three live Acoustic acts
EASTER SUNDAY 1.30pm – 4pm
The Kipling singers
group singing musical songs in harmony
EASTER MONDAY 1pm – 4pm
... Singer songwriter Clare Pritchard from Chester.
with Guitarist- singing a wide range of popular songs
Plus, Children's Bonnet Parade & Egg Hunt

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Wildlife this week is the same game with the grebes one day there is one next day there is five. The swans are also down to just two this week the other may have gone to find a mate. Still some Robins about

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There now seems to be a lot of nuthatches breading in the park I managed to get two pictures of them entering the nest in one tree if you look at the full size picture you can see one inside the nest. They are in several trees around the park being so small they are hard to see and get a picture of

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Friends of Queens Park Meeting
Tuesday 20th March 2012
Games Pavilion
Queen’s Park

Attendances
Derek Morgan    Charlie Griffiths    Ray Stafford
Pam Minshall    Lisa Prime    Daniel Prime
Sheila Blackburn    P Burrows    Jan Wright
Elaine Dodd    Jules Hornbrook    Cllr Mo Grant
Eric Buckley    W Ryan    Nick Barker
Stef Townsend    Roy Prince    Ben Wyre
Deb Lindop    Stefan Petrovic    Adrian Lindop
Roy & Janet Sparkes    Cllr Roy Cartlidge    Wayne Williams
Linda Cooke    Cllr Dorothy Flude    Mike Worthington
Dawn Clark    Glenys Hooper   

No    Item
1.0    Apologies
Noted.
2.0    Previous Minutes
The minutes of the last meeting were agreed as correct.
3.0    Matters Arising from the Minutes
Question re: Capital Investment discussed at a previous meeting - This was deferred to the Chair’s Report.
4.0    Chairperson’s Report & Summary
Firstly thank you for coming along and Welcome to our Guest speakers – talking about:
1.    Crewe Urban Vision – Objectives and Partnership Potential – welcome to Adrian & Deb Lindop
2.    Jubilee Crewe Celebrations - welcome to Dawn Clark – Local Area Partnership
3.    Queens Park an Educational Venue - welcome to Ben Wyre – Crewe Partnership Co-Ordinator

As for the project itself we are about to enter into the next interesting phase as Cheshire East Council have just submitted the First Phase of Application for the next Heritage Lottery Grant Application to finalise works and we are all aware of what is outstanding and the works priorities. 

A  HLF Officer is to visit on the 26th March and it is so important that we present a good image and united front, to push the project forward, to gain what we hope will be a positive response from them in assisting to fund the outstanding works.

The chair reflected on QP issues:
We all need to communicate the message about we are where we are...  the level of investment we received was and is significant and probably greater than any other Council has provided for  other public parks. The Heritage Lottery Fund provided a grant of just under £3m and the remaining funds of £3.5m were from other external funding organisations, such as WREN and capital reserves of the former Crewe and Nantwich Council, so it has not been funded by the Council tax as stated in some press publications. 

Remembering too that when the Park opened 100+ years ago – she was not complete, much of the infra-structure and associated facilities did not exist, so there was nothing to create or maintain.  Also, additional expenditure has been incurred as works have literally uncovered the  unknown – such as potential roadway collapse into the Park from part of the Victoria Ave road  network, then we have had bats, ecologists, power cables, drainage investigations, wildlife / fowl  protection, a phenomenal amount of silt and its relocation from the lake....

Much of the work at the moment is behind the scenes, particularly with regard to ensuring
there are appropriate funds and resources to maintain the Park in future years.  The Management Maintenance Plan, is actively being drawn together, although the Chair commented he considered this should have already been finalised and agreed at the last application.  Once completed, this will have to be approved by the Heritage Lottery Fund and  will also be required to be finished and considered before they are able to confirm any additional funding.  Talks so far are optimistic.

Works programmed at this time are to do with SNAGGING WORKS,
there is no new investment at this time.  For example, there is still some works required in the new toilets mainly for the tiling, which is outstanding.  The works in the cafe include some roofing repairs, also repairs following vandalism, which has already been done to remove graffiti and to much damage done to storage doors under the veranda area.  Also, the doors have had constant problems with the automatic electronic mechanism, this has taken a long time to sort  out but appears to now be repaired after a long battle!  There is a similar story with regards to  the under floor heating.  A new external store area is shortly to be built on the side of the cafe pavilion, mainly to assist with deliveries and the storage of bins which is a fire risk at this time.

Electronic and computer connections are on-going in the lodges and they to require some remedial end of contract works to be finished.  We hope to have our Manager, Elaine, in-situ shortly.

