A message from Peter Beckenham, Ranger at Trumpington Meadows.
Thanks to everyone who came along last week, we finished moving the last of the scrub cut and chipped over winter along the butterfly bank and tended some of the newly planted areas. Before starting we took a look at the extent of the flood last week which saw some of our fields in the south demonstrate just why they are called ‘floodplain meadows’. Although it looks quite shocking, these meadows are fulfilling a key ecological function through seasonal inundation as well as providing a glimpse of historical landscapes. It was interesting to watch a little egret feeding in the newly flooded grassland as it took advantage of the new opportunity.
Volunteering is on next Wednesday 18th April, we’ll be meeting at 10am by the Ranger’s Office (best accessed from the estate or Byron’s Pool. The forecast is supposed to be ok so we’ll be doing a litter pick and some cutting along the swales and looking at solutions for some of the muddier stretches of the path – possibly laying some hardcore or gravel. From this point on in the year, on fine, sunny days we’ll be hoping to spend some time doing butterfly surveys and bird nesting checks. This is something that anyone can be part of and can be done outside of volunteering days, whenever you visit the site/walk the dog etc. We’re particularly interested for observations of how farmland birds use the site. If you’d like to help by providing sightings or doing small surveys with us just drop me a line and we’ll arrange instructions. Data like this really helps us plan conservation work and look at future opportunities.
For volunteering all tools, safety wear and light refreshments will be provided –wellington boots might be worth it if you have them. If you’re able to send me an email confirming attendance that would be appreciated.
Following the 18th, the next session will be on Wednesday 2nd May.
Last week Trumpington Meadows recorded its 100th (!) bird species on site – a handsome drake shoveler which dropped in, like the egret, to feed on the flooded grassland, a key habitat for this species. Amazingly this was closely followed by our 101st species – a Marsh Harrier which flew over on Friday.
Date for your diaries – Tuesday 8th May is our annual Dawn Chorus with our own nature expert Iain. It’s worth the early start to experience this wonderful natural phenomenon, drop us a line if you’d like to come. The event is £3 per person, proceeds go to the Wildlife Trust.
Did you take part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch? 8400 people in Cambridgeshire did and the results are out now. House sparrows remain #1 most commonly seen species in gardens and goldfinches continue to do well.
Thanks and best wishes,
Ranger (Trumpington Meadows)
Direct line: 07734478472
Office: 01223 665742
The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire & Northamptonshire