Dow Stream Trolley Bridge

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.

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.