News and Updates
15 June 2022
Biodiversity Watch at Eddington: Wildflowers
Project Ecologist, Mike Dean uses this blog article to focus on the array of wildflowers that support biodiversity and permeate our neighbourhood.
This month Eddington is awash with wildflowers. Head down to the lagoon at Brook Leys and the cowslips and primroses have been replaced by yellow rattle, common knapweed and a veritable sea of oxeye daisies. The plants around the margins of the lagoon have sprung into life as well, with dense areas of common reed supporting several pairs of reed warblers, and the spectacular yellow flowers of irises are now visible.
If you look carefully, particularly in the patch of land near the pumping station as you first walk into Brook Leys from the car park, you’ll find the delicate pink flowers of ragged-robin and musk mallow, and the stunning purple of viper’s-bugloss. Please enjoy them, but don’t pick them!
The area of wildflower meadow next to the school, Storey’s Field Centre and cricket pitch is also starting to come alive. Look also for red campion, field scabious, doves-foot cranes-bill, common yarrow, hedge bedstraw and meadow buttercup to name but a few. And the wildflowers attract bees, butterflies and a range of other invertebrates.
But it’s not just the larger areas of green space at Eddington that are managed to promote their value for wildlife – many smaller green spaces are contributing as well, such as the small patch of grass behind the Storey’s Field Centre, some of the courtyard gardens, a tiny patch of land at the top of Pheasant Drive, and the swales (normally dry drainage ditches) alongside Eddington Avenue and Turing Way. These have been seeded with wildflowers and are left uncut throughout the summer to encourage their growth.
Earlier this year I found evidence that otters had visited the lagoon. Recently I found fresh otter spraint (their droppings) in the flood meadow area between the lagoon and the M11 – so they appear to be a frequent visitor! Countless dragonflies and damselflies put on a great show throughout this area, as they are doing elsewhere on site at the moment. The ducks, coots, moorhens and swans at the lagoon are also doing well – please don’t feed them as they have plenty of natural food available at the moment.
Finally, whilst taking some local residents on an ‘ecology tour’ of Eddington, we had a close up view of another mammal associated with wetland habitat that has established itself on site – a water vole. But more about them next month…
Read Mike’s earlier ecology blogs here: