We are a small informal group. We welcome both people who prefer to work as individuals but sometimes feel the Group can help in some way and people who prefer to work in cooperation with others. We occasionally organise outings and training sessions particularly for people who wish to qualify for a GCN license.
There is no subscription but members who sign up are covered by the ARG insurance scheme. We are affiliated to the Bedfordshire Natural History Society. We are also members of the Beds Heathland Forum. We have helped draft SAPS for both Bedfordshire Adders and Great Crested Newt.
At present much of our activity has been concentrated on specific sites in the south of the county. We are only too aware of how little we know about North Bedfordshire. In spite of large areas of arable desert Bedfordshire is richer in herps than one might expect. We have all the common species with the exception of the palmate newt. There are two introduced species: Midwife Toads and Pool Frogs, and one re-introduction: Natterjack Toads. The county is a stronghold for the Great Crested Newt. Much of Bedfordshire is very poorly surveyed. We simply do not know what is there. Parts of the county are under severe development pressure and there are not enough of us. If are interested please get in touch.
The Wildlife Trust ponds at Cople have been overshadowed by trees ever since we first visited them. This small reserve, consisting of eleven long thin ponds, was created from gravel diggings. From a herpetological point of view the ponds are mainly of interest for their Great Crested Newt population, though curiously, GCN are not mentioned on the Trust’s website (http://www.wildlifebcn.org/reserves/cople-pits).
The habitat of the reserve changed dramatically a few weeks ago when a number of trees blew down in the gales. As these were lying across two of the water bodies they had to be removed. Daniel Piec organised the work as part of the SITA / Natura International project for improving habitat for GCN in the Marston Vale. As a result some of the ponds are much more open and sunny and we look forward to monitoring GCN over the next few years. Hopefully their numbers will increase and the pits will once again be notable for their GCN population.
The final touches to the installation and repairs of fencing at Saxon Drive, Saxon Gate, Biggleswade were completed on 4th March 2014. A few new sections of ACO wildlife fencing were inserted to replace the broken sections on the east side of the road. A pipe now connects the northern and southern sections of the fence on the west side. This was necessary because the fence was broken almost immediately after it was installed, nearly 15 years ago. People walking / cycling from the road to the swimming pool had to pass across it with the inevitable result. Thanks to the Ivel Valley Volunteers toads, frogs, newts and small mammals can now pass safely along the fence to the tunnel and humans can make their way safely to the leisure centre. Much vegetation has also been cleared from the vicinity of the fence, thus preventing agile amphibians climbing over the fence instead of finding the tunnel. (See photo Gallery)
So far (two nights only!) we have not found any amphibians on the road when they should have been in the tunnel.
Thanks again to Froglife, BRCC, Central Bedfordshire Council and ACO for funding the replacement of the fencing, and especially to Richard Lawrence who organised everything.
Four new ponds are being dug at Marston Thrift as part of the SITA / Natura International Marston Vale Great Crested Newt Project. The very wet January and February weather delayed the digging but Daniel Piec of Natura International seized the opportunity this week to start work. So far two ponds have been completed and a third is being dug. See Photo Gallery for the digger at work.
The replacement toad fencing at Saxon Gate has now been installed in spite of the rain, wind and generally discouraging weather. Richard Lawrence of Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity and the Ivel Valley Volunteers spent Tuesday 11th February fixing the ACO sections together and backfilling with soil. This new fencing extends both sides of the tunnel entrance ... You may think that is obvious, but when the tunnel was put in by the developers they considered their responsibility was to install fencing on the north-west side of the entrance, but not the south-west. It is really great to have proper fencing at last.
The results look splendid (see Photo Gallery) and we look forward to the new season. It will be very instructive to see how the fencing affects the number of toads etc. we find on the road.
Thanks again to Froglife, BRCC, Central Bedfordshire Council and ACO for funding the replacement of the fencing, and especially to Richard Lawrence.
I've heard from Sivi Sivanesan at Froglife that, though there definitely was a toad patrol at Brogborough, it is currently unmanned. Could anyone my side of Bedfordshire (Milton Keynes, Woburn, Lidlington areas) let me know any reports of toad movements. Once I know toads are on the move I'll go over there to see if toads are still present and try to set up a patrol if it's needed. If you want to see where the crossing is go to Froglife’s very useful interactive map: http://www.froglife.org/what-we-do/toads-on-roads/TORmap/ and type in ‘Brogborough’.
If you have any information or are interested in helping at Brogborough please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org