We hold regular wildlife walks with local experts throughout the year, meeting at the Visitor Centre. Follow us on Facebook or check this page for walk announcements and updates. All welcome, under 18’s need to be accompanied by an adult.
Nearest Tram stop: Arena or Harrington Road.
Meet the Community Partnership Officer and the Friends of South Norwood Country Park for an evening stroll through the dark in search of bats hunting over the meadows and lake. Meet at 8.30 PM by the visitor centre in the park. Wrap up warm and bring a torch if you have one to find your way. We use bat detectors to detect the presence of bats by converting their echolocation ultrasound signals, as they are emitted by bats, to frequencies audible to the human ear.
Next walk: TBA
Walk Report: September 2nd 2023
Walk Leader: Ian Glover
Assistant: Howard Dingley
Start Time: Sunset (7.46pm)
Weather: Warm, partly cloudy and still
Species: Common Pipistrelle, Soprano Pipistrelle, Noctule, Leisler’s Bat, Daubenton’s Bat, possible
We met outside the Visitor Centre at sunset; after a short introduction we began, taking the main path towards the lake. We encountered the first bats of the evening in the same place and time as on the previous walk, as we emerged from under the trees, by the corner of the pitch & putt: two Common Pipistrelles, patrolling along the south western edge of the meadow to our left, before swooping over our heads and continuing down the path that leads towards Harrington Road.
We continued on to platform 4. There was little visible activity over the lake. We detected Leisler’s Bat and Daubenton’t Bat, with the former around the island and the later along the edge of the reed bed, but they remained elusive, clinging to the shadows. We also detected a possible Serotine, but the signal was too faint to be certain. We detected both Common and Soprano Pipistrelles towards the tops of the poplars and willows by the platform, only occasionally glimpsing them as they broke cover and were silhouetted against the deep blue of the sky.
Next, we moved round to Platform 1, where a cloud of bats was feasting over the lake: an abundance of Common and Soprano Pipistrelles and Leisler’s wheeled and swooped in front of us, dark blurs before the darkening sky; a Noctule was detected towards the South Eastern edge of the lake; the bats were feeding mere inches above our heads. After enjoying the spectacular display for some minutes, we continued round the lake to the beach.
Lining up in front of the dead hedge, we pointed our detectors out over the lake, and, after short while, were rewarded with the distinctive rapid staccato of dry clicks that identifies Daubenton’s Bat. Even with the detectors it was very hard to spot amid the lengthening shadows over the water; finally, a soft-focused blur was seen skimming just above the surface of the lake. We glimpsed it two more times before heading back to the meeting point and concluding the walk.
Walk Report: August 19th 2023
Walk Leader: Ian Glover
Start Time: Sunset (8:16pm)
Weather: Warm and clear with a light breeze
Species: Common Pipistrelle, Soprano Pipistrelle, Serotine, Leisler’s Bat, Daubenton’s Bat
The walk began outside the Visitor Centre shortly after sunset. After a brief introduction we started walking down to the lake. We proceeded along the main path and, as we emerged from under the trees near the corner of the Pitch & Put, we detected our first bat, a Common Pipistrelle. We saw it hunting over the meadow to our left, flying in and out of the Poplars that line its South Western edge. Continuing on to Platform 4 we detected both Common and Soprano Pipistrelles fliting around the tops of the Poplars and Willows that surround the lake and the reed bed. As they left the cover of the trees we could see them clearly silhouetted against the twilight blue sky. There was no activity over the lake so we moved round the corner, towards Platform 1, and into the wooded area that borders Elmers End Road. As we walked along the path we were treated to more Common and Soprano Pipistrelles, mostly keeping to the tops of trees but sometimes emerging and even swooping directly over our group. We arrived at Platform 1 to be greeted by a veritable feeding frenzy over the lake: Common and Soprano Pipistrelles were joined by Leisler’s Bat and Serotines, feasting on the abundant insects. We stayed here for some time, enjoying spectacular displays as a cloud of bats wheeled and dove before us, still visible in the twilight.
After a time we continued on, round the corner and past Goals Gym, out into the meadow by the Elmers End tram stop entrance. Here we detected more Common and Soprano Pipistrelles patrolling the tree line and periodically passing directly overhead. Finally we headed to the beach; here, pressed up against the dead hedge, we searched for Daubenton’s Bat, with our detectors aimed low over the lake – Daubenton’s typically hunt by skimming just over the surface of bodies of water. After a few minutes we picked up the distinctive dry staccato on our heterodyne detectors, however we still didn’t see it as it remained in the shadows cast by the willow trees on the lake. Shortly after it was spotted, fuzzy in the half light, as it moved swiftly between these lengthening shadows. At this point we returned to the Visitor Centre, bringing the walk to a close.
Walk report: May 10th 2019
Our Bat Walks are becoming more and more popular year by year. We thought 30 people last year was a good number but this year, we had around 43 adults and children joining in. The number was so large that we had to take turns on the pontoons!
The species of bats did not number as many as last year but there were many of those bats we did see. The Common pipistrelle, Soprano pipistrelle and Leisler’s bat made an appearance in another delightful walk led by Meike Weiser, Community Conservation Partnership Officer from Croydon Council.
Walk report: May 11th 2018
Spotting bats on our bat walks can sometimes be a bit ‘hit and miss’. This time was definitely a ‘hit’.
Around thirty adults and children (our largest number to date) gathered at the visitor centre at 8.30 pm to listen to an introductory talk by Meike Weiser, Community Conservation Partnership Officer from Croydon Council. As the sun went down, we made our way to the lake in the hope of spotting one or two bats. We were not disappointed!
