Posts Tagged ‘great crested newt’

Great crested newt survey volunteer

Thursday, March 21st, 2013
United Environmental Services has recently taken on volunteer Zoe Haysted:

‘I knew my placement year at Harper Adams University would be valuable in creating a more focused field of study, putting the theory into practice and helping my final year of studies including my dissertation. By volunteering with United Environmental Services, I hope to create a stepping stone into the ecological consultancy field, further my species identification and help towards gaining a Great crested newt protected species licence.

I am currently studying a BSc in Countryside and Environmental Management. My student placement is at Fenn’s, Whixalland Bettisfield Mosses National Nature Reserve. I was lucky to be a part of the ‘Long Term Monitoring Project’ run by Natural England, which looked at lowland bog flora and furthered my interest into surveying.

At university, I had the opportunity to survey farmland birds, invertebrates and crop vegetation with the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. I also volunteer with Silverdale Community Country Park and am soon to participate in invertebrate surveys.

I am looking forward to volunteering with UES during the Great crested newt survey season, which will give me invaluable experience in amphibian ecology, identification and Great crested newt survey methods.’

Large female Great crested newt

Freshwater invertebrates survey, RSPB nature reserve

Monday, February 25th, 2013

Karl Harrison, UES’ Graduate Ecologist, recently attended a freshwater invertebrate survey run by the RSPB at Coombes Valley Nature Reserve, Staffordshire.

The caterpillar of the Argent and Sable moth encases itself in birch leaves

The site is an oak woodland located in the steep sided Coombes Valley. It attracts a variety of woodland breeding birds including; flycatchers, redstarts and wood warblers. The site also has a small population of rare Argent and Sable moths (see photo).

The samples were taken from a stretch of the Coombes Brook as it passes through the nature reserve. They were collected using the ‘kick-sampling’ method, where the substrate is disturbed up stream of a hand net which collects any small invertebrates and everything else flowing down stream. The content of the net was spread out on a tray and any invertebrates carefully collected.

In the makeshift laboratory the collected samples were analysed and compared to known samples, paying close attention to the features that distinguish one family from another. The invertebrate larvae we hoped to identify were Mayflies Ephemeroptera, Stoneflies Plecoptera, Caddisflies Trichoptera and True flies Diptera.

Section of Coombes brook where Kick-sampling took place

Freshwater invertebrates are a good indicator of water quality, usually determined based on the species present and their levels. For example an abundance of Stonefly and Mayfly larvae suggests good oxygen levels and low levels of pollution.

The study of freshwater invertebrates can be very useful in ecological surveys, as they provide an indication of water quality and potential presence of amphibians.

Karl will be returning to Coombes Valley Nature Reserve to observe the larvae through their development.

For more information about the reserve or volunteering with the RSPB, details can be found on the Coombes Valley Nature Reserve Webpage.

Great crested newt pond scoping surveys in Cronton, Merseyside.

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Our surveyors have visited a site to assess the ponds prior to carrying out great crested newt surveys in Cronton Merseyside. The ponds look good but we definitely picked the wrong day to do it… its FREEZING!! and very windy.
Warm cup of coffee on our return was most welcome.

Its the great crested newt survey season and they’re back in the ponds making egg folds already !!

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Our great crested newt survey season has started and we have already had positive results in the ponds that we are monitoring and in ponds that we are surveying for the first time.

A number of the ponds which we survey as part of our annual monitoring cycle have a number of great crested newt egg folds present, mainly on water forget me nots and willow-herb. This is relatively early in the great crested newt breeding season and it is possible that newts have been active early this year due to the mild winter.

Male great crested newt

Male great crested newt

It is particularly encouraging to find good numbers of great crested newts in ponds which we have actively managed over the last couple of years. The removal of willow trees which have encroached the ponds and the opening up of the pond banks are simple measures which have produced good results.

Female great crested newt

Female great crested newt

It will be interesting to see how great crested newt activity progresses in the ponds as the season goes on, and we hope to see an increase in the maximum numbers of great crested newts in the ponds and also an increase in amphibian activity in general.

