If you get a chance now is a great time to go butterfly spotting on our local nature reserves. A good three to learn and try to distinguish between are Ringlet, Meadow Brown and Gate Keeper. All can be found in similar habitats and can be easy to confuse. Check for them on Coldham’s Common in the grass and on the bramble blossoms. Also look out for wonderful hover fly action and of course our beloved bees busy at work.

Conservation volunteering on our beautiful local nature reserves is a great way to learn more about your natural environment, get fit and meet like-minded people, to name  just a few plus points!  At the moment we have two opportunities to volunteer. Once a week on a Thursday 10am -2:30pm or once a month on a Saturday morning 10am – 1pm. We undertake conservation work on projects around the city on our nature reserves. Learn such skills as hedge laying, coppicing, fencing and pond management. Volunteer just for fun or use as a work experience example on a CV.

If you think you might be interested email: parks@cambridge.gov.uk for more information.

The improvements made on Cherry Hinton Brook recently have enhanced the visual appearance of the brook, especially the section by Sainsbury’s, but what effect has it had for the flora and fauna living in it?

A monitoring project has begun to provide important baseline and trend data that may be able answer this question and help to guide future conservation work on the stream.

Some of the Saturday volunteers have undertaken this venture to test the water quality and health of the aquatic life in the stream since the flow deflectors were installed. Using techniques developed by the Anglers’ Riverfly project and a water sensor device called an Aquaread, the group have been collecting this valuable data on a monthly basis.

The aim is to gather a comprehensive record throughout the year of indicator species present and water quality which can serve as a basis for comparison with subsequent  and previous data collection.

Hopefully the data will show rapid improvements for the stream’s overall health due to the increased flow and improved light levels.

If you are interested in this project and becoming more familiar with your local stream and what lives in it please do get involved. Email: parks@cambridge.gov.uk for more information.

Endangered Water voles have set up residence in the new back water and reed bed created at Logan’s Meadow Local Nature Reserve. If you take the time to explore the reserve this summer, by the river in East Chesterton, you may be lucky and catch a glimpse of one of these endearing mammals, you may also be treated to several species of damsel and dragonfly now breeding on the reserve, as well as kingfishers, herons and dramatic aerial displays of swifts that have hopefully returned to nest in the Swift Tower.

Another great place to spot Water Voles is along Cherry Hinton Brook, particularly between Burnside and Sainsbury’s, where we have been working closely with the Friends of Cherry Hinton Brook to restore and protect the wildlife along this rare chalk stream.

More information on the brook and how to get involved can be found at:

http://www.friendsofcherryhintonbrook.org.uk/

More and more swifts are returning at this time of year and it will be exciting to see if any nest this season in the Swift tower at Logan’s Meadow. Last breeding season it was the Starlings which were more interested. This year to provide optimum nesting conditions for the Swifts small plates have been attached to the front access holes which restrict Starlings entering but allow Swifts to fit in easily. This will stop the Swift tower becoming a Starling tower instead!Fingers crossed more Swift mating pairs will decide that Logan’s Meadow, with its new reed bed is a good place to raise young. Keep your eyes peeled!