7th June 2020

We have just come to the end of National Volunteers Week and before talking about my own greenspace I would like to give my thanks on behalf of the Medway Urban Greenspaces Forum to all of you who turn out to look after our parks and greenspaces. Our Friends groups are a key part of why we have such beautiful places and to recognise this we have launched a new page on our website; the “Spotlight On” page.

Here you will find the responses we have had to the questionnaire we sent out a few weeks ago. Gradually, using the photos you supplied or ones we have found, we are turning each questionnaire into a poster and displaying them in our “Spotlight On” gallery. Take a moment to wonder through the gallery over the coming weeks as the responses are posted and see why the work and dedication of all the Medway greenspaces volunteers is so important.

If you haven’t yet received a questionnaire, or maybe there are other issues, ideas or pictures you would like to put a “Spotlight On” then please let me know.

Without showing too much bias I will now give you an update on my favourite greenspace!

My sparrows are still thriving and this week I have noticed a lot more young birds flying around. I am sure this is the second generation of young which have fledged this year and I am hopeful there will be a couple more before the end of the summer. The young birds are very cute but also, like all youngsters, very demanding. Even though they can fly and feed themselves, they still want to be fed and fussed over by their parents. They will land in the garden crouch low and flutter their wings, the parents find this behaviour irresistible and quickly fly down with a mouthful of food for them.

One thing that I have noticed with the sparrows is that they eat a lot of different kinds of food, including ants, aphids and black fly, as well as seeds. My fruit trees are as usual suffering from a lot of aphids. I don’t use sprays of any kind on the aphids but control them by judicious pruning. Even so these bugs do thrive and the trees don’t seem to suffer too much and the birds love them.

As we know aphids produce a sticky sweet honeydew that the ants love, as I am sure it tastes nice and it is full of energy for them. Did you know, however, there are a lot of other species that love this sweet energy source as well? A lot of small bird feed on the aphids and the honeydew, and I have even seen bumblebees sipping it!

Speaking of bumblebees, my thanks to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust Team for a great training session this weekend. It was very well attended for an online gathering and we all learned a lot more about these beautiful animals. Apparently, all tomatoes are pollinated by bees “Bee”cause the buzz of the bee releases the pollen from the flower! Amazing!

As we move towards a world of less lockdown and more travel we still need to be aware that this horrible illness is still with us, so take care and stay safe.