I have now completed my annual ecological survey of the fields south of Addenbrookes Hospital around the Nine Wells nature reserve. The 2017 survey shows that the area remains extremely valuable for farmland birds of high conservation concern, with exceptional numbers of grey partridge in the autumn, as well as good numbers of skylark, linnet, yellowhammer and corn bunting.
‘The square km south of Addenbrookes has this year supported a grey partridge population of at least 11 spring pairs/km2 and 85 birds/km2 in autumn. The arable farms typical of Cambridgeshire support between 0 and 5 pairs/km2 and 0–20 birds/km2 in the autumn.’
Corn buntings also did particularly well this year, with 8 pairs. This is an important population – there are just 11,000 birds in the UK and its recent extinction in Ireland risks being repeated in large parts of Britain if its breeding sites are not protected. The RSPB’s nearby Hope Farm had 2 pairs in 2016 in 1.8km2.
In addition, the site supports a thriving population of water voles, both in the start of Hobsons Brook, and in the ditch that runs alongside the cycle path.
There continues to be a risk that a further field of the site may be taken out of the green belt and made available for development, to extend even further the Biomedical campus.
You can download a copy of my report for 2017 here.
My reports for 2016 are here:
My reports for 2015 are here: