Despite Paul's best efforts, the Heart of reeds camera's housing has sprung a bad leak and so is needing to be stripped down completely and then re-sited.  It just emphasises what a great job Paul Webster has been doing over the last 16 months of the project and knowing Paul, iI am sure he will work as quickly as he can but will have to wait for glues to dry and to test the casing.

Leighside pond cam is working well though and we hope to release weevils into the water near ditch cam as soon as possible with the help of ranger Dan Fagan.

For teachers and parents and possibly some older children, I thought you might be interested to see this note below from Corin Pratt, a Research Scientist at CABI (Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International) who has been advising the Ranger.  CABI is an international not-for-profit organization that improves people’s lives worldwide  (global network of centres) by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment.

This is Corin's note:

'The mild winter has resulted in extensive survival of Azolla across England and Wales – it would usually be knocked back to an extent by extended sub-zero conditions.   The live webcam is excellent – I imagine people in offices across the country becoming addicted to nature-spotting from afar!

We have not yet begun weevil shipments for the year – we aim to begin in late May once the weevils become more active and we have built up a substantial culture. Unfortunately, due to the mild winter and extensive Azolla we have a large number of pre-orders for weevils already in place, meaning that orders currently being placed will be delayed beyond the usual shipping start time, potentially into mid-summer.

As a general rule, we advise to apply weevils as soon as Azolla is first observed so that its spread can be slowed and then cleared before the infestation becomes extensive. This also allows a lower application rate of weevils and associated cost. The risk of spread to other water bodies is also reduced.

For the area you have described (562m2) - if totally covered by Azolla - I would advise 5 large weevils packs at £380 per pack.'

This is another example of how a change in weather  conditions (and possible long term implications of climate change)  can affect the environment at a very local level.  The other example we gave on site was the steadily rising groundwater level at the pond dipping platform over the last 10 years.

We will explore whether we can change the angle of ditch cam for this month to make it more interesting but would like to revert back to its present position once the weevils are released into the water.