What's been keeping us on our toes

With Spring just around the corner, although given the weather you wouldn't believe it, we thought we'd reflect on what has kept us busy this winter. 

What's been keeping us on our toes 0 What's been keeping us on our toes 1

With Spring just around the corner, although given the weather you wouldn't believe it, we thought we'd reflect on what has kept us busy this winter. It is sometimes assumed that we ecologists hibernate all winter along with the animals. Admittedly, some of us have do look forward to a few less nocturnal surveys and a bit more sleep. But winter has, especially for the last two years, been a busy time at Access ecology, so here’s a look at what’s been keeping us on our toes.

 

This last winter we've undertaken hibernating bat surveys in varying locations and buildings. They've varied form the south Wales coast, to west Yorkshire, south Yorkshire and buildings including disused factories, barns, and a decommissioned site. All in all we have identified, 6 species including long eared bat species, common pipistrelles, soprano pipistrelles, greater and lesser horseshoe bats, and myotis species.

 

Once we pick the anabats up after their two week recording period there is always that anxious moment while you wait for the data to download to reveal what's been recorded and then it’s down to what can be a long and monotonous task of analysing the data.

 

Just because its winter doesn’t mean we’re enjoying a nice late start to the day. We generally have to be out on site for when builders start, which contrary to belief can be quite early. We need to be on site before any works start to undertake supervision of the building strip or soft demolition. Some of the jobs we’ve undertaken this winter have been in Huddersfield, south Manchester, North and West Yorkshire, York and Sheffield.

 

Badger activity or presence/absence surveys are one of my personal favourite surveys. The thrill of finding that first clue to the presence of badgers and having the knowledge and experience to be able to interpret it, always excites me. Just this week in Derbyshire we located the biggest sett I have ever located, with 35 holes! 

 

Readying and updating our survey equipment and office store is another annual job completed in winter. This job is not for the faint hearted or those sensitive to odours as a high quantity of survey socks is always found during the process. 

 

With looking back over the winter it is only natural that we also look forward. We along with everyone else will be welcoming Spring with open arms, let’s just hope spring time temperatures start to make an appearance. Great crested newt season starts with the next couple of weeks so if you haven’t already spoken to your ecologist about booking in surveys now is the time to do it. March heralded the start of the bird nesting season which runs to August if you are planning on removing trees from site you’ll need to keep this in mind and possibly contact an ecologist. 

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