has written, probably, the best county flora yet that is intensely
detailed with observations, meticulous records and is beautifully
illustrated. The latest edition of British
magazine includes a “flyer” promoting Alan’s book: “This
beautifully produced book is a model for what a modern county Flora
should be”. It’s is an outstanding achievement from one of the
Country’s most dedicated naturalists.
It is an ideal complement to our study looking at the natural history of Cambridge City.
Cambridgeshire’s Mosses and Liverworts:a dynamic flora
D. Preston and Mark O. Hill
9781874357896 £25 (paperback)
This new flora by two of our friends and colleagues has attracted an excellent review in British Wildlife, August 2019: “….is beautifully written and nicely illustrated. ……. Chris Preston and Mark Hill are both highly respected bryologists with a deep knowledge of Cambridgeshire, its habitats and its species. Their enthusiasm shines through in this flora which deserves a place on the bookshelf of any serious student of mosses and liverworts, whether they live in Cambridgeshire or not.”
Today I did an interview with David Webster of BBC Radio Cambridgeshire about the Mistletoe survey. We are hoping to get lots of records of Mistletoe growing wild in the city and by publicising it on radio, we will hopefully encourage people to report their sightings. It will be broadcast tomorrow (22/12/2016) at just after 7am
The Mistletoe hotspot seems to be at the junction of Madingley Road and Queens Road. There are quite a few good bunches mostly growing in lime trees. As you go up Madingley road there are some trees that are heavily covered and must be suffering from the burden.
This one is a Hawthorn tree outside Churchill College which has a huge Mistletoe growing in the centre of the main branches. This is obviously a female Mistletoe, as the male doesnt have berries.
Here is a rather more diminutive male plant, showing the haustorium, where the stem of the Mistletoe fuses with the branch of the tree and the modified roots penetrate the host tissue to obtain water and minerals.
We would like to collect any sightings of Mistletoe so please use the sightings link on this webpage to let us know where the Mistletoe plants are growing. if you prefer to use email, then send your messages to firstname.lastname@example.org . please include exactly where the plant is growing, which host tree species is involved and roughtly how big is the Mistletoe. if you can give us a 6 figure grid reference or a post code that will be very helpful.
Please let us know where you see Mistletoe growing in Cambridge. See our Mistletoe survey for more information.
NatHistCam was lucky enough to feature on Cambridge TV recently, with a focus on the Garden Survey. Rosie Earwaker tells us how the filming went…
Wednesday 19th October came, and I was a mixture of both excitement and nerves with the prospect of being filmed. Paul Rule had kindly offered his garden, which had plenty of interesting features to talk about. The first thing to do when I arrived was to check what had been attracted into the moth trap, which I had set up the previous evening. It’s always exciting turning over the egg boxes at the bottom of the trap to see what creatures might be lurking, but it was very anti-climactic with just two moths showing up! That was moths off the cards then.
In the meantime, Mark Hill and Monica Frisch had started compiling a plant list for the garden. Mark was focussing on mosses, which varied from flicking bits off the roof with a long pole to getting low to the ground with hand lens to the eye (in typical botanist style). The film crew arrived after the plants had been thoroughly inspected and we launched straight into the plan for the day.
Monica was first up, with a closer look at the variety of plants in the lawn. We were a bit early for the Bee Orchid rosettes, but there were plenty of other species to talk about. Paul followed with a bit about his garden and how he encourages wildlife (deliberately or not!). Then Roger Featherstone arrived and the filming focussed on the snuffling contents of the small mammal traps, which had caught a number of lively beasts. The sun had even appeared at this point, which provided some welcome warmth on quite a chilly day.
While some of us refuelled inside for a bit, Mark was interviewed by Adam Canning about the Project and wildlife recording in the area. Last up, it was my turn to talk to Jamie Wyver about the importance of ivy as a food resource for pollinators and about bees and wasps. I found it difficult at times not to look into the camera, which was pretty close to us, and just focus on having a chat with Jamie!
The day went really well and we’re pleased to share the final piece. Thanks to all those who were involved!
The city of Cambridge includes grand buildings, new and old houses, streams, lakes, cemeteries, water meadows, gardens and recreation areas. The river Cam runs through the centre, forming a focal point for residents and visitors alike. It is a small city, roughly eight kilometres square, densely populated but full of green spaces. Nowhere are you far from the countryside and even within the city, wildlife abounds.
This project, planned to last for 3-4 years, aims to increase public awareness of the diversity of plants, animals and fungi within the city and to involve everyone in documenting Cambridge’s natural history heritage. As part of the programme, a garden will be chosen in each square kilometre across the city and surveyed intensively. Initial studies show that as many as 70 native plants may be present in an average garden and moth trapping in north Cambridge turned up a beautiful privet hawkmoth.
Just now, the season is turning from summer to autumn. Tawny owls – two males and a female – were calling last night from the tall trees. Other birds are quiet, in autumn eclipse. There is no longer the noisy racket from the heronry by the river, suggesting that this year’s young have at last fledged. The horse chestnut trees, whose leaves are attacked by the larvae of a moth, have turned brown and prematurely shrivelled. Although this moth only arrived in the UK in 2002, it has spread rapidly northwards. Spiders abound – the webs of the garden spider lace the bushes. Butterflies, bumble bees and dragonflies persist, but in smaller numbers than before. A mating pair of Willow Emerald Damselflies were seen in the Botanic Garden on Sept 4th. This species was first recorded breeding in the UK in 2007 and seems to be expanding its range
This week we are going to test out our surveying techniques in a garden in Selwyn gardens. We are going to spend the evening surveying several groups of organisms in one garden and will see how our recording methods work in practice.