With the help of bat detectors and one enthusiast’s very sophisticated bat detector linked to an ipad, we identified six species of bat. This is even more amazing considering there are only around seven species known to be in Croydon.
Flying around the lake and above our heads were the Common pipistrelle, Soprano pipistrelle and one we haven’t seen before, a Nathusius’ pipistrelle. Added to those, were the Leisler’s bat, Noctule and Serotine. The only one we didn’t see which we did on the last bat walk was the Daubenton’s bat. Meike pointed out that it was rare to spot three big bats in one night.
It truly was a thrilling experience which we hope to match at our next Bat Walk.
To learn more visit the Bat Conservation Trust www.bats.org.uk
Next Walk: TBA
On a crisp, cold but sunny January morning we set off from the Visitor Centre with Rob (Park Warden) as our leader and main bird spotter. Twenty-eight people braved the cold including ten children & one baby in a pushchair. Any standing water in the numerous pools and the lake were frozen over and there was frost glittering on the scrub.
The children all had record sheets to log their sightings and many of them had been provided with binoculars. Their first sighting was a Robin shortly followed by a Wood Pigeon, they were able to count lots of those!
Rob was quickly spotting lots of birds – see the bird list below. We made our way to the lake where coots and mallards were waddling along on the ice. The children were excited to see two Mute Swans and I was excited to see a Gadwall which was a first for me. Canada Geese were coming into land, skidding on the ice and two mallard drakes were having a furious fight.
The birds we saw included: Robin, Wood Pigeon, Long Tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Magpie, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Chaffinch, Carrion Crow, Dunnock, Starling, Goldfinch, Sparrowhawk, Ring-necked Parakeet, Cormorant, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Black-headed Gull, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Coot, Mallard, Moorhen, Gadwall, Shoveler, Khaki Campbell.
Join the Friends of the Country Park and be part of one of nature’s amazing spectacles — listen to the birds welcoming another spring day. Early start – meet the Friends and the Countryside Warden at 5 AM by the Visitor Centre, off Albert Road.
Next walk: TBA
Walk Report: May 13th 2023
It was an early start at 5.30am and a little chilly but everyone made it on time. It was getting light and the birds were in full voice around the car park, giving us a chance to get our “ears in” on the different songs. The hawthorns and cow parsley looked lovely, like white lace everywhere and strong scent filled the air. We did not have to go far to hear the mellow tones of a blackbird and the repeating phrases of a nearby song thrush singing together sitting high in hawthorns. The other side of the path the rapid, loud song of a wren coming from lower down in the hedge out competed both. Going past the pitch and putt we heard high pitched rhythmic song coming from a yew tree about 30 metres away, it was the distinctive but sometimes hard to hear goldcrest. A bird that likes to use dense evergreens, yews are a good place to listen for them. Just at the next corner a blackcap perching in hawthorn was heard clearly, starting with a few
scratchy notes it quickly moves to a brief flute-like song which it repeated as we stood close by. Shortly after, along the path by the main meadows the very scratchy song on a whitethroat came from deep in the top of another hawthorn, sadly we did not see it and throughout the rest of the walk the whitethroats seemed to remain quiet. A little way off the distinctive song on a chiffchaff repeating its name added to the species of the common summer warblers found at SNCP.
Walking across the meadow to the lake someone pointed out a kestrel flying over which then hovered at the far end of the field hunting for prey. As we closed in on the lake a sharp loud chip-like call alerted us to a Great Spotted Woodpecker flying over. We could see its characteristic undulating flight as it travelled away from us. The next stop was the lake and we had a good view of a grey heron before it took off at our arrival. The reed beds here are good for another summer visitor the reed warbler, amazing to think they have flown from wintering grounds in Africa to nest in Croydon. While listening out for the reed warblers we were disturbed by the explosive song of a Cetti’s warbler, this species now a resident bird in the southern parts of the UK. “Our” one was very vocal and followed us around the lake. Eventually we did hear the chattering and jittery notes of several reed warbler. By now the sun had been well up for sometime and we walked back to the car park no doubt thinking a good breakfast was well deserved.
I hope everyone who came on the walk enjoyed it as I certainly did.
Birds seen/ heard:
- Canada Goose
- Grey Heron
- Collared Dove
- Great Spotted Woodpecker
- Dunnock, Robin
- Song Thrush
- Cetti’s Warbler
- Reed Warbler
- Great Tit
- Ring-necked Parakeet
Walk report: May 5th 2018
For the eight of us who dragged ourselves out of our beds for a 5 am start, there were many rewards on our annual Dawn Chorus Walk led by warden, Rob Spencer.
As dawn broke over the Country Park, we were greeted with the call of the wren – the loudest noise for such a small bird and certain to wake us if we were still feeling a bit sleepy. This was soon followed by the many different songs of the aptly named song thrush. As we wandered through the mist hanging over the wetlands, we heard a black cap warbler, a green finch, a great tit and a couple of Egyptian geese flew over our heads.
The view over the mist-covered lake was spectacular and a sign of the warm day to come. On our way back to the visitor centre, we spotted reed warblers, dunnocks and white throats who are late risers compared to the others. All in all, we heard and saw around 20 species of birds. It was definitely worth the early start.
Next Walk: TBA
18 Friends of SNCP gathered for the walk. What a great morning we had for it bright and sunny with a gentle breeze. As we strolled through the Park, Malcolm Bridges pointed out the various species and also talked about the plants and vegetation the butterflies feed on.
We saw 10 species during 2 hours and Malcolm showed us where the colonies of Purple and White Letter Hairstreak congregate, high in the oaks and elms on the Elmers End border. The elms are the food plant of the White Letter and the best time to see them active in the tree canopy is during light summer evenings. Very special, as the White Letter Hairstreak is a Priority Species for conservation.