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Foots Cray Meadows

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P1240692
P1240648
Foots Cray Meadows
is a 97-hectare (nearly 250 acres) area of grassland, woodland and wetland in the London Borough of Bexley, with the River Cray forming a central feature of the landscape. At either end of the site the clear waters of the Cray run across a pebbly substrate, with a large somewhat silted lake forming the centrepiece of the area, dammed back at the attractive Five Arches bridge. There are a number of tree-covered islands in the lake and reasonable amounts of fringing vegetation. Much of the site has been designated as a local nature reserve. The site is controlled and managed by Bexley Council.

Address: Foots Cray Meadows, Rectory Lane, Sidcup, Kent DA14 5NG (Map:; OS grid reference TQ478715)

HistoryEdit

The area was originally part of the estate of Footscray Place, an elegant 18th century Palladian-style mansion. The house was requisitioned during the 1939-45 war for use as a naval training establishment ("HMS Worcester"), but was left in poor condition. After the war it was bought by Kent County Council for development as a museum, but in 1949 it was destroyed in a fire. The ruins were demolished and the grounds were renamed Foots Cray Meadows and made over as a public park.

Habitat Edit

The site is an informal open space with a variety of wildlife habitats. The rolling landscape includes ancient woodland and the River Cray, with its adjacent woodlands and wildflower margins. Large areas of the site are managed as wildflower meadows, but large swathes of amenity grassland remain for recreational pursuits.

Several new ponds have recently been dug to help build the population of Great Crested Newts.

Fishing is not allowed.

Further information needed, please

Species Edit

BirdsEdit

All Year: Mute Swan,Mallard, Tufted Duck, Pheasant, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Feral pigeon, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Ring-necked Parakeet, Tawny Owl, Kingfisher, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Magpie, Jay, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Greenfinch, Bullfinch. Winter visitors: Gadwall, Shoveler, Little Grebe, Little Egret, Water Rail, Black Headed Gull, Common Gull, Green Sandpiper, Redwing, Fieldfare, Redpoll, Siskin. Summer visitors: Hobby, Swift, Swallow, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat. Occasional/passage: Canada Goose, Greylag Goose, Egyptian Goose, Teal, Wigeon, Pochard, Goosander, Buzzard, Red Kite, Peregrine, Lapwing, Snipe, Jack Snipe, Great Black-backed Gull, Cuckoo, Little Owl, Golden Oriole, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Skylark, Woodlark, Sand Martin, House Martin, Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Waxwing, Redstart, Wheatear, Stonechat, Garden Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Cetti's Warbler, Reed Warbler, Willow Warbler, Firecrest, Rook, Brambling, Hawfinch, Reed Bunting

Other vertebratesEdit

Common Toad, Great Crested Newt, Grass Snake, a Terrapin of an unidentified species (2010), various kinds of fish (including Chub)

Invertebrates

White-letter Hairstreak Butterfly has been recorded. At least fifteen species of Dragonfly and Damselfly have been recorded making this site the premier location in LBBexley for Odonata, species include Emerald Damselfly and Four-spotted Chaser in 2014 with the best places being around the Newt ponds in late summer.

More information needed, please

PracticalitiesEdit

DirectionsEdit

Foots Cray Meadows is accessible from North Cray Road (A223) and from Rectory Lane (which runs from Bexley Lane, Sidcup, through to Foots Cray High Street). The nearest railway station is Albany Park. The 492 bus route passes the site on North Cray Road. The London Outer Orbital Footpath (London Loop) passes through the site, following the River Cray.

