Autumn leaves

Just when you think you’ve found the most beautiful one, another catches your eye. Leaves are pretty spectacular at the moment. What is it about collecting them too? Like shells on the beach, another perfectly designed natural distraction to help ease our lock down stresses. Not to mention the fungi that’s popping up on all the reserves, reminding us of a whole underworld of activity going on in the soil below.

Toadstool mushroom  Orange tree mushrooms Shaggy ink cap mushroomMushrooms spotted on Stourbridge Common

Did you know that deciduous trees physically need a dormancy time to gather their energy for the coming spring. In the world of orchards this time is quite specific, Apples needing ideally 1000 hours of between 1-7 degrees in order to flower well. Orchardists (yes that’s a real word!) call these hours ‘chilling hours’. Perhaps we could view the lock down as something similar, ‘chilling hours’ where we restore and gather strength only to dazzle when the spring comes!

The Rush stream

Did you know that chalk streams are quite unique and precious habitats, due to their particular water quality, temperature and Oxygen levels? They provide a specialist habitat for certain species which is globally rare. Did you also know that 85% of chalk streams are found in the UK and most of these in the South and South East of England and some of them are found right here in Cambridge?

In response to this a specialist analysis of our local chalk streams has been commissioned by the City Council and is being carried out by the Wildlife trust and The Brown Trout Trust. The aim is to assess the health of these streams and then  design a programme of action for local groups and stakeholders to fund and implement together.

To find out more please click on the link below:

https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/chalk-streams

Logan's meadow reed bed.

Cambridge City Council and the newly formed Friend’s of Logan’s Meadow are embarking on a project to more than double the size of Logan’s Meadow Local Nature Reserve. This will contribute to Natural Cambridgeshire’s ‘Doubling Nature’ vision. https://cambridgeshirepeterborough-ca.gov.uk/assets/Uploads/Doubling-Nature-A-Natural-Vision-low-res.pdf

This change also has the potential to address the biodiversity and climate change emergencies declared by the City Council and help with the Council’s ambition to increase the City’s tree canopy cover.

It’s important to hear local views about how the space is used, how you would like to see the area shaped and managed in the future. For full information about how the area is currently used and our proposals (including plans) please go to the online consultation form using the link below:

https://tinyurl.com/y28wsetn

ivy bee pollen baskets

Take a moment today to stand in the sunshine looking at an ivy bush. It will be worth it!

ivy and berries bush If it’s a mature plant it should have those lovely structural yellow-green flower clusters covering it.

ivy flower

 

Then you might notice a gentle hum…….

This most probably is coming from the Ivy bee (Colletes hederae) A relative new comer to our island, first discovered in 2002 in Southern England. Originating from Europe the Ivy bee has undergone a rapid expansion in the last two decades and now can be found in most Southern counties and increasingly moving northward and inland. Ivy bee

ivy bee in nest

This ground nesting solitary bee can be found hovering around the ivy flowers gathering this late source of nectar. Hot spots in Cambridge for spotting these are Chesterton Rec and West Pit

but probably in your back garden too!

ivy bee pollen baskets                                  ivy bee on ivy

Solitary bees are high on the agenda for the City Council’s Pollinator Campaign, with bee bank construction being planned for some of the reserves soon. These will provide perfect nesting sites for these valuable pollinators. More info as this unfolds.

In the meantime try and spot these adorable, intrepid, bees flying now for a limited time only, terms and conditions apply. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While, what feels like the longest summer ever continues, how about upping your nature identification skills to impress your friends and kids? Or even to enjoy with your friends and kids?

Two really easy and informative surveys to take part in are firstly, The Big Butterfly Count https://bigbutterflycount.butterfly-conservation.org/

It’s running till August 9th, just count as many butterflies you see in 15mins. Also good to send your findings to @savebutterflies to double up on your useful data.

Secondly the Pollinator Monitoring Scheme is a little more involved but great for increasing your knowledge and appreciation of a few more species groups. Find it at: https://www.brc.ac.uk/irecord/poms-fit-count

Pollinators in general are good indicators or signalers, being sensitive to habitat loss or pollution, changes in their numbers can help guide future conservation responses. Therefore your data is important as well as a fun activity.

The Conservation Volunteers have been carrying out both these surveys on our beautiful local nature reserves of Cambridge. The Reserves

Here’s some pics of the kind of sights we have enjoyed!

6 spotted moths          Common Blue butterfly on wild carrot           Honey bee on Knapweed

It’s a beautiful world out there!