Hand rails have now been ordered to add to the bridges and some earth moving around the access points also.

There are some works programmed for earth moving on the rough footpaths on the West side of the Lodge as you go down to Coronation Valley, mainly to achieve DDA requirements and to prevent potential nasty falls on the present steep incline.

Plans are being drawn upon to demolish the old depot area and I will let you know more about that once details are know,

Also, l there are some tidying works to the base of the memorial where the planted beds are.  These will be reformatted so you cannot see the inner cement and also chains to be replaced.

Requests re volunteers for small maintenance works were disappointing in that, only 4 signed up at the AGM, plus 2 electronic members.  If you are willing, fit and able and have appropriate skills, please give Sheila our Secretary all of your details.

In particular Friends would like to arrange a small working party to
Power wash benches and re-oil.  Could include some small joinery repair works.
Power wash bins and rebrand – Queens Park stickers are ready to reattach.
And LITTER BLITZ around the Park generally.

Regarding Community use and Eventing, Elaine issued a list of the confirmed Events
programmes to date at Item 8. We await details of next year’s budget allocation, for promotions and events, if any...!!!   However, we have received a lot of positive responses from the Community plus support from The Pickle Jar Lakeside Pavilion to stage events and engage the community in activities in the Park all of which will greatly help and contribute to our lottery application.  There have been some fantastic educational opportunities explored thanks to the co-orientation of Bed Wyre see Item 7.  A thank you to Ben was expressed, and also some fantastic news about Orienteering in the Park. Plus, our own Secretary Sheila has undertaken at least one session, so thank you Sheila, as has Tim Prevett who is known for his Ghost Walks.  The Parks Manager was thanked for her co-ordination – all are helping us to achieve these all important educational opportunities and benefits, which is great news for the Park.

Finally, Stef Townsend, our valued last remanding Park Warden is taking Voluntary Redundancy due to the loss of this position.   Despite our petition dated 2nd December 2011, pleas to the CEC Chief Executive and my media releases – all protective measures have been unsuccessful; this is a sad loss for the Park in losing Stef but also a sad loss for the Park’s project, as we are left in a most comprising position regarding security and potential issues and risks.  Police, PCSO’s and CEC Wardens, are all kindly on-board to assist us, however in reality they will not be here 24 / 7 and they too have undergone a reduction of resources.  The Chair is to convey again grievance about this formally again to Cheshire East Council, but noted all so far have been on deaf ears.  A big thank you to Cllr Dorothy Flude also for pursuing this matter in great lengths for both Stef and Queens Park.  Stef,  “we wish you all the very best in the future and thank you sincerely for all your hard works, efforts, park improvements, and long hours worked, covering also  in difficult times for a valued member of staff sadly lost to us.” 
5.0    Events in 2012
Adrian / Deb Lindop - Crewe Urban Vision
The group presented outlined principles, vision and ongoing works of projects, including possible links and shared resources between CUV and the Friends of Queens Park.
Local Area Partnership: this is a valuable opportunity for groups such as ours to work together and to apply collectively for support.  It was considered opportunities and a sharing of volunteers could be explored.
6.0    Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in Crewe – Dawn Clark LAP -
Todate, the Action Plan for the Bank Holiday weekend in June is as follows:
Saturday 2nd June: Crewe Music Live
Monday 4th June :Town Street Party hosted by the Mayor. Community Groups are to be invited and activities in the town centre will be between 12 and 3pm. From 3pm, events will take place in Queens Park, in conjunction with The Pickle Jar and Friends Group.
QP activities include children’s events and live music until the laser beacon at 10.15 followed by short fireworks display.
6.1    Crewe celebrates 175 years!  Dawn Clark LAP
Heritage Projects throughout the summer at: Lyceum, Heritage Centre and Library etc.  There is a lot going on – look for details on public notice boards and in the local press.
6.2    26th May – C&N Lions – Derek Morgan
Street Party of 1,000 Scouts in the Park
7.0    Ben Wyre – Educational Opps
Ben gave an update on educational projects in the Park and how these are progressing, problems encountered, such as Risk assessments, funding etc.
Projects currently underway include:
    Orienteering,
    a KS2 Maths Trail (compiled by Gainsborough Pupils)
    SEAL event on 20th June – toilets may be an issue !
    Fire Brigade water safety lessons
    Sports and Olympic Events
    EAL event
Further details to be posted.
8.0    Elaine Dodd presented a hand-out of forthcoming events in the Park.
These depend on the new budget and are still to be confirmed.
Details to follow as above.
9.0    AOB
Q: Refurbishment of Burma Star Island as at meeting in November 2011
A; Refer to Chair’s Report above re all funding.
Note: there are specific times in the year when applications for funding can be made; ideas and visions for further improvements to Park areas are still in hand.