 

Great crested newt pond scoping survey in Lower Peover, Cheshire

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Great crested newt larvae

UES were commissioned in June 2011 to conduct a great crested newt pond scoping survey to assess potential presence of great crested newts within 250m of the development footprint.

Development works within 250m of a great crested newt pond are often subject to a Natural England European Protected Species Licence (EPSL). It is stressed by Natural England to try and redesign a project to remove any potential impacts on great crested newt populations and associated habitats in order to remove the need for licensing.

The field methods used to survey ponds are:

  1. Bottle trapping
  2. Egg search
  3. Torch surveys
  4. Netting

Natural England recommend using at least three of the methods outlined above when conducting a pond survey. Smooth newts and great crested newt eggs and larvae were found in ponds within 250m of the development.

UES proposed that by designing the project timings and working methods to avoid impacts, any potential impacts on local great crested newt populations and habitats could be effectively removed, or reduced to a negligible level thereby removing the need for protected species licensing.

Great crested newt monitoring at Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

It’s the fourth year that United Environmental Services have monitored the ponds in Kings Cliffe following a major trapping and relocation scheme. So far this year a good number of adult great crested newts and developing great crested newt larvae have been caught in bottle traps  and pond nets and recorded whilst torching. A healthy population of other amphibians including Smooth and Palmate newts have also been recorded on the site, as well as reptile species such as slow worm and grass snake.

UES caught a particularly large female great crested newt, which was heavily pregnant whilst bottle trapping. Courtship and egg-laying normally lasts from mid-March to mid-May. Female great crested newts lay eggs individually on leaves of submerged vegetation, which she then carefully folds up into a package. After about 3 weeks the great crested newt larvae hatch out and spend the next 2 to 3 months developing into juveniles, whilst feeding on a wide variety of pond life including small crustaceans and other newt larvae.

Great crested newt Pond monitoring in Northamptonshire

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Well it’s the third year we have monitored the ponds down here in Kings cliffe following a major trapping and relocation scheme. After the expected initial dip in the great crested newt population size following the trapping scheme the population seems to be on the way back on the up.

The ponds are developing well and increasing in vegetation cover year on year and we have just completed the fifth of six monitoring surveys which were a condition of the initial Natural England European Protected Species Licence application. Interestingly we have trapped the same female great crested newt for three years running.total we saw 25 great crested newts while torching and bottle trapped a further 14 this morning as well as over 40 other amphibians.  This indicates the site has a medium population which is the same as before the start of the project.

The site has  a lot of interesting wildlife, last night we saw daubentons bats, roe dear, a very young leveret and red kites, and we are looking forward to visiting again next week.

United Environmental Services are now ISO 9001 certified

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

As a company we always strive to ensure that the services we offer are high quality and good value. We decided to work towards ISO 9001 certification to further improve the way that we operate and hopefully offer a higher quality service to our customers.

Working towards ISO 9001 certification has meant that we have had to look at every aspect of the business with a critical eye in order to identify any improvements which could be made. We have looked at every area of the business from the point of view of our customers and internally and set up a framework which will help us to continually improve the service we offer.

Some of the areas which we covered are; Customer contact and feedback, staff training, professional insurances, IT systems and data security, compliance with legislation and professional licensing.

We hope that this will enable us to continually improve the way in which we work, and enable our clients to tell us if there is anything we could be doing better.

Surveys in Merseyside

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

United Environmental Services carry out surveys across Merseyside. The surveys which are carried out in Merseyside include great crested newt surveys, bat surveys, Phase 1 habitat surveys, breeding bird surveys, water vole surveys and a full range of environmental surveys. United Environmental Services also offer landscape design and garden design services in Merseyside and can provide the materials and implementation work if required. We have a team of experienced surveyors, landscape architects and ground workers who work to a high standard across Merseyside.

