Storm Doris at Kingfishers Bridge!
On the 21st February the Met Office named 'Storm Doris*' issuing yellow and amber warnings for wind, snow and rain. The 23rd February 2017 saw Storm Doris move across the UK bringing gusts of up to 94 mph accompanied by heavy snowfall across Scotland. Overnight and into the morning of the 23 February, Storm Doris underwent explosive cyclogenesis labelling it a weather bomb.
*NB. Storms are being named as a pilot project by the Met Office and Met Éireann which aims to increase awareness of severe weather and ensure greater safety of the public. During 2016/17 wind storms with the potential to affect the UK and/or Ireland will be named to help effective communication of the storm and its impacts (Information from the Met Office website 2017).
13.08hrs Westerly Winds across the Lake at Kingfishers Bridge!
The Poplars (along side the River Bank) begin to fall!
As the Westerly Winds 'hit' the North Westerly corner of Kingfishers Bridge it created devastation bringing down almost 230 Poplars, having a 'domino' effect. Unfortunately the trees were falling onto the nearby perimeter fence causing much damage.
The following morning of Friday 24th February, the destruction caused by Storm Doris was extraordinary, with whole trees up rooted, and the destruction caused by the storm was very apparent.
The first week of March saw Contractors come in to deal with the massive task of clearing the whole woodland of Poplars...
Day 1 Clearance Begins...
Day 2 Clearance continues...
We were blessed with a dry, sunny day indicative of the start of Spring, although towards the end of our walk a cold wind prevailed on the Mount. There was a gathering of approximately thirty friends and it was a first visit for some!
A Warm Welcome!
Guests were welcomed with hot drinks on their arrival, and Mr Green made a brief introduction, followed by the assembled group each announcing themselves! An eclectic mix of people! Some of whom, with very specialist knowledge of the project, conservation and ecology, and those of us who are relatively new but keen!
We then proceeded on our guided walk from the Visitors Centre stopping at the Limestone Mound, the Bat Cave, Kingfishers Cliff, through the Reed Beds, to the Lake and Wader meadows and lastly up to the Mound with the magnificent view of Ely Cathedral.
Ely Cathedral - Ship of the Fens!
We had a very exciting viewing of ten White-fronted Geese! They have been sighted regularly here at Kingfishers Bridge during the last fortnight.
The Reed Beds
On our return to the Centre, we were greeted by very welcome liquid refreshments, and kindly served with a selection of hot and cold victuals! A sociable atmosphere ensued!
Gradually the friends departed, and with the help of faithful volenteers we tidied up. It was a very interesting and enjoyable day!
We have been asked to advise on the management of Pauline's Swamp in Burwell. The area was gifted to the Burwell Parish Council some years ago and has had a variety of management since then. The new Trustees are looking to maximise the potential of this fen meadow which is of particular interest due to the calcarious springs which rise in the Swamp and adjacent areas.
Today we took our tractor over to top (mow at a high level) the rank fen vegetation which was a mix of mostly Sedge, Soft rush and Willowherb. This had overgrown after a couple of years with little management and trapped more delicate vegetation underneath. Whist not the ideal time of year to cut vegetation like this we avoided damage to delecate new growth comming through below the sedge which would have failed without the dense layer above being removed.
Following the cut we have had to rake the 'litter' (cut vegetation) off to reduce the nutrients available. Over time this management will reduce the vigour of the rush and sedge allowing more delicate fenland plants to establish across the whole area. The litter piles are important for wildlife in their own right, providing a safe winter refuge for small animals. The piles also generate heat as they rot down which is the perfect incubator for animals such as Grass Snakes to lay their eggs in.
The springs run down the site through a shallow open ditch which has become choked with sediment over time, we intend to remove some of the vegetation and silt from this ditch and widen it into shallow pools in a couple of areas, to provide more areas for invertebrates and amphibians. The calcarious water is perfect for numerous aquatic invertebrates which require the calcium to form their exo-skeletons.
Reserves Manager at the Kingfishers Bridge wetland creation project in Cambridgeshire.