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Welcome to Alexandra Park
in North London

Alexandra Park is a delightful mixture of informal woodland, open grassland, formal gardens and attractions such as the boating lake, cafés and the pitch-and-putt course. It covers 196 acres around Alexandra Palace in North London.

The Friends of Alexandra Park is a voluntary group that promotes the use of the Park, encourages the conservation of its wildlife and protects the Park from unwanted development. 


Friends Tweets

  • We organise walks and talks about trees, bats, fungi, moths, insects, birds and the history of Alexandra Park. You can also join our work parties.

 

 

  • We run the Park Visitor Centre, where you can find out more about the park; there are also activities for children. In the winter months, we open every Sunday 11 am to 1 pm and also the first Saturday of the month.






Friends Upcoming Events


Conservation Work Party

Friday, 27th September 10am to 12:30pm

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The Friends will be back in the Butterfly Meadow after a month's breather. With Autumn around, we don't expect to see so many butterflies, but other insects and birds will be around. We will be cutting back some saplings and removing bramble.

No special skills required; enjoy exercise, plenty of fresh air and good conversation. Please bring secateurs if you have them, but we have extras you can use. 

We usually work from 10am to 12.30pm. Meet at the corner of the path coming up from North View Road entrance and the lower path or directly in the Butterfly Meadow.






Friends' Recent Events

Bat Walk, Autumn 2019

No rain, no strong wind so a good outlook for the walk. Gordon gave us a talk on bats as the light fell and we waited for our flying cousins to appear.

We heard about the structure of bat wings, the size of the bats and the number of insects eaten per night. This helped us understand how the creatures fit in within the ecosystem (and why we should be thankful for their reduction in numbers of mosquitoes).

After the sun had gone down, the "bat detectors" were given out and we listened out for the clicks of the bats.

After the usual hesitant start then bats were flying close over our heads and in numbers.




https://sites.google.com/a/dreamcountry.org/foapk/home/bird-watching
A beautiful, but cool September morning... Gareth took us into The Grove where we saw a Jay, Magpies, Crows, Blue tits and a Nuthatch up a big old Oak Tree.

We moved up to the South Slope (picture left) and looked for a Peregrine on the tower and Green Woodpecker on the grass - no luck with either.

Moving to below the Pitch and Putt, we did see a juvenile Green Woodpecker

We continued to the Bird Ringing Site where Gerry explained
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that the banding is vital in understanding bird migration and population growth/decline. Only registered and trained Ringers are allowed to carry out this function. We watched him put a ring on a female blackcap. (picture left) The ring is the equivalent of a human wearing a wrist watch.

Meanwhile Gareth had set up his "Scope" to enable people to see the Peregrine perching on the distant BBC Tower. This picture shows how far away it was (and an owl?) flying across.

Gareth had to leave us, but we finished our walk with a look at the birds on the reservoir and New River. These included Cormorants, Great Crested Grebe, Black-headed Gulls and a Grey Heron perched high on one of the buildings.







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After a nightmare journey from Essex, Rebecca and Dave arrived for our Family Bug Hunt... We had quite a bit of sunshine, but with a slight feel of Autumn in the air. The finds started with a disproportionate number of spiders, but then a few butterflies flitted by including Green-veined and Small Whites.

One group of children were particularly impressive as decided to use the ID sheets and work it out for themselves. (left)

What was found? A Roesel's bush cricket and a smart looking Meadow Grasshopper.

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True bugs captured included Bishop's Mitre Bug and Ant Damsel Bug.

Beetles were represented by Earwigs, 7, 16 and 24 spot ladybirds.

Kids had brought in lots of stuff by the end and Rebecca was hard pressed to inspect them all, but as usual came with up good identifications. 

Probably the highlight of the afternoon was a female Wasp Spider (left).

All animals caught were released at the end of the afternoon.


Here is a list of things found - will be updated as further information is available.





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A very large contingent of musicians graced The Grove in early September as we welcomed back the Community Band of London Metropolitan Brass.

Some excellent tunes as always including Singing in the Rain - wholly inappropriate (no singing no rain!), Jesus Christ Super Star, Greased Lightning, an Abba medley and Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines.

While we are on the subject of inappropriate songs Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud was also played with the ground and sky remaining stubbornly dry.

A large audience by The Grove Cafe enjoyed the tunes and applause was heard some way off. A great performance and we are very much hoping to hear this band again next year as this was the last performance scheduled in the park.





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The Friends worked in "The Spinney", the area in The Grove opposite the Park Visitor Centre. We were joined by TCV (The Conservation Volunteers) who worked with us in removing saplings and small trees to allow the light in and encourage flowers in this area. 

The cut down trees were "processed", the side branches were removed and the wood divided into different sizes. There is future plan for a pond. 

The wood generated will be used to create a fence around the area starting at the end of August when a Corporate Group will be brought to The Grove led by TCV.

During the day a frog and a toad were seen as well as speckled wood butterflies and wasps. A nuthatch serenaded us during the morning.


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The Friends had a stall at The Great Fete with 4 different activities for visitors. How we could do this was down to the fact that over 20 of us volunteered to help out on the day. A great effort.

Our main activity was making crowns for kids including this example (left) modelled beautifully by our treasurer, Nick. Last year we had 50 masks for kids to make running out on time at the end. This year there were 80 crowns made running out 10 minutes before the end.

We also had our popular tree leaf ID challenge, but this was a little complicated this year with windy conditions....

We set up an Xplorer course around the area of the stall, with kids encouraged to find various cards in the trees in return for stickers. Lots of takers.

The photo quiz this year consisted of our pictures of the park and more recent ones where the difficult task was to match us the correct pairs of
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pictures. 

For anyone who wants to try their hand at the competition then the pictures will be up in the Park Visitor Centre for the next month. (open 2pm to 4pm Sundays and first Saturdays of the month) Another option is to look at the pictures online - link here.

For more pictures of the Great Fete see this link.




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After the wild wind of Saturday, things had calmed down considerably for our walk. Starting by the Gas Hut, we had a look at some Knopper Galls on an Oak tree (after an embarrassingly long search) explaining about the gall wasps that form them.

Next was a parasitic flower, the Ivy Broomrape, which has no leaves and takes nutrients from the Ivy.

We walked towards the Nature Pond looking at Guelder Rose (inedible) and Dogwood Berries (poisonous) as well as Great Willowherb and, from a distance, the first dogwood leaves colouring for Autumn.

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As to butterflies, we spotted quite a few including Common Blue,  GatekeeperMeadow BrownSpeckled Wood and Red Admiral (the latter being quite tatty).

Other nice spots were a ?Common Blue? Damselfly (pic by Tony Jakeman) and two types of dragonfly, the Common Darter (left pic also by Tony Jakeman) and Southern Hawker. In the woods, we saw the effects of Ash Die-Back and further flowers including Hoary Ragwort, Russian Comfrey and Spear Thistle.

Exiting the woods, we walked alongside the lower road and looked at few more flowers including Common Fleabane and a first time for Wild Carrot




The Conservation Volunteers

August 2019

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TCV worked this month with the Friends group in the Spinney area of The Grove. The task being to clear some saplings and small trees and open up the area to more light and encourage wild flowers.

The wood generated is to be made into a protective fence around the area with corporate volunteers doing some work under TCV leadership.

While working in the area the Friends discovered a frog and TCV a toad (pictured). Both amphibians were recovered and left in peace.



The next conservation session in the Park will be on Wednesday, 25th September. Meet at 10am. To book or for more information contact David Allen the new BAT East Project Officer, email david.allen@tcv.org.uk or call on Tel: 07917 267 573.









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