A Great Grey Shrike was first identified here at Kingfishers Bridge on Sunday 11th December 2016 by one of our regular Bird watchers. It has subsequently been seen every day since (today being the 16th December 2016!). In the above picture the photographer has also captured a Gold Finch.
As part of the local limestone’s quarry’s planning conditions preceeding the extension and landfill, they will have to carry out water monitoring of the adjoining SSSI and groundwater to generate a record of the water levels and the quality as an indicator of whether their activities are having an effect on the local environment.
Preceding the installation of water level recorders, we have installed mounting points within the SSSI and feed ditch from the River Cam.
The pools were originally created by lime extraction by hand and the base of the pool follows the strata of hard lime. This was more difficult to break through with picks, resulting in a pool with an almost flat solid bottom. These are very rare features in water courses.
The primary pool is actually much deeper than it appears with the visible vegetation floating over a pool between 1.5 and 2 metres deep. This environment is extremely dangerous and buoyancy aids are essential when working in this area.
In the first week of December we finished our annual clearance of the Water Germander (Teucrium Scordium) pools in the SSSI North pit. This is one of only two original populations of this Red Data Species in Britain and consequently the North pit has been designated a ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest' (SSSI).
The main population of Water Germander grows on a floating mat of vegetation over the old lime pool beneath. Each year we have to cut the reed back low to a few inches to enabling the Water Germander light and space to grow the following spring. Then again in early summer the reeds are cut to 18inches allowing sufficient light to reach the Germander. Whilst we now know that this site does not present the best habitat for the Water Germander, this management does allow the original population to survive and it is now stable at around 800-900 stems a year.
The main population is on the draw down zones on the main project where stems are now numbers in excess of five million each year.
The above video shows how the vegative mat moves on water surface!
Reserves Manager at the Kingfishers Bridge wetland creation project in Cambridgeshire.