AccessEdit

Information needed, please

FacilitiesEdit

Information needed, please

ListingsEdit

Tuesday 7 February 2012 (10.30-12.45): 8 Little Grebe, 3 Cormorant, Little Egret, pr Mute Swan, 2 Egyptian Geese, 2 prs Shoveler, 6 prs Gadwall, 33 Mallard, 8 Tufted Duck, Grey Heron, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, 2 Snipe, Green Sandpiper, 13 Moorhen, 14 Coot, 94+ Black-headed Gull, 6 Common Gull, Stock Dove, 19+ Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, 11+ Ring-necked Parakeet, 2 Green Woodpecker, 5 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Kingfisher, Pied Wagtail, 5 Wren, Dunnock, 6 Robin, 13 Blackbird, 4 Song Thrush, Redwing (3 flocks – 12, 36 and 4), 3 Mistle Thrush, 6 Long-tailed Tit, 6 Blue Tit, 6 Great Tit, Jay, 6 Magpie, 18 Jackdaw, 39+ Carrion Crow, 3 Starling, 2 Chaffinch, 3 Greenfinch, 5 Goldfinch (Ralph Todd).

Sunday 16 November 2014 c07.30 (quick visit): 5 Mute Swan (pair + 3 juv still), 20+ Mallard, 2-3 Gadwall (pair + poss male), 17 Tufted Duck, 10+ Little Grebe, Little Egret (flew SW over 5 arches), Water Rail (in boggy area at SW end of lake by river), 10+ Moorhen, c10 Coot, c70 Black-headed Gull, couple Feral Pigeons, Woodpigeons, Ring Necked Parakeets, Kingfisher (heard by 5 arches), 2 Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Wrens, Dunnock, Robin, 4+ Song Thrush, 6+ Blackbird, 6+ Goldcrest, 4+ Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long Tailed Tits, Magpie, Jay, Jackdaws, Starling, Goldfinch. Early fog hampering visiblity, only a small part of the area covered (Ian Stewart).

Wednesday 19 November c13.00-15.00 : 5 Mute Swan (pair + 3 juv), c20 Mallard, 5 Gadwall (3 male 2 female), 13+ Tufted Duck, 6 Little Grebe, 1 Grey Heron, Sparrowhawk, Water Rail (in boggy area by river), 10+ Moorhen, c30 Coot, 15+ Black-headed Gull, 2 Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull over, Feral Pigeons, 6+ Stock Dove, Woodpigeons, Collared Dove, Ring-necked Parakeets, Kingfisher (showed very well at SW end of lake), Green Woodpecker, Pied Wagtail, 6+ Wren, Dunnock, 4+ Robin, 4+ Song Thrush, 2 Mistle Thrush, 6 Fieldfare, Redwing, 10+ Blackbird, 14+ Goldcrest, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Long Tailed Tits, Treecreeper (North Cray Wood), Magpies, 4-7 Jay, Jackdaws, Carrion Crows, 8+ Starling, 2+ House Sparrow, 20+ Chaffinch, 1+ Linnet, 10+ Goldfinch, Greenfinch, 3 Bullfinch (pair near St Marys Church + 1 Riverside Road), pair Stonechat (on Upper College Farm but viewed from FCM). 46 species (Ian Stewart).

Tuesday 25 November c14.00-15.00 : 5 Mute Swan (pair + 3 juv), c20 Mallard, 9 Gadwall (6m 3f), 16 Tufted Duck, 9 Little Grebe, Grey Heron, Water Rail (heard from island on lake), c15 Moorhen, c20 Coot, c100 Black Headed Gull, 1+ Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Feral Pigeon, 2+ Stock Dove, Woodpigeons, 2 Collared Dove, Ring-necked Parakeets, 2 Green Woodpecker heard, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Pied Wagtail, 4+ Wren, 2 Dunnock, 2+ Robin, Song Thrush, 6+ Blackbird, 4+ Goldcrest, 2+ Great Tit, Blue Tits, Long Tailed Tits, Magpie, Jay, 50+ Jackdaw, 20+ Carrion Crow, 10+ Starling, 4 Goldfinch. 35 species at west end- 5 arches only (Ian Stewart).

