Wednesday, 30 January 2013

an afternoon stroll around Lake Farm...

After some heavy showers this morning, the weather cleared up nicely, if a bit windy, so I decided to pop down to Lake Farm after lunch. I didnt hold much hope in seeing the Stonechats, they dont appear to like windy weather and hunker down low, but I did hope to see the Mistle Thrushes. Sadly I didnt see them either. The area where I'd last seen them had no leaf litter left at all. Did the wind blow it all away ? Or an over enthusiastic Council worker ? I searched everywhere for the two Mistles but had no luck at all.

The Reed Buntings were very active. When they werent hankered down in the hedgerows, they were flitting around the brambles.

this male was battling against the wind !
I also came across a nice sized flock of Long-tailed lovelies. I managed to count at least 15 before they flitted away, and even got one shot in focus (the other 28 shots were blurred !! The little beautys are way too active).

I also found a solitary Goldfinch. I've seen flocks of these flying over Lake Farm quite often, but rarely see them perched for long.

Yesterday I bought the weekly Hayes & Harlington Gazette after seeing Lake Farm had made it to the front page. Intresting article stemming from the local MP, John McDonnell, and his RSPB Big Birdwatch last Saturday. In the article it states the following.....
'Londons Mayor, Boris Johnson, has raised 'major concerns' over the Lake Farm primary school plans, questioning its green belt location. A letter to Hillingdon Council planners from the Greater London Authority suggests the 5.6 acre footprint of the site, at the eastern end of Lake Farm Country Park off Botwell Lane, could be reduced. The current layout 'appears to have a more harmful impact on the openness of the green belt than necessary' says the report. If it was found that less space was needed for the school, then some of the 24 potential sites the council had previously dismissed in favour of Lake Farm could become options again.'
This is brlliant news for Lake Farm. The Transport for London (TfL) has also expressed concerns about added congestion to the area and more bus service disruption, should the plans for the school go ahead. The public consultation on the application to build a new school on Lake Farm, finished in early January and we are just waiting to hear on a date set for it to go before a planning commitee.
On my next shifts off work I am hoping to meet with another local resident, Erin, who has already seen the proposed plans for the school layout. We've been working together to think of more ways to bring the publics attention to the proposed buildings. Erin is very freindly with the Transition Heathrow group, who are in favour of Save Lake Farm. I will keep you posted of any developments.
So to end todays blog, here are a couple of photos of Lake Farm on a sunny but windy January day....

Monday, 28 January 2013

post-script for blog entry 28th January....

I have mis-identified the Thrushes as Song, they are in fact Mistle thrushes. Thanks Sandra for pointing this out...........I blame the wine (wink wink).

But seriously this is even better news for Lake Farm as it was only recently publicised that the Mistle thrush is in serious decline. I'll be looking out for these beautys more carefully from now on.

Lake Farm bird count

As the weather forecast was for a sunny morning and a rainy afternoon, I trotted off to Lake Farm at 8am for a bird count and to see if the Stonechats were still around.

My friend Tony James had spent over an hour at Lake Farm on Saturday with our local MP John McDonnell and some others, for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. He sent me the following list of birds seen (which I have also entered on the LNHS site count)

20+ Fieldfare
2 Parakeets
10 Reed Buntings
3 Stonechat
1 Cormorant over
1 Sparrowhawk
1 Kestrel
4-5 Great Tit
6+ Blue Tit
4-5 Blackbird
20 Magpie
plenty of pigeons, black-headed and common gulls
1 Greenfinch
2 possible Coal Tit
1 Chaffinch
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
3 Robin
heard Skylark but not seen

I had very similar sightings myself, but added male Blackcap and pair of Song Thrush. I also saw Fieldfares today, but couldnt get any photos as they were feeding amongst the gulls on the left hand field which is fenced off.

I also had 3 Chaffinch, one of which was defintley showing signs of Fringilla papillomavirus, a nasty looking virus that appears to only affect Chaffinches and Bramblings on their legs and feet. Happily though it does not appear to affect the birds feeding or flying abilitys, and in the worst cases the bird becomes lame or loses any badly infected digits.