Bat Surveys in Merseyside

Bat surveys can be undertaken in Merseyside at most times of the year. Bats are most active in Merseyside during the spring and summer months. Bat activity surveys can only be carried out in Merseyside at these times of year. At other times of year it is possible to carry out bat scoping surveys of buildings, and bat scoping surveys of trees and other structures which may support roosting bats. If signs of use by bats or features which could support roosting bats are found, then it will be necessary to complete bat activity surveys during the spring or summer. In Merseyside many bat surveys are carried out on barns and farm buildings. This is in order to gain planning permission. Barn conversions are one of the most common causes of loss of bat habitat which is why local planning authorities insist on bat surveys prior to planning permission being granted. There are several species of bat which are resident in Merseyside. These include Noctule bat, common pipistrelle bat, soprano pipistrelle bat, Nathusius’ pipistrelle bat, Daubentons’ bat, Whiskered bat, Brandt’s’ bat. United Environmental Services use several pieces of high tech equipment to find bats during a bat survey. These include bat boxes which can detect the echolocation calls of bats and the Anabat system which detects bat echolocation calls and displays them visually on a PDA screen which makes recording of the bat calls and identification of the bat species much more accurate.

Great Crested Newt Surveys in Merseyside

Great crested newt surveys can be carried out in Merseyside during spring and early summer. Pond surveys for great crested newts are undertaken at a time of year when the great crested newt population returns to the pond to breed. Great crested newt pond surveys have to be carried out to strict guidelines and so the people undertaking them must be properly trained, licensed and experienced to carry out great crested newt pond surveys. Merseyside has many ponds and wet areas which are suitable for great crested newts. Any action which has the potential to disturb great crested newts or their habitats must be preceded by great crested newt surveys of the pond or area, to ensure that no great crested newts are disturbed. United Environmental Services have experienced and appropriately licensed staff that can carry out great crested newt surveys in Merseyside. At times of year when great crested newts are not in the ponds, other survey methods can be employed. The main technique used is the habitat suitability index which is an accepted method of assessing a habitat for its suitability for use by great crested newts.

Phase 1 Habitat surveys in Merseyside

Phase 1 habitat surveys can be carried out in Merseyside at any time of year however the optimum time of year to carry out habitat surveys is during the spring and summer months when a more complete range of Merseyside’s flora and fauna are active. Phase 1 habitat surveys are used to catalogue the different types of habitat which are found in a given area. The results of the phase 1 habitat survey can then be used to assess the impacts of a development on an area and if necessary to specify if any further survey work is required. An example of this would be if a badger sett was found inside or close to the development area then badger surveys would be recommended, similarly if an area of habitat was found which was suitable for use by breeding birds then potentially breeding bird surveys would have to be completed prior to the start of works. Merseyside has a variety of different habitat types which support a range of different species, from woodlands to urban areas. Phase 1 habitat surveys are usually required prior to the start of development work and can save time as any potential issues with protected species or protected habitats will be highlighted early in the development.

United Environmental Services are experienced in a wide range of ecological survey work, contact us for more information.

Great Crested Newt Surveys Derbyshire and the Peak District national Park

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Great Crested Newt Surveys Derbyshire and the Peak District national Park

Great crested newt surveys can be carried out in Derbyshire and the Peak District national Park during spring and early summer. Pond surveys for great crested newts are undertaken at a time of year when the great crested newt population returns to the pond to breed. Great crested newt pond surveys have to be carried out to strict guidelines and so the people undertaking them must be properly trained, licensed and experienced to carry out great crested newt pond surveys. Derbyshire and the Peak District national Park has many ponds and wet areas which are suitable for great crested newts. Any action which has the potential to disturb great crested newts or their habitats must be preceded by great crested newt surveys of the pond or area, to ensure that no great crested newts are disturbed. United Environmental Services have experienced and appropriately licensed staff that can carry out great crested newt surveys in Derbyshire and the Peak District national Park. At times of year when great crested newts are not in the ponds, other survey methods can be employed. The main technique used is the habitat suitability index which is an accepted method of assessing a habitat for its suitability for use by great crested newts.

United Environmental Services carry out surveys across Derbyshire. The surveys which are carried out in Derbyshire include great crested newt surveys, bat surveys, Phase 1 habitat surveys, breeding bird surveys, water vole surveys and a full range of environmental surveys. United Environmental Services also offer landscape design and garden design services in Derbyshire and can provide the materials and implementation work if required. We have a team of experienced surveyors, landscape architects and ground workers who work to a high standard across Derbyshire.