Friday 5th December 2014 c13.20-14.40 : 5 Mute Swan (pair + 3 juv), 25 Mallard, 4 Gadwall, 20 Tufted Duck, 7 Little Grebe, Cormorant over, c20 Moorhen, c30 Coot, c20 Black Headed Gull, 2 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull over, 4 Feral Pigeon over, Woodpigeons, 2 Stock Dove, 1 Collared Dove, Ring-necked Parakeets, Kingfisher (island nearest five arches), Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, 6+ Wren, Dunnock, 4+ Robin, 3+ Song Thrush, c20 Blackbird, 8+ Goldcrest, 6+ Great Tit, 4+ Blue Tit, 10+ Long Tailed Tit, Nuthatch (N Cray wood), Magpies, 3 Jay, Jackdaws, Carrion Crows, Starling over, House Sparrows heard, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch. 40 species, visit cut short by rain. (Ian Stewart).

Friday 12th December 2014 13.35-15.05 : 5 Mute Swan, c25 Mallard, 9 Gadwall, c14 Tufted Duck, c10 Little Grebe, 1 Grey Heron, Common Buzzard (over Chalk Wood), Sparrowhawk (caught Song Thrush), 2-3 Water Rail heard, c20 Moorhen, c25 Coot, 50+ Black Headed Gull, 4+ Common Gull, 4+ Feral Pigeon, 4+ Stock Dove, 40+ Woodpigeon, 1-2 Collared Dove, Ring-necked Parakeets, 2-3 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 5+ Wren, 2 Dunnock, Robins, 3-5 Song Thrush, 3 Mistle Thrush, 10+ Blackbird, 6+ Goldcrest, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Long Tailed Tits, 2 Treecreeper (together at S side of North Cray Wood), Magpies, 6+ Jay, 30+ Jackdaw, Carrion Crows, 8+ Starling, House Sparrows heard, 3+ Chaffinch, 8+ Goldfinch, 1-2 Bullfinch heard. Only covered area west of 5 arches, 41 species. (Ian Stewart).

Friday 19th December 2014 14.25-16.15 : 5 Mute Swan, 20+ Mallard, 5 Gadwall, c14 Tufted Duck, 7+ Little Grebe, 2 Little Egret (1 near playground, 1 east over 5 arches), Grey Heron, 2 Water Rail heard (1 on SW island, 1 in boggy area), 30+ Moorhen, Coots (not counted), lots of Black Headed Gulls most NE to roost, 5+ Common Gull inc 1w on patch with more over, 2+ Herring Gull, ad Lesser Black-backed Gull, Feral Pigeon, 1-2 Stock Dove, Woodpigeons, Collared Dove, Ring-necked Parakeets, Green Woodpecker, male Great Spotted Woodpecker, 4 Grey Wagtail (2 roosted on SW island), 6+ Wren, 3+ Robin, 2 Song Thrush, Redwing heard, 10+ Blackbird, Siberian Chiffchaff (SW island, looked very bright indeed, description on main wiki for this date), 12+ Goldcrest, Great Tits, Blue Tits, 15+ Long Tailed Tit, Nuthatch (N Cray wood), 10+ Magpie in N Cray wood alone, 6 Jay, Jackdaws, Carrion Crows, 2+ Starling, 4+ Chaffinch, 4+ Goldfinch, Bullfinch (north end of N Cray wood). 41 species. (Ian Stewart).

Saturday 20th December 2014 c10.20-12.10 : 5 Mute Swan, c20 Mallard, 5 Gadwall, c15 Tufted Duck, 6+ Little Grebe, Little Egret (in tree just E of 5 arches), Grey Heron, Water Rail (showed well breifly on SW island), 20+ Moorhen, 20+ Coot, 60+ Black Headed Gull, Common Gull, few Herring Gulls over, Lesser Black-backed Gull (on lake), Feral Pigeon, Woodpigeons, Collared Dove, Ring-necked Parakeets, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Grey Wagtail, 4+ Wren, Robins, Blackbirds, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Long Tailed Tits, Nuthatch (heard N Cray wood), Magpies, Jackdaws, Carrion Crows, Starlings, House Sparrows, 5+ Chaffinch, 10+ Goldfinch. 34 species. (Ian Stewart).

