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.
Well its that time of year again to plant out the summer bedding and empty the greenhouse of all the plants we have been growing on for the containers etc. dotted around our campus with the warmer weather kicking in .
New planting at Wilfred Brown bed is starting to grow now, the angles reflect the frontage of the building with section left for the STEM centre activities if so required .
Do look out for our pair of Mandarin ducks, they will be close to the water but nest in suitable hollows and holes in trees,the male is one of the most colourful ducks you will see, they make very little noise ,originally from eastern Asia.
Plenty of activity going on in the small dipping pond by the board walk, the frog spawn has hatched out with tadpoles in abundance but the overgrown vegetation and dead foliage still needs to be thinned and cleared. After surveying the area maintenance has now resumed with the reduction of the Glyceria and removing the dead foliage, a small gap has been created for the frogs to exit the pond when ready, the material removed has been left on the side for a few hours so any of the small insects, amphibians and other larvae can return to the water. Soon be starting on the main part of the pond.
Have you seen the frog spawn that has appeared for the first time, as far as we are aware, in the small dipping pond by the boardwalk, this is great to see. The dead foliage needs to be carefully removed and the fish exclusion curtain will be checked it is still in place. Maintenance work is in place for the pond including removal of debris and detritus extending the fish exclusion curtain on the reed beds, and liquid feeding the plants, we may also have to build a small ladder for the young frogs to climb out of the pond when the time is right.
With the hot spell just passed, bright sunshine and rain the bulbs around campus are flowering in abundance but do look out for the slightly more unusual plants .The chequered purple flowers of Fritillaria meleagris are flowering pretty well at the moment see if you notice them around on Site.
The Grounds team have been very busy this winter clearing up areas where damage has been done by the numerous projects that take place on campus. The upgrade of the access road in preparation for the Learning and Teaching Centre being one example. A temporary road was created straight through a large shrubbery near the Howell building with the ripped up plants just left in situ. The team have cleared away the debris and opened up the space ready for new understory planting which will be designed to enhance the biodiversity in the area.