Monday 25 April 2011

Sluice Wood update

The renovated southern channel has been full over the winter and still has water in most of it. The new stream deflectors installed by our volunteers in the main channel seem to be working well.

Thursday 21 April 2011

Monday 18 April 2011

River Sampling 16th April 2011

Our first sampling session was held on Saturday morning at the ford beside the road bridge in the middle of the village; all 3 samples were taken there. Water level was quite high. Each sample obtained in net using 30-second kick-shuffle technique

Sample 1, mainly gravel bottom with weed and decaying leaf detritus
1 demoiselle damselfly nymph (see photo)
1 caseless caddis fly larva -- distinctively yellowy-green (see photo)
1 freshwater hoglouse (see photo)
1 leech
c. 10 freshwater shrimps, various sizes
c. 5 small hairworms
1 flatworm (grey)
Various other small nymphs -- too small for easy identification

Sample 2, rocky bottom, less weed than sample 1
No nymphs
1 very long hairworm (c. 150mm -- see photo)
Lots of small, thin red hairworms
c. 10 shrimps
Tiny watermites

Sample 3, gravel/sandy bottom, closer to bridge
1 small fish (c. 3 cm long -- see photo). Possibly a minnow or baby trout.
1 burrowing mayfly nymph, Ephemera vulgata (c. 2 cm long -- see photo)
Various other small nymphs -- too small for easy identification
No shrimps

A shoal of tiny fish was seen close to bridge, probably minnows.
On large submerged stones removed from river for inspection, ramshorn snails and freshwater limpets observed.

Demoiselle damselfly nymph

Caddis fly larva (?)

Hairworm (c. 150mm)

Burrowing mayfly nymph (bottom right) + freshwater hoglouse (top left)

Young minnow + freshwater shrimp near its tail

Wednesday 13 April 2011

Guided walk along the Mel

Cam Valley Forum has invited us to a guided walk along part of the river Mel from Melbourn to Meldreth on Tuesday 24 May.

Steve Hawkins, chair of the River Mel Restoration Group, has kindly agreed to lead the walk and talk about the improvements that have been carried out by volunteers from Meldreth and Melbourn. We will start from the Melbourn village car park at 6.30pm and end at the British Queen pub in Meldreth.

If you are coming from Cambridge along the A10 you should take the first turning into Melbourn, and follow the road into the village where the car park will be on your left, just past the Elm Tree pub and behind the bus stop.

This is quite a short walk of about a mile and a half, but Cam Valley Forum will arrange a lift back to the car park in Melbourn for those who would like it. In order to organise the lifts it would be helpful if you would let Peter Brunning know by Sunday 15 May if you are hoping to come - he can then advise CVF.

Saturday 2 April 2011

News from Granta Park Lake

George reported on Saturday 2nd April that the swans were still in control of the lake ("No fly zone" in operation) but not yet on the nest - but they left a sentry near the nest site.

Two days later, a swan was sitting on the nest!

Spring is in the air and there's a wonderful tree in full bloom:

The Aims of Abington Naturewatch

At their meeting on 9 April 2005 the members approved this revised version of the aims of Abington Naturewatch:

  • To monitor and record the wildlife (fauna & flora) within the borders of the Abingtons;
  • To encourage protection of our wildlife, maintain its quality and foster its diversity;
  • To promote awareness of the richness, potential and problems of the natural environment of the Abingtons;
  • To cooperate in improving access to the local natural environment for the benefit of all Abington villagers.

Pat Daunt, Founder

The organisation is informal and communication is by email if possible; members are notified of events from time to time. Contact details are maintained by a small "project team". There is currently no membership fee as costs are covered by voluntary contributions at events.

Members are encouraged to report notable sightings of flora and fauna within the Abingtons to the appropriate sector coordinator and an illustrated record is published annually.

A map of the area covered, with some features noted, is available here:>

For more information or to join, please contact David Farrant on (01223) 892871.

Contributions to our records should be sent to sector contacts or either of the above. Photographs may also be submitted to Andy Merryweather (