The numbers of Reed Buntings on site are a great indication that the site is so variable. Who needs reeds when you've got swathes of uncut cow parsley and grass ? Today the Reed Buntngs again seemed to prefer the thorny hedgerows along the outer perimeter, but that could have been because they were quite a few dogs in the park today. And I was very chuffed to see three Stonechats after my visit on the 14th January when I couldnt find any.
Highlight of my morning was seeing a pair of Song Thrushes. I normally only see one when I go to Lake Farm, but these two were feeding together rooting through leaf litter, and not even bothering to chase off the Blackbirds and Chaffinches that were feeding alongside them. Here's hoping Lake Farm is home to some baby Song Thrushes in Spring.

tasty worm
Comparing my count to that of 14th January, the numbers of Wood Pigeons and Common Gulls have dropped, and so have the Robins. The male Blackcap was again pottering about in the Mahonia bushes. Still no sign of a female and I suspect the male will move on when the weather warms up.
But another succesful and enjoyable morning at Lake Farm, I always go armed with a cup of Greggs take-away coffee and a sausage roll, and sit for the first hour on a bench just enjoying the quietness. Quite surprising really considering where Lake Farm is situated.
And following on from yesterdays post, my Mum has identified the pink berry tree that the Waxwings feed on as Sorbus 'Pink Pagoda'. Its classified as a small tree that grows to no more than 8 metres. Thanks Mum xxx

Sunday, 27 January 2013

South Ealing Waxwings and a quick visit to the Wetland Centre

After a grey start and some showers, the clouds cleared to reveal glorious winter sunshine. I intended to go to the London Wetland Centre anyway today, so decided to stop off at South Ealing, where for the last 28 days a small group of Waxwings have been seen.

And they didnt disappoint. I've seen Waxwings before but they've been flying over or far away. The South Ealing lovelies gave me some cracking views today.

There are nine Waxwings there at the moment, and they fly constantly from the pink berry bush in someones front garden to the tallest tree by the station platform. There is a resident Mistle Thrush, who although doesnt physically attack the Waxwings, does chase them off as soon as they land in the pink berry bush (I keep saying pink berry bush as Im not 100% sure what variety it is. Sorbus ?).

Spent a very pleasing 90 minutes there then made my way to the London Wetland Centre. The weather still looked promising so was hoping to get some nice shots.
Popped into the first hide (the Dulverton) to find some of my birder friends already there and peering intently out of the hide window. A Bittern was sitting low in the reeds less than 10 feet away from the hide. His beak and head were barely visible, and I got no photos at all, although Oscar Dewhurst and some others managed to get some shots. There are six reported Bitterns on site at the moment, an excellent number considering the London Wetland Centre is still quite new (less than 15 years old). While we were all waiting for the Bittern to move, the red head Smew came briefly into view. This bird has been hanging around the Wetland Centre for a couple of weeks now, and appears to be quite happy. Below is just a record shot for me.

There are good numbers of ducks at the Wetlands at the moment. A large raft of Gadwall landed while I was there and two drake Pin-tail Ducks. All over the site you can see large numbers of Teal, Shovellers and Wigeon. From the Peacock tower you can get good views of Common Snipe. There were four today openly bopping around. I also got to see some lovely close ups of the Lapwings. I love these little birds. They're so adaptable. They can be seen on farmers fields as well as on large bodies of water. One of the best indications of a raptor in the area is when all the Lapwings take to the air.
So eventually I went home with a smile on my face. Day one of four days off and I'd seen Waxwings, Bittern and a red head Smew. Bring on the vino........ 

Saturday, 26 January 2013

I should have been working.....

For the first time since New Years Day I took my camera to work today, and later on I was very glad that I did.

Initially I wanted to record some of the birds that come into my work yard. Nothing exciting but seeing how the yard birds behaviour has changed over the last week (pairing off, singing etc), I wanted to capture some of them on film so I might recognise any markings for the future.

A pair of Collared Doves were squabbling in the fir trees, and seemed to be in competition as to who got the highest vantage point using my trucks and the yard lighting.

Truck wing mirrors are good vantage points
The Woodpigeons love using our water filled pot-holes for batheing. The one below sat in that postion (with its wing up) for ages......

There are large numbers of Magpies in my yard (counted 12 sitting in one tree a couple of weeks ago) and only one of them has found where I hang the bird feeders......