Boxing Day 2014 c12.00-13.30 : 5 Mute Swan, 20+ Mallard (and a white duck), 8-9 Gadwall, 6+ Tufted Duck, 8+ Little Grebe, Little Egret (about 50m E of 5 arches), Grey Heron, Water Rail (heard from islands), 20+ Moorhen, 20+ Coot, 60+ Black Headed Gull, 8 Common Gull, 2+ Lesser Black-backed Gull, Feral Pigeons, Woodpigeons, 2+ Collared Dove, Ring-necked Parakeets, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Grey Wagtail (by 5 arches), Wrens, Dunnock, Robins, pair Stonechats (on Upper College Farm but very close to the FCM border and viewed from there), Song Thrush, Blackbirds, Siberian Chiffchaff (on island nearest boggy area but mobile, gave a few short straight calls and flew towards willows, a really light and grey bird in good light), 10+ Goldcrest (inc 1 showing very close at water lane bridge), Great Tits, Coal Tit (heard N Cray wood), Blue Tits, Long Tailed Tits, 1+ Treecreeper (1 showed very well at Water Lane bridge and seemed to be hanging around with Goldcrests, another probably heard N Cray Wood), Magpies, 6+ Jay, Jackdaws, Carrion Crows, Starlings, Chaffinches, 4+ Goldfinch, Greenfinch, 2 female Reed Buntings (at top of embankment between Riverside Road fields and UCF). 41 species. (Ian Stewart).

Sunday 28th December 2014 : Siberian Chiffchaff confirmed via twitter, many thanks to whoever helped me! (Ian Stewart).

Monday 29th December 2014 c07.20-08.40 : 5 Mute Swan, 5 Greylag W, 20+ Mallard, 6+ Gadwall, 10+ Tufted Duck, 10 Little Grebe, Cormorant, 2 Little Egret (both flew in from W probably roost site at Ruxley GPs), Grey Heron, 1-2 Water Rail (1 squealing in boggy area + possibly another chased by Moorhen - was still pretty gloomy!), 10+ Moorhen, 20+ Coot, 300+ Black Headed Gull (mainly over W but around 30 onsite), 4 Common Gull, 2 Stock Dove, Collared Dove, Woodpigeons, Ring-necked Parakeets, Kingfisher (showed well by boggy area then flew past very close), Green Woodpecker, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, Meadow Pipit (over Water Lane bridge calling), Pied Wagtail N, Grey Wagtail (showed very well E of 5 arches), 10+ Wren, 4+ Dunnock, 6+ Robin, 5+ Song Thrush, 20+ Blackbird, 6+ Goldcrest, 10+ Great Tit, 4+ Blue Tit, 6+ Long Tailed Tit, 3 Nuthatch (2 N Cray wood, 1 near Stable Meadow), Magpies, Jackdaws, Carrion Crows, 3+ Starling, House Sparrows (roost in hedges along path from Bexley Lane), 4+ Chaffinch, 6+ Goldfinch, Greenfinch. 42 species, very cold! (Ian Stewart).

Tuesday 30th December 2014 10.45-13.40 : 5 Mute Swan, 20+ Mallard, 11+ Gadwall, 9+ Tufted Duck, 10 Little Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, 2 Water Rails, 10+ Moorhen, 20+ Coot, Black Headed Gulls, 4+ Common Gull, 3+ Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Feral Pigeons, 4+ Stock Dove, Woodpigeons, 2+ Collared Dove, Ring-necked Parakeets, Kingfisher, 3 Great Spotted Woodpecker, Meadow Pipit over, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, 10+ Wren, 2+ Dunnock, Robins, Song Thrush, 1-2 Mistle Thrush inc 1 singing, 10+ Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Siberian Chiffchaff (around lake and ranging along to boggy area, last seen flying towards willows on s side c1.20pm), 6+ Goldcrest, Great Tits, Coal Tit, Blue Tits, Long Tailed Tits, 3 Nuthatch, 2 Treecreeper (1 in boggy area), Magpies, 2+ Jay, Jackdaws, Rook circling s of lake, Carrion Crows, Starlings, House Sparrows, 4+ Chaffinch, 9+ Goldfinch, 3 Bullfinch. 52 species on a lovely clear, cold day. (Ian Stewart + John Archer, Eric Brown, Phil Cliffe, Peter Graham et al)


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