Volunteers from Sentec, a local company, came for a few hours after work and helped create a fantastic hibernaculum for amphibians and reptiles at Logan’s Meadow reserve. The technique was very simple just piling up some fly tipped paving slabs and covering them with the removed turf but the result was slightly hobbit-esque but extremely valuable for these species.

These Colt’s-foot ( Tussilago farfara) were photographed at Barnwell West reserve. A beautiful reminder that we’ve done it! Spring is here! This plant’s habit of flowering before the leaves appear has given it the folk-name of ‘Son-before-father’. It can be found on waste land or dry banks with loose soil. It strongly prefers clay.

Other pleasing signs have been the Butterbur flowers emerging at Paradise nature reserve, another plant which flowers before the leaves show. Also spotting the first Bumble bees emerging and  Brimstone butterflies at Bramblefields reserve. Hazel catkins with the tiny, red female flowers next to them and Pussy willow buds appearing at Logan’s Meadow  have all been welcome sights as well.

Before the snow the Saturday volunteers enjoyed a beautiful sunny day at Logan’s meadow last weekend. The laid front hedge was given a tidy up and gaps were filled with tree whips of native species. Due to some of the larger trees falling in the wind and others being pollarded the central space in the reserve became a viable area to plant some more trees. New trees will give a more varied structure to the woodland and therefore increase the available habitats for species. Osiers were the chosen species to plant here. This beautiful willow will hopefully thrive in this wet woodland and provide a great source of early nectar for many foraging bees and pollinators come the spring.

Work started on the new pond this week at Bramblefields nature reserve in Chesterton. This work has been funded through the Chesterton sidings Train station development.

The pond has been situated next to the original pond at the reserve which is already home to a healthy newt and dragonfly population. The new larger pond has been designed with these species in mind and it is hoped that they will quickly populate this pond too.

These changes are part of a wider vision for the reserve which takes its inspiration from the lost brownfield site that the new station was built on. Brownfield sites have become some of the most species rich habitats in the UK, particularly for invertebrates and amphibians. The varied topography, low nutrient soils and plenty of opportunities for basking are some of the features that make Brownfield sites so successful in supporting and sheltering species. Therefore to include some of these components in the changes to Bramblefields seemed logical and essential. It will be exciting to see how many new species will be attracted to the site as the project unfolds and develops.

 

 

 

 

It was great to have access at the weekend to the East Cambridge Lakes, sometimes known locally as The Tins or Romsey lakes.

The public are not normally allowed in to the lakes as it is strictly reserved for Anglers only. However a work party of volunteers were allowed in to carry out some targeted conservation work for the day. The aim was to begin clearing sections of scrub with the view to open up areas attractive to solitary bees and wasps. The conditions around the Lakes are particularly suited to these kind of invertebrates.