Tried all day to get a photo of the resident Robins (they've defintley paired off) hanging off the feeder but they didnt oblige me. Last week there were five Robins bickering, now peace is restored and just one pair remain. They feed next to each other and sing all day long.
The high-light of my day however was when I was sitting in the office watching the RSPB Big Gardenwatch Webcams (thoroughly recommend it as a calming influence - they're being switched back on again tomorrow at 8am - the sound and picture quality is outstanding), when I heard Fieldfares calling. Thinking they were on the webcam, I ignored them at first and just happened to look up and see five fly over the yard and appear to settle behind the fir trees into the horse paddocks beyond. I very quickly diverted all the work phones to my mobile and shot out of the office.
The entrance to the horse paddocks are gated off so I peered over the main gate first. On the right are two paddocks with three horses in, and on the left is an extra large paddock with two horses in. In all three paddocks there were Fieldfares and Starlings. I lost count at 40 Fieldfares ! As quietly as I could I opened the gate and tiptoed in (not easy to do when the gate creaks and you're wearing toe-tector work boots). Luckily there are several small trees lining the 'avenue' between the paddocks, so I slowly walked to the first one and tried to make myself look like part of the tree. It seemed to work because within minutes of doing so, some of the Fieldfares got nearer and nearer to me......


After an hour photographing the beautiful Thrushes, and knowing I still had work to do in the office, I made my way back but got some lovely close up views of a Pied Wagtail. I'm hoping this is the same Waggy that was frequently seen in the yard last Summer. It's very easy to get close to. I got some pics today but they were out of focus as I was nearer to it than expected.
All in all, a really nice day. Work went well, my truck drivers were a good bunch and made my life easy, and I got to see a lovely large flock of Fieldfares. I even had a Red Kite fly over later on. I'm used to seeing Buzzards, Kestrels and Sparrowhawks, but have never seen a Red Kite over my yard.
As it was my last shift for four days, I happily went home to upload this and enjoy a bottle of Echo Falls. Well deserved methinks.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Wintry visit to Rhyl

I've just come back from seeing family and friends in Rhyl, North Wales. As most of the UK is now covered in snow, the journey there and back by train was delayed several times, but worth it. I love going up there, and Im always spoilt rotten when I do.

Normally when I go to stay at my cousins, I always spend a couple of mornings on Rhyl beach. This time I managed just a couple of hours before blizzards sent me scuttling back to warmth. I've never seen snow settle on a beach before and I got as many photos as I could.

There were plenty of waders and gulls along the sea edge as the tide was going out. The usual Oystercatchers, Sanderlings and Redshanks were tottering around. Visibility meant getting any half decent photos near on impossible. A couple of Godwits posed for a while.

And a lovely group of Sanderlings, Dunlins and a Ringed Plover tried to pretend I hadnt seen them, and hid amongst the rocks.

Going back to my cousins bungalow from the beach I flushed a little brown job, that then perched right in front of me. I knew it was a pipit of some sort, but had to get some friends help with the full id. Turns out it is a Meadow Pipit, and a beautiful one at that.

The previous day I went out to Denbigh Moor to watch my family sledging (I didnt join in, Im way too accident prone !!). Got some lovely shots of little Jack and Aimee enjoying the snow.

So a lovely weekend had by all, and quite a few glasses of rose wine drunk while I caught up on the gossip with my family and friends.....though Buster (below) seems to prefer lager........

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Bird-watching at work.....

No photos today as I was at work, and although I have taken my camera in when I've known it to be a quiet day, today was not a quiet day work-wise. It doesnt matter too much though as I've taken my old pair of bins to work, so even if I am stuck behind the desk, I can still get a 'bird-fix'.

I'm quite lucky where I work. It may be a dusty dirty lorry yard, but all down two sides of the yard are mature conifers, behind one row of them is a dis-used fishing lake and at the back of the yard are three very large horse paddocks with mature oaks and birch trees.

Cormorants, swans, geese, ducks, herons and gulls are seen all day long flying over the yard to go the lake. There's a small nature reserve opposite the work entrance gates, and two resident Kestrels and a male Sparrowhawk are regular visitors to the yard coming from that direction.

I've hung a few fatball feeders in the conifers, which are now attracting numerous Blue and Great Tits and the yard Robin, who has learnt to hang upside down off the nearest feeder. I've seen two Goldcrests recently chasing each other in and out of the tops of the furtherest conifers.

Magpies, Collared Doves and Woodpigs take advantage of the deep pot-holes to bathe and drink. In the summer I had five Goldfinches batheing in the nearest pot-hole to my office window, and in August I saw my first ever Yellow Wagtail come down for a drink. The yard is big enough to accomodate at least three pairs of Blackbirds at the moment. A lot of dawn singing and territorial behavhiour is going on.

When we first moved into the yard last June, my night drivers were reporting back to me they had heard owls hooting, seen foxes and one rescued a hedgehog that had wandered under his truck. Last August I was seeing a Hobby nearly every day for over a week, and a Little Owl was regularly seen sitting sentry like in the corner where the conifers meet. We even had a Heron who liked to sit on top of the parked up trucks.

My recent 'excitement' is continously watching a male Chaffinch following a male Kestrel around. Not entirely sure what that behavhiour means. No other little birds 'mobs' the Kestrel like the little Chaffinch does. And today I watched the Chaffinch 'mob' the Kestrel, who in turn 'mobbed' a Buzzard.

So I may not be out and about, but I'm watching the work birds whilst getting paid for working........

Monday, 14 January 2013

Leave no stone(chat) unturned.....

I was quite excited about doing my mid-month bird count at Lake Farm in the snow, until I woke up to find that hardly any snow had settled. Lake Farm looked bleak and dreary, with only a few millimetres of snow sitting on the teasle heads and the tree trunks.

My bird count started well with over 40 Black-headed and 12 Common Gulls on the west field. Also had one Herring Gull, that I had to photograph to identify it when I got home. Im 99% sure its a 3rd-winter bird, but have entered it in my LNHS report with a question mark. A male Blackcap was pottering in and around the mahonia shrubs. The west-side scrub gave up hardly anything except for a couple of Robins and two Ring-necked Parakeets.

I started making my way around the flooded Willow patch when it started snowing again. It wasnt heavy snow, more like horizontal sleet, and it wasn't settling on the ground, but with the sleet/snow the temperature dropped a bit more, so head down I made for the east-side hedgerows.

To get to the east-side I walk around the long grasses and bramble bushes. This is where I normally see the Stonechats and Reed Buntings. Most of the cow parsley seed heads are intact and the Stonechats are often seen perching on the top, or clinging on to the delicate stems. But today........not one Stonechat to be seen. I flushed a couple of female Reed Buntings from deep down in the bottom of the grasses, but the other ones were hankered deep into the hedgerow. They obviously didnt like the sleet either. Counted eight Reed Buntings in total (which is 2 up from when I was last at Lake Farm on the 5th Jan) and 15 House Sparrows, all taking shelter.

At this point I put my camera away, just too wet to risk getting it damaged, and the light wasn't overly great for getting any photos anyway.

For another two hours I crept around looking for any of the Stonechats, even tucking myself under one of the larger shrubs to get shelter from the sleet for over half an hour and scanning the grasses and brambles for any of the Stonechats. Still nothing. A Cormorant and a Mute Swan flew over, the Blackbirds and Carrion Crows seemed to enjoy the sleety weather feeding out on the grassy paths, and a Song Thrush was rooting through the dead leaves. But not one Stonechat topped.

So after being out and about for four hours, getting fairly cold and wet, and taking hardly any photos, I made my way home to warmth and a large glass of Kumala Pinotage Rose. The up-news is that during that four hours, on my first official Lake Farm bird count for the LNHS, I got 22 species of birds and had a final tally of 171.

My next count is due at the end of January, but I will probably pop back down before then if only to check the Stonechats are still around. On 5th Jan there were two pairs regularly topping and showing themselves. I had a secret desire that they would actually stick around to breed ths year...........fingers crossed they just didnt like todays weather and were tucked away deep in the bramble bushes. Only time will tell.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

London Wetland Centre Smew

Todays weather forecast was cold, crisp and bright so I ambled along to the London Wetland Centre hoping the cold snap would bring the Bitterns out into the open. It didnt, but a rather gorgeous 1st winter Smew was around. It was a bit human-shy, so the only photos I did get were taken from the Peacock tower overlooking the main lake.

