Well its that time of year again when we take delivery of the Christmas tree and install it at the main entrance, have to use a hiab to lift it up and drop into place then a mewp to dress with the lights.
Burst water main on Friday confused one of our young swans with a new pond suddenly appearing !
Over the next few weeks new bat boxes are to be installed on selected trees across the campus, hopefully our resident bat population, which are protected under law, will use them as summer roost sites as they forage round for food. We have recorded six species of bats across campus including noctule, common, soprano and nathusius pipistrelle, serotine and brown long eared. With the mixed habitat around campus there are probably more yet to be recorded, so these boxes will help us to monitor what we have on site and help to protect these fascinating mammals.
To maintain and enhance the biodiversity across Site one meadows it is essential to control the dominant plant and aggressive grass species. This is done by carrying out a suitable cutting and collecting regime twice a year which helps to reduce the nutrient level in the soil profile ,promotes a wider variety of wild flowers which in turn attracts a much wider variety of pollinating insects which are essential for the health of the planet.
Pruning back of some of our boundary hedges has started now often the work needs to be carried out during quieter times such as over the weekends. Most of the work is carried out using the battery powered hedge cutters, loppers and secateurs – quite a challenge with the amount the University owns.
Plenty going on at the moment on site here we have one of our contractors working on a linear group of mixed Poplar and Ash, dead wooding and raising the canopy to around 6 metres to allow for the buses etc.
Plenty going on in and around the pond, here is a female emperor dragonfly laying eggs on some of the debris floating on the surface, you will often see many and varied species of damselflies and dragonflies around water bodies throughout the summer.
Plenty of activity going on in the Sports centre car park, with the felling of two poplars which have been in serious decline to the point where they need to be felled, maintenance had been carried out over a number of years but with the hornet moth damage and fungal infection they needed to come down. With the pollarded Salix alba, these trees have also been managed over the years but with advanced decay and weak growing points it was time to heavily reduce again and remove the danger. As with all our tree work, any bat roost potential was checked out and monitored over a number of weeks prior to the felling. A replacement plan will be put in place once confirmation of any Estates work has been completed.
Do keep an eye out for our stag beetles on site, these are our largest native ground beetles and can be seen sunning themselves on walls and paths or on humid days around dusk time look out for the male, easily identified with the large mandibles (jaws) which resemble the antlers of a deer, flying about looking for a mate. Stag beetles are a protected species listed on schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.