Talk – Birds of Wanstead

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Birds of Wanstead

Sunday 19th November 1.00pm

The Temple, Wanstead Park

A talk by local top birder and photographer Nick Croft. Learn about some of the 180 species recorded in our area.

Cost £3.00.

Book your place in advance & pay on the door:

Contact Gill on 020 8989 4898 or Email Gill

a joint Epping Forest, Wren Conservation Group and Friends of Wanstead Parklands event

Links: Wanstead Park Epping Forest


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November 1st, 2017

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Trees in the Landscape: photography exhibition at the Temple

Jono LethbridgeJono Lethbridge


A tree-themed photography exhibition opens at the Temple in Wanstead Park this month. “Member of the Wren Wildlife Group and Friends of Wanstead Parklands have been out snapping, trying t o capture not only the beautiful forms of trees in Wanstead Park and Epping Forest but also the details of leaves and seeds and the animals, birds and insects that depend on them” said Gill James.

The exhibition launches on 26 November (from October to March, the Temple is open on weekends only from 10am to 3pm).


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October 18th, 2017

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WREN Photographic Exhibition

The Wren Group’s new photographic exhibition, opened on 19th February 2017 at the Temple. It consists of 21 photographs of Wanstead wildlife taken by amateur photographers. The official opening is on Sunday 26th February 2017 at 12:00. Tea and cake will be provided.

Details on the WREN Facebook page

Display of “mystery objects” to test visitors’ knowledge of natural history. One is a genuine mystery, being so far unidentified!

Wren Group banner made by Friends committee member Jo Fensome


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February 22nd, 2017

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Amphibian and Reptile surveying training course

This course will teach you how to identify frogs, toads, newts, lizards and snakes and show you techniques you can use to survey these animals. The course is free and suitable for people of all ages and levels of experience. So why not come along and see how you can help protect London’s dragons!

Where: Basement room of the Temple, Wanstead Park, London, E11 2LT.

When: Saturday 9th April 2016 between 10:00 and 13:00.

How to book: email Tim Harris (

Price: Free


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February 26th, 2016

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Wildflower Walk

On a warm Tursday evening on 17th June 2015 the annual WREN Wildflower Walk took place in the Exchange Lands adjacent to Wanstead Park with about 30 walkers. As always when such a walk is led by someone as knowledgable as Tricia Moxley it was both interesting and informative. To a background of birdsong, Chiff Chaffs being particularly vocal, she led us from the Riding Stables on a circular route through the area pointing out and discussing the common (e.g. Bramble, Mallow, Dog Rose), the pretty (e.g. Creeping cinqfoil, Everlasting Pea) and the ominous (e.g. Hemlock, Giant Hogweed). Finishing appropriately for an old sewage works with Biting Stonecrop.


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June 20th, 2015

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Canvey Wick awayday

Canvey Island


Half a dozen Wren members visited the Buglife reserve of Canvey Wick on Sunday 17th May. This brownfield site was going to be developed as a refinery, but the development was never completed and it is now reverting to a more natural state. We were blessed with sunny, dry weather, though the fresh breeze probably suppressed some flying insect activity. Over a hundred species were noted, including 50-odd species of plants (listed below), some of which are not familiar in the Wanstead area. Mary Holden found one of the day’s highlights: several Great Crested Newts in a ditch, which we were able to watch while we were having our lunch. Large Red Damselflies and at least one Hairy Dragonfly also frequented this ditch, with Azure Damselfly being seen nearby.

Parts of the site are very sandy and it was in one such area that two Latticed Heath moths were found, with a frustrating glimpse of a passing butterfly that I suspect was a Wall in the vicinity. Several other butterfly species included Green Hairstreak. Paul identified a specimen of Canadian Fleabane growing on a sandy hill; this was a plant must of us had never noticed before. Although not in flower, the presence of good numbers of Common Spotted Orchids was also exciting.

A few Barn Swallows were seen, although it wasn’t clear whether these were birds nesting nearby, or late migrants passing through. A pair of Cuckoos remained all the time we were there; given the number of Reed Warblers (a host species) singing in the Phragmites-lined ditches, they may be tempted to stick around.

Thanks to Paul for resolving many identification conundrums, for Kathy for compiling the list and taking the photographs, and for Pam, Mary and Gill for their keen eyes and good company.

Plants noted:


  • Ash
  • Silver Birch
  • Willow species


  • Barren Brome (Bromus sterilis)
  • Cock’s-foot
  • Common Reed (Phragmites)


  • Birdsfoot Trefoil
  • Biting Stonecrop (Sedum acre)
  • Black Medic
  • Black Mustard
  • Bramble
  • Bristly Ox-tongue
  • Broad-leaved Pea / Everlasting Pea
  • Bulbous Buttercup
  • Canadian Fleabane (the groundsel-looking plant on the sandy hill)
  • Cleavers / Goosegrass
  • Common Spotted Orchid
  • Common Vetch
  • Common Field Speedwell (Veronica persica)
  • Cow Parsley
  • Creeping Buttercup
  • Creeping Thistle
  • Cut-leaved Cranesbill
  • Daisy (Bellis perennis)
  • Dandelion
  • Dog Rose
  • Elder
  • Fennel
  • Forget-me-not (possibly Field Myosotis arvensis)
  • Goat’s Rue
  • Great Mullein
  • Groundsel
  • Hairy Tare
  • Hawthorn
  • Herb Robert
  • Hogweed
  • Horsetail species (probably Common, Equisetum arvense)
  • Lesser Stitchwort
  • Mallow
  • Nettle
  • Ox-eye Daisy
  • Pink Garden Oxalis (Oxalis, possibly articulata)
  • Ragwort species (possibly Common)
  • Red Dead-nettle
  • Ribwort Plantain
  • Rosebay Willowherb
  • (Round-leaved Wintergreen?)
  • Shepherd’s Purse
  • Snow-in-summer / Dusty Miller (Cerastium tomentosum)
  • Sow-thistle species
  • Spanish Bluebell
  • Spotted Medic
  • Teasel
  • Tufted Vetch
  • Wall Rocket (Diplotaxis species)
  • Water Crowfoot species
  • Wild Carrot
  • Yarrow
  • Yellow Flag Iris

Tim Harris, 19 May 2015


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May 19th, 2015

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Surveying small mammals

Wood Mouse

Pellet Analysis

On Saturday 30 August, Darren Tansley, Water for Wildlife Officer for the Essex Wildlife Trust, demonstrated survey methodology for small mammals in the Old Sewage Works. Darren gave 10 Wren Group members some fascinating insights into the behaviour of voles, mice and shrews, and explained best practice the setting of traps so that animals are not harmed. Darren and Tim Harris has set 30 traps the previous evening and 11 of these had been used during the night. We found four Wood Mice (2 males, 1 female and 1 that escaped before being sexed!) and a single Field Vole. Six other traps had been entered, though there was no animal within; this is suggestive of shrew activity, with both Common and Pygmy likely to be on-site. Each trap has an escape hole for shrews at the back, because these tiny insectivores need to feed regularly or they will die. Darren later demonstrated how checking the pellets of owls and other raptors can indicate what species of prey are on-site. Examination of dental patterns and skull shape indicates whether the bones in a pellet are those of a shrew, mouse or vole. Thanks are due to Darren for sharing his knowledge with us, and thanks also to the Riding Stables for letting us use of their gazebo for the pellet analysis.

Tim Harris

Pics: Wood Mouse and pellet analysis, Tim Harris


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August 30th, 2014

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