Swift Tower

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!

Coldhams Common

The new management plan for Coldham’s Common has been approved. This means that the site will be sensitively managed with nature and people in mind.

If you would like to view the plan it can be found at :

http://democracy.cambridge.gov.uk/documents/s33268/Committee%20Report%20March16%20FINAL.pdf

 

http://democracy.cambridge.gov.uk/documents/s33269/Coldhams%20Common%20Draft%20Management%20Plan%20FINAL%202.pdf

Toadstool

Good news! A never before recorded fungus (for this area) has been spotted at Byron’s pool nature reserve. This wonderful fungus has a rounded head and a shaggy ochre-brown stalk. The fruiting body is produced between September and November but the stalk remains in place throughout the winter months which allows a longer period for possible identification.

The head of the fungi is a mass of spores which have a warty appearance and are brown and spherical in shape.

The species prefers dry and sandy banks or edges of woodland. It is associated with decaying wood particularly Elm. It was first named in 1785 in Suffolk and it is now classified as endangered and is fully protected in the UK. It is just one of four species of non-lichenized fungi to receive protection under schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act. Furthermore it is a priority species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) and is included in the English Nature recovery programme.

Gall

This stem gall was spotted at 9 Wells nature reserve this week. Home to the larvae of a small wasp this gall is known as Diastrophus rubi and is host specific to the Dewberry or Bramble but has been recorded on Raspberry canes. Galls are very interesting natural phenomenon as they form on plants in response to secreted hormones from mainly insects but they can also be triggered by bacteria and fungus. They are not a sign of disease but consist of healthy plant tissue which is full of nutrients for the growing larvae within. This tissue is also easily digestible for the young larvae. This particular gall would have begun life in the spring as a green elongated swelling punctuated by red pimples indicating the chamber of a larvae. These galls can contain up to two hundred chambers. The gall changes colour from green to yellow to purplish then to light brown with the larvae overwintering inside before emerging the following spring. Once the galls become woody they can stay on the stem for several years.

Autumn and winter are a good time to spot them due to the lack of foliage.

 

 

The elongated swellings are green at first punctated with red pimples that indicates the inner chamber of a larva. In summer the galls go from yellow to purplish to light brown with the larva overwintering inside before emerging the following spring. One gall may contain up to 200 rounded chambers. Once used the galls become woody and can remain on stems for several years