Moth enthusiasts meet regularly at Logan’s Meadow reserve in Chesterton to monitor what moth species are around especially since the new reed bed was planted on the site. Happily a Webb’s Wainscott moth was trapped (and released unharmed!) at this month’s session. It is particularly exciting to find this moth here as nationally it’s conservation status is rare. The moth’s larvae feed internally in the stems of mainly Yellow Flag Iris ( Iris pseudacorus) and Reed Mace ( Typha spp. ).
If you are interested in getting involved with the Moth surveying please email: Parks@cambridge.gov.uk
The barbecue at Byron’s Pool was unfortunately vandalised this summer. Rather than just excepting that this was the end of the road for the bits of slab and brick the conservation volunteers quickly constructed a hibernaculum for any passing amphibians and reptiles needing a good over-wintering spot. Conservation Volunteers I salute you!
Even with the lack of rain and punishing high temperatures the City Council pictorial meadows are still managing to bring interest and colour. These meadows are dotted about the city and provide not only a vital refuge, nectar, pollen and seed source but also help to connect our wildlife areas. To find your nearest one see the City Council website-pictorial meadows or find images at #cammeadows.
This image was taken at Ditton fields recreational ground.
The hot weather has added an interesting dynamic to life on the reserves, putting it mildly!
Most plants are suffering and life cycles are being put under extreme pressure. Evidence of this will become more apparent next year when the effect on numbers can be observed.
The rising temperatures have also dried up some of our ponds. This happened at Bramblefields nature reserve where the original pond became a slightly damp indent rather than a body of water. However this did provide the opportunity to easily remove the invasive pond weed Crassula helmsii or Newzealand pigmy weed also sometimes known as Australian swamp stonecrop. This plant can quickly smoother other aquatic plants and reduce germination rates, it has a mat forming tendency which results in a reduction of open water aquatic species. With no water in the pond it was easy for the conservation volunteers to remove the weed and hopefully majorly knock back its plans for domination.
Bio-security note! It’s important to always clean off nets, wellies and waders if you are ever in any ponds or streams. This is the best way to reduce the spread of these kinds of invasive species.
Brownfield sites are rapidly becoming some of the most valuable environments for many species in the UK. Often the last ‘wild spaces’ left for local communities these sites are unexpected havens for many invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles and plant life. The varying topography and low nutrient soils create perfect micro-climates for basking, nesting and hunting.
The Cambridge railway sidings were one such example of a species rich brownfield site. Recently transformed into the Cambridge North station this site was lost. Bramblefields nature reserve in Chesterton is adjacent to the new station. It therefore seemed logical to try and re-create some of the conditions lost by the development in this reserve.
An area of low species count was chosen on the reserve to do this. A low nutrient substrate was put down on top of a weed suppressant membrane. Then a varied topography was created with small pools and wood piles. A calcareous seed mix was put down to hopefully gain a few nectar rich plants for this summer. The area will be monitored closely in the coming seasons to see what species are attracted. Hopefully exciting updates will follow!