The Mackman Group has provided a fresh new look for our website which the Trustees hope you will enjoy. Current news will be posted over the coming months and years so that you can follow all that is happening on the wildlife front on Sudbury’s unique riverside.
During the week the fist twelve cattle returned, marking the start of the 2011 grazing season. The Sudbury Common Lands has a recorded history of grazing stretching back to the late twelfth century when Amicia de Clare granted grazing rights to the Hospital of St John for four cows and twenty sheep on Kings’s Mere (now King’s Marsh) and Portmanscroft (now Freemen’s Commons).
The extraodinary fine weather has brought out an abundance of wildlife although the wetland flora is not responding to the very dry conditions. Hopefully some rain is on its way!
The week saw orange tip butterflies on wing among other species. There is abundant evidence of water vole ( Arvicola terrestris) which returned last year after an absence of fourteen years as a result of North American mink (Mustela vison) predation. The voles are still very elusive but their latrines and ditch edge ‘lawns’ where they eat the grass are very obvious. Walking quietly along a ditch on Freemen’s Great Common revealed the evidence but just one ‘plop’ into the water as a vole made its getaway. The compensation was a coiled up grass snake (Natrix natrix) which stayed long enough to be photographed (see spring gallery) before quietly easing itself into a clump of hard rush – tail still well out in the open. Clearly it hadn’t quite got the hang of complete concealment.