Q: Lions Sensory Garden and Dave Wilcox support group who are interested in a low allergy garden – could the two groups work together on this?
A: Nothing further has been heard from representation form C&N Lions to Project Consultant (Heritage) of 2 years ago, who have presented proposals re a sensory garden. There could be some conflict of interest in this and it will have to be given further consideration. 
Ben Wyre talked about Adelaide School wishing to establish a Butterfly Garden, working with teenage apprentices.
Elaine Dodd indicated that the East Lodge garden could become a Community Garden.

Q: Lake debris: is there any provision in the maintenance budget for the removal of the debris?
A: There is no extra/specific money but removal is part of ongoing grounds and maintenance work.

Q: From a parent of a two year old. Re: deterioration of toddlers playground equipment from vandalism – are there any plans or contingencies for repairs or agreements with Wicksteed to maintain?
A; (Charlie Griffiths) The equipment is inspected regularly in line with requirements and this includes an annual National Safety Inspection.

Q: If there is no longer a Park Warden, could Special Constables be used?
A: Personnel such as PCSO and the Police do visit the Park to check, there is also a Security Group which meet that consists of PSCOs, Police, Wardens, LAP, etc, representatives.  The chair stressed the situation was less than ideal.

Q: (From Bowls Club Chairman) The problems incurred at the Lakeside Pavilion apply to the Games Pavilion – what measures are/ can be put in place to prevent these?
A: Shutters were not part of the budget for the new buildings and might be seen as something of a challenge for troublemakers!  A recent break-in at The Lakeside Pavilion is viewed as exceptional – not experienced at the old cafĂ©. The situation will be monitored.
9.1    Mayoral Events
Roy Cartlidge publicised forthcoming Mayoral events in the town and the Park.
DofNM:
    TBC
Issued 3.4.12

Monday, April 2, 2012

Nuthatch moves in

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A few Nuthatch's have moved in and are breeding in  the park this week. being small they are hard to see as they move about quickly and even harder to take photos of. They are the only British bird that walks down a tree forward.

Latin name

Sitta europaea

Family

Nuthatches (Sittidae)

Overview

The nuthatch is a plump bird about the size of a great tit that resembles a small woodpecker. It is blue-grey above and whitish below, with chestnut on its sides and under its tail. It has a black stripe on its head, a long black pointed bill, and short legs. It breeds in central and southern England and in Wales, and is resident, with birds seldom travelling far from the woods where they hatch.

Where to see them

Best looked for in mature woods and established parkland in central and southern England and Wales, on the sides of tree trunks and underside of branches. Occasional sightings in Scotland.

When to see them

All year round.

What they eat

Insects, hazel nuts, acorns, beechmast and other nuts and seed.

 

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They are still a fair few squirrels about this week enjoying the sunshine

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All so seen this week the peacock butterfly

Peacocks hibernate through the winter and can be seen in the coldest winter months, although most individuals become active in late March and April. As well as being a harbinger of the coming spring, Peacock butterflies are interesting in many other ways. They are probably the longest-lived butterflies in Britain, with adults surviving from late July, well into the following spring, perhaps into June. Thus, contrary to popular belief that butterflies only live for a few days, some Peacocks may live to see their 11th month (albeit having spent five or six months of their adult lives asleep in hibernation).


The Peacock butterfly has fared well in recent years. Not only has it increased in distribution, pushing northwards in northern England and central Scotland, but populations have also increased significantly in size at sites monitored by butterfly transects. It is even emerging from hibernation earlier than it was 20 years ago. There is little shortage of food for the black, spiny Peacock caterpillars, which feed primarily on Common (stinging) Nettle, and it seems highly probable that the good fortunes of this butterfly are due to climate change.

Although a common visitor to garden buddleias, particularly in the autumn whilst building up fat reserves for hibernation, Peacocks are nomadic butterflies that range widely though the countryside. They often find their preferred breeding habitats (large nettle beds in sheltered but sunny situations) in the shelter of woodland clearings, rides and edges.

The Peacock's name comes directly from that of its avian namesake, thanks to the similarity between the eye patterns on the bird's tails and those on the butterfly's wings. As long ago as the late 1600s, the butterfly was called the Peacock's Eye. Even the scientific name of the butterfly is derived from a Greek myth involving a Peacock bird.

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I was amused to see the coot out of the water as he seems to have grown massive feet like a clown

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The main drive is at its spring best with the hyacinths out in full bloom this week

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There is still life in the old daffs by the main drive along with the blossom on the trees