NatHistCam city survey

This article was published in 2017, in Newsletter 131.

Image as described adjacent

One of the many advantages of travelling by bicycle is that one can enjoy the world around one: fresh air, the scent of flowers, the sound of birds, and if there’s something interesting to look at or photograph one can generally easily stop and do so. If you enjoy observing the flora and fauna of Cambridge as you cycle around, please help NatHistCam with its survey of the city.

NatHistCam is a project to study the natural history of Cambridge, based on an 8km x 8km square which is roughly centred on Mill Road Cemetery. Its aims are to:

  • create a snapshot of the flora and fauna of Cambridge City and its immediate environs in a historical context; and
  • increase public awareness of the diversity of plants, animals and fungi in the city.

Launched in June last year, it has already undertaken a survey of mistletoe that has located many more bunches in the city than we had realised. How many people walking or cycling over Mill Road bridge have noticed the mistletoe in the tall tree on the left just as one heads into town? Or by the church in the centre of the city on Market Street?

Some of the things to look out for at the moment are spring flowers – there should be plenty in bloom by the time this newsletter is out: amphibians migrating to ponds to breed and reptiles emerging from hibernation; ‘mad’ March hares; and in due course swallows and swifts arriving for the summer. Don’t assume that just because something is well-known, like a hedgehog, that it will have been reported.

So if you spot something interesting, please let NatHistCam know. We have a website: which includes a link to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Environmental Records Centre where you can submit your records: all we need is what you have seen, when, where and your name and email address. You can also add photos. Please have a look at the website, there’s lots of information and a blog about what is about at the moment.

Monica Frisch

P.S. Do be careful to keep an eye on traffic, including other cyclists, and pedestrians as you cycle round looking at the flora and fauna!