On Sunday August 1 Cambridge Natural History Society will be visiting visit Wandlebury Country Park. The aim of this visit is to record in two new meadows that have been acquired by Cambridge Past, Present & Future. The main focus will be on botanical recording, but we will also record other flora and fauna that we encounter. The meeting is suitable for beginners as there will be help with identification.
All welcome, but if possible let Jonathan Shanklin (jdsh [AT] bas.ac.uk) know that you plan to come. Meet at the cycle stands at the Wandlebury car-park (TL492532) at 2 pm. There is a good cycle route from Cambridge, though there is a hill to climb! That’s because Wandlebury is 74 m above sea level (243 ft) compared to 6 m (20 ft) for Cambridge.
For cycle routes see https://www.cyclestreets.net – this shows that the route from the City Centre (junction Sidney Street and Petty Cury) to Wandlebury is 4 1/4 miles (almost 7 km) in an almost straight line and would take 40 minutes.
Our next field studies visit to Trumpington Meadows takes place on Thursday, July 22, meeting at 6:30pm. These visits aim to record the flora and some of the fauna of Trumpington Meadows, and introduce beginners to our local wildlife.
Meet at the entrance opposite Addenbrooke’s Road on the Hauxton Road out of Cambridge TL441539 – see https://www.openstreetmap.org/relation/295355#map=16/52.1643/0.1081
All welcome – it is helpful if you can let Jonathan Shanklin (jdsh [AT] bas.ac.uk) know if you plan to come.
The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire are running a trail to monitor the effectiveness of using Creeping thistle rust fungus Puccinia punctiformis to manage the spread of Creeping thistle Cirsium arvense on their nature reserve.
They would very much appreciate it if when you are out and about on a walk or talk you could have a quick look at the local creeping thistle and see if you can spot the Rust fungus in question.
If you do find it, please contact email@example.com with good quality co-ordinates for the plants.
Details are in the attached document which will open in a new window.
The AGM takes place on Thursday, 17 June at 7:30pm by Zoom.
As well as the formal business of electing the Officers and Council there will be reports from the Treasurer, Membership Secretary and Programme Secretary and on the Conversazione and Website. In addition the President will present his illustrated review of the year.
CNHS members have been sent the Zoom link.
If you wish to join the Society, please do so and you will be sent the link.
Our first evening meeting took place in conditions more akin to the autumn – cold temperatures and a strong wind. This didn’t deter the dozen members who met up at the appointed place. We started with a walk round a small balancing pond, where we saw some members of the legume family – Common Vetch, Spotted Medick and Black Medick. There were also members of the daisy family – Ox-eye Daisy and Beaked Hawk’s-beard. The half hour that we spent here was not enough for one late arriving member who failed to spot us!
We then walked down the cycleway path, stopping when we found some Creeping Thistle. Jo Garrad, one of the Park Rangers, explained that they were looking for Thistle Rust in order to start a trial on reducing the invasive plant. What they hoped to do was collect spores from infected plants, make this into a solution and spray it onto thistle stems in patches. Trials elsewhere had shown this reduced thistle populations by 80% over a few years.
Continuing on to the large balancing pond we admired the Tufted Duck and other waterfowl that were present. We crossed over to the relict waterside meadow, where we saw the small fronds of Adder’s-tongue and the scrub that had grown up in the last decade. Back on the old railway we saw a few plants of Winter-cress in full flower, but didn’t try tasting any of the leaves. Dusk was now approaching and it was cold, so we walked briskly back to our starting point.
We seem to be progressing smoothly out of lockdown, so our next field studies visit to Trumpington Meadows on Thursday, May 20, should go ahead, though there is a risk of April showers. This is an evening visit, starting at 6:30pm. Although we should be able to meet in a large group, we will then split into smaller groups (depending on numbers) for the walk around. In order to help plan, we’d still like you to book by emailing Jonathan Shanklin firstname.lastname@example.org, but we should be able to accommodate everyone who does. Those booking will be told where to meet.
The field studies visits aim to make a regular audit of the natural history of the chosen sites and to introduce members to them and their wildlife. They are suitable for all, though you come at your own risk. Please follow the guidance given by the BSBI for participants on field meetings, which you can find at https://bsbi.org/download/25183/ The CNHS events are all suitable for beginners, with an element of tuition, and are “Green” rated.
It will come as no surprise that it was not possible to organise a Conversazione this spring. However, we are pleased to announce that plans for an online NatHistFest in November 2021 are being finalised.
Like last year’s NatHistFest, this will consist of a variety of exhibits on any aspect of natural history, presented as photos with captions, as a short PowerPoint presentation or as a pdf.
Details of the event and how to book an exhibit will be posted on this website, and emailed to those who have exhibited in the past, soon. In the meantime, do start thinking about possible exhibits and taking photos for them, now the days are longer and the weather improving.
‘CambsMammalSpot’ is a major new project from Cambridgeshire Mammal Group to record the wild mammals in Cambridgeshire. This is part of an overarching exercise being undertaken jointly with the Wildlife Trust. It aims to collect data on mammal signs and sightings to create a visual understanding of the population and diversity of the mammal species in the county, and particularly to determine their IUCN’s Red List status. It will increase knowledge of what species of wild mammals are where in Cambridgeshire and how many we have.
Cambridgeshire Mammal Group notes that we cannot hope to conserve and enhance the environment for our wild mammals unless we know what we’ve got, where they are, and how many we’ve got.
Two apps — MammalMapper (https://www.mammal.org.uk/volunteering/mammal-mapper/) and iRecord (https://www.brc.ac.uk/irecord/) will be used to receive records of wild mammals (alive and dead, native and non-native) however obtained – whether from sightings or signs or trail cams. Anyone can join in — both apps have training built-in — expertise in tracks and signs is not necessary! All the records will be shared, including with the Mammal Society and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Environmental Records Centre.
Links to further information are on the Cambridgeshire Mammal Group website: http://www.cambsmammalgroup.org.uk/
The last talk of the spring programme will be on Thursday 25th March from 7:30 – 9:00 pm
Kevin Hand, ecologist and wildlife travel leader, will talk about how to monitor “protected” UK mammals, what protection wildlife legislation is meant to provide and what really happens, and the lessons he has learnt from monitoring wildlife and meeting activists on the route of HS2. This talk should appeal to those interested in the ecology of our rarer mammals,and in how proposed rural development plans work on the ground.
ONLINE via Zoom. Members will be emailed login details nearer the time.
To be added the mailing list for events email webmaster [at] cnhs.org.uk
To become a member see details on the website: www.cnhs.org.uk