After those brief views, the Smew flew off and landed in a far corner where even the birders with the big strong powerful scopes couldnt find it.
Apart from that there wasnt much around. Several small mixed flocks of Siskins, Redpolls and Goldfinch were flitting around the tops of the highest trees, and there was a Goldcrest around the usual place near the Lodge. Couldnt get photos of any of them so contented myself with a shot of a sleeping Swan, and a fluffy Little Grebe.


Saturday, 12 January 2013

London Beardies

My first day out and about since being ill, and how better to spend it then with some of the Barnes Birds and a visit to Kensington Gardens/Hyde Park. Bearded Tits had been sighted in Hyde Park yesterday, but I didnt hold out much hope on them still being there today.

Lets just say I was proven very very wrong..........

Not one beautiful little female, but two......although a fellow photographer later said he thought it was one female and a juvenile. Both were ringed, but although I can get some quite good close ups of the rings, I cant read the numbers.
So even though it was bitterly cold, the sun barely peeped out all day and we were suffering from numb faces and finger-tips, seeing the little Beardies was brilliant.
The other Barnes Birds also really enjoyed feeding the tame Parakeets, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Chaffinch and Robin. Even Arthur the half-tail squirrel gently took nuts from our hands. All in all a very pleasant day even if the Tawnys and Little Owls were hiding away from the cold wind.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Man-flu, Armchair Bird-watching and other news

I apologise for the lack of posts over the last few days, I've been bed-ridden and home-bound by a particularly nasty cold/flu type virus, which I can honestly describe as the dreaded 'man-flu'. It must have been 'man-flu' as even my sense of humour eluded me, and I spent more hours asleep than I did awake.

However I am feeling better, and have been watching the birds from my armchair, normally with at least one of my three cats keeping me company. We've seen a Peregrine go over and scatter all the feral pigeons on the nearby roof tops, the resident Robin singing its heart out under the artifcial street lamps, and a growing flock of Long-tailed Tits, Goldfinches and a lone Lesser Redpoll visiting the bare tree that grows up from downstairs garden flat. Not bad considering I am in the middle of a busy built-up town.

I have also had confirmation from the LNHS that they would like it if I was to continue Peter Naylors bird count studies at Lake Farm. I must admit, I approached them after talking to Peters family after his funeral, but only because I believe what Peter done over the years was too valuable NOT to continue.

I will never be at the standard Peter was, but his records for 2010 have been forwarded to me, so I know how to, at least, participate and forward my own sightings now. It's also incredibly intresting to read what Peter did see at Lake Farm in 2010. The yearly list included Northern Wheatears being seen for several months running, and over 150 Redwings being seen in the heavy snowfall in that January. He also noted an escapee Vulture, that soared overhead being swiftly followed by a Red Kite.

As my 'man-flu' gets steadily better, I hope to be back at Lake Farm at some point this weekend. There is snow forecast, and Lake Farm has always looked enchanted with a covering of snow.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Save Lake Farm peaceful demonstration

Please sign the petition to help Botwell Common

A great day. A large group of us met at The Skylark statue at 11am, and from there marched to the bandstand in Hayes Town to protest against the decision to build a school on the land.

The local council want to build a school on 5 precious acres of Lake Farm aka Botwell Common. Despite there being various other empty plots around Hayes Town, the council has submitted a planning application for a three entry form school for up to 630 children, a nursery, play area, sports pitch and a Special Resource Provision Unit.

John McDonell, the local MP has been very vocal in his support for Save Lake Farm. He wanted the demonstration to be noisy and loud, so we had megaphone, whistles and a large 'ghetto' blaster pulled by a tandem bike.

Please sign the petition at the top of the page. Every little voice counts.

Four-legged friends want a say too.....



After the demo, I walked back to Lake Farm to see what birds were around today. I expected to see Stonechats and Reed Buntings. At least two pairs of both have stayed over this winter, and they didnt disappoint. One of the male Stonechats was as curious as ever, and let me get fairly close before swooping down into the long grass. Instead of two pairs of Reed Buntings, I found three pairs, so that was a pleasant surprise.

The area around the willows is so flooded now that a pair of mallards have moved in. But apart from being a bt muddy, the rest of Lake Farm is okay and walkable. There were plenty of dog walkers out and about, and the BMX track was full of kids.

