On the bank of the River Cam small pools of water were dug out but have since been filled with silt and rubbish carried by the river. We have now cleaned out these areas to re-establish the still, shallow water bodies. The shape of these pools have been designed to create slack water which will deposit food from the river for fry and invertebrates, who will hopefully thrive in these pools where predators will be unlikely to reach them.
Cowslips Primula veris - The common name Cowslip may derive from the old English for cow dung, possibly because the plant was often found growing amongst the manure in cow pastures.
The species name is veris; veris is from the latin meaning of Spring although the Primrose, Primula vulgaris, flowers earlier, from December to May in the British isles.
Primula veris is a variable evergreen or semi-evergreen perennial plant growing to 25 cm (10 in) tall and broad, with a rosette of leaves 5–15 cm long and 2–6 cm broad. In Spring the flowers are deep yellow, in clusters of 10-30 blooms together on a single stem. Each flower is 9–15 mm broad.
The cowslip is frequently found on more open ground than the primrose, including open fields, meadows, coastal dunes and clifftops. Unfortunately the Cowslip suffered a decline due to changing agricultural practices throughout the 1970s and 1980s in Britain. Therefore it may be rare, but where found it is likely abundant. Additionally the seeds are now often included in wildflower seed mixes used to landscape motorway banks and similar civil engineering earthworks where the plants may be seen in dense stands. Fortunately this practice has led to a revival in its numbers!
The cowslips in Kingfishers Bridge are growing in larger numbers and more dense populations as well as reaching new areas for the first time.
Kingfishers Bridge expert in Moths, Tim Bagworth started trapping in March. This has continued on almost a weekly basis, and although there were not many Moths flying in early, there have overall still been a significant number of catches. Here are some of the high lights below...
A Moth Trap
On the 1st of April drilling began on the new peat cliffs. This is to encourage the (Common) Sand Martins Riparia riparia who breed colonially in vertical sandy or earth banks, near to water where they are often seen in numbers flying low hunting insects over lakes and rivers. The compacted peat was much harder than expected and it was arduous work drilling of approximately sixty holes, 70cm in length, and 5cm diameter. However, the 'back-breaking' work proved to be well worth while with immediate results, as Sand martins were already inspecting the new environment in the afternoon!
Reserves Manager at the Kingfishers Bridge wetland creation project in Cambridgeshire.