As I was leaving to come home I heard a 'yaffle' behind me and turned to find a lovely male Green Woodpecker perched just in front of me. Made a nice finale to a great day. And the wine waiting for me at home, made it all the more worthwhile.



But the strangest thing I saw today was a big fat pollen laden Bee feeding on the Mahonia. It's only the 5th of January, surely way too early to see bees ?? It might be fairly mild, but even Im still wearing a thermal vest when Im out and about.


Friday, 4 January 2013

Peter Naylors funeral.

Today I attended the funeral of a good friend, Peter Naylor. He passed away Xmas Eve after a long illness aged just 62.

Peter was a birder I looked up to. I met him at Lake Farm many years ago, and every time we saw each other we got chattier and chattier. His sense of humour was brilliant and dry. It will be very strange going to Lake Farm now and not see his figure peering into all the hedgerows, or counting all the gulls on the playing fields.

Back on my birthday last July, it was Peter that discovered a Red-backed Shrike flitting amongst the scrub at Lake Farm. News got out, and soon Lake Farm was overwhelmed with twitchers. The Shrike decided it liked where it was, and stayed for an incredible 13 days. During this time Peter made sure every twitcher and birder signed the Save Lake Farm petition, and I believe he personally handed these signed petitions to John McDonell, the local MP.

R.I.P  Peter, your knowledge and personality will be sorely missed.

Peters order of service
If it wasnt for Peter, no-one would have ever seen this beauty.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

First visit of the year to Cranford Park

As mentioned yesterday, we found Little Owls at Cranford Park last year, so I decided to pop down to CP today to see if they had come back. Last year they werent seen after their one and only owlet fledged (around mid September). Well if they are back, I couldnt find them today, and talking to the local dog walkers, they also hadnt seen them, although a few of them have seen a Barn Owl most early mornings. A slow two hour stroll around the ancient woodland provided me with brief glimpses of Nuthatch, Goldcrest, Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers, Mistle and Song Thrush, Jackdaws, Crows, Ring-necked Parakeets and a solitary Kestrel, along with the usual Robins, Blackbirds, Blue and Great Tits.
I spent some time in the grounds of St Dunstans church as well. Previous visits to this site have rewarded me with weasels, but there were none around today. St Dunstans is a medieval church and graveyard, mentioned in the Doomsday Book. The below gravestone is situated by the entrance gates. The wording has always fascinated me and I once spent some time trying to research the deceased but to no avail.
Cranford Park and St Dunstans cover about 144 acres of land. Its surrounded on three sides by Heathrow airport, the A312 and the M4. The park itself is the old grounds of Cranford House which was destroyed back in the 1940s. The only remaining orginal buildings are the 18th century stable blocks and parts of the ha-ha and walled garden. Remains of the old ice house are buried in a copse you can walk through. To visit Cranford Park, the car park is just off Junction 3 on the M4. if coming by public transport get the 195 bus from outside Hayes and Harlington train station, get off at The Crane pub, and access Cranford Park via the meadows.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

New Year Resolution

Last summer I made up up this blog page, but never added any posts, so my New Year resolution is to get it going. Please exscuse any 'newbie' errors that I may make. I have two local patches that I frequent. Lake Farm in Hayes, Middlesex, and Cranford Park in Cranford (obviously). Both sites are quite different in their make up.
Lake Farm is a large open space, around 60 acres in size. It is a prime nesting site for Skylarks, Whitethroats, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel. There are large areas of long grass kept that way to encourage the Skylarks to breed. The one and only statue at the north end of the park, is of a Skylark. Back in July 2012 Lake Farm played host to a stunning Red-backed Shrike for 13 days, and attracted twitchers from miles away.
Cranford Park is a more historical site. There is ancient woodland, a small medieval church and cemetrey, boggy areas to the back, the river Crane runs down one boundary and there is a large area of council-controlled green grass land. Here Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Green Woodpeckers flourish, along with other woodland birds. It was here last year that myself and the Park Warden found and rescued a kestrel chick that had fallen/been pushed from its nest. We also discovered a family of Little Owls in 2012. Lake Farm is currently under threat from developers, who want to build a new school on the northern tip of the site. Links are below for anyone wanting to sign a petition or follow the news on Twitter or Facebook.