We are delighted to have been successful in winning an auction designed to fund the Atlas of Britain and Ireland's Larger Moths which will be published in 2018.
This Atlas being produced by the lovely folk at Butterfly Conservation to mark the occasion its 50th anniversary will be the first ever atlas of Britain and Ireland's larger moths and will provide up-to-date distribution maps and species accounts of almost 900 species.
Species of moth are being offered for sponsorship in a Moth Auction spread over six batches between May and October and we have been successful in Batch 2........
To find out more about this great project or to sponsor a moth in one of the other batches being made available, click on the link below:
Sometimes newt surveys are not very exciting from an amphibian perspective - which is good for clients, but may reflect ponds that have been degraded or neglected.
However, this does not necessarily mean they are lacking in life - a grotty little Norfolk pond I was surveying last night was teeming with invertebrate life. Highlights were several water stick insects - fascinating predators of this murky, silty world, which hunt other inverts as well as larger prey such as tadpoles.
May Bank Holidays offer great opportunities for exploring the natural jewels and early May is the perfect time to explore bluebell woods.
Here in Suffolk, Bradfield Woods is a gem - an ancient woodland that is expertly managed by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust in a style of management known as coppice with standards. Much of the wood comprises hazel and ash coppice with mature trees including some fine oaks rising majestically above the coppice layer.
The result is a splendid wood with a wealth of ancient woodland indicator species - on show this weekend were bluebells (of course) but also some marvellous early marsh orchids, wood anemones, carpets of wild garlic, and for me the pick was a few remaining oxlips (a rare species nowadays).
I would highly recommend a visit - a few hours of wandering around the woods is perfect escape from the trials and tribulations of everyday life!
Bradfield Woods is a few miles from Bury St Edmunds, and is National Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest. More information can be found at the Suffolk Wildlife Trust website. Read on for more about a recent visit to see the bluebells at their best.
Throughout the wood, birds were in full voice, and an early morning visit is something I will try and fit in this month to take full advantage of the dawn chorus and the full gamut of woodland bird song. Occasionally we caught sight of dormouse tubes and nest boxes, evidence of the work of the Suffolk Wildlife Trust who have been active in re-introducing this species to this part of Suffolk.
Now we are into the first week of March, the signs of spring are everywhere.
For an ecological consultant, one of the important aspects of spring is the start of a new survey season, with the traditional surveys for great crested newt taking place between mid-March and mid-June.
Here at Huckle Ecology, we are ready to start these surveys with relish, and are also looking forward to undertaking a few Environmental DNA surveys of ponds. These surveys, involve taking water samples of ponds, with the water being tested for the presence of DNA of GCN - in many cases, a positive or negative result can lead to cost effective assessment of potential impacts.
If you need great crested newt surveys in 2017, it is still not too late to get them commissioned. Please get in touch via our contact page or email on email@example.com.
This Blog Post is kindly written by my eldest son, Monty, 10, and features a newspaper article written for his school homework.
A little hedgehog has been seen by a family in Redgrave.
The Suffolk Wildlife Trust is asking for reports of hedgehog sightings. If you have seen a hedgehog then go to their website www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org to report it.
On a recent trip to Holkham in North Norfolk, the windswept dunes and vast beach were as beautiful as I can remember.
I have been visiting this beach for over 40 years and in that time the coastal habitats have developed dramatically: dunes have risen in height, creating a sheltered embayment behind. Salt marshes have developed, creating a slippery and beautiful area of intertidal vegetation.
Throughout this period, there have been two constants: the long stretch of (usually) gentle shoreline, and the impressively forbidding line of pine forest that acts as guardian for the rear of the beach.
It is easy to think that reptile surveys are relatively straightforward compared to many ecological surveys - stick a load of carpet tiles or old metal sheets (tins) out and check them every now and then.
But it can take quite a bit of skill to find reptiles when there is a good deal of leaf litter and general cover for them to shelter in.
The photo below proves the point nicely - a common lizard skulking in leaf litter (found under a carpet tile on this occasion). Can you see it?
It has been a while since my last blog post - and that was to herald the start of the newt survey season.
Well.... with the first few days of June now complete, and sunset getting later and later, the newt surveys are drawing to their close.
May has been particularly busy , with newt surveys being undertaken at sites in Norfolk, Suffolk, and the Midlands.
It is always good to get the first newt surveys of the year in the bag. Having been delayed by a couple of weeks with overnight temperatures just a bit too low for comfort, Huckle Ecology has completed its first great crested newt survey of the year.
....and what a good one to start with - with four species of amphibians in total.
A few GCN were recorded at the site in central Norfolk, using both bottle trap and torch survey methods. In addition, smooth newts were recorded in reasonable numbers.
But perhaps the highlight was the chorus from a good population of mating toads and frogs! The sight of numerous pairs of little eyes in the light of the flashlight is always a joy to behold. A few bats were also foraging over the ponds - I will make sure to take my bat detector on the next survey visit!
Finally, the morning was topped off with my first chiffchaff of the year!
In these days of Google and Bing searches, you would think that engaging an ecologist to do some work would be straightforward, but like everything in life, things may not be as simple as they seem. That 'top of the page' search result might be OK but it may be just the case that they have a good marketing person who knows how to play the search engine game and get their listing up to the top. But does that mean they will provide you with the best service?
Fortunately, help is at hand, and the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) have recently published guidance on engaging the service of a professional ecologist. While this guidance is directed at homeowners who might need ecological advice, it is generally applicable to many professionals who may also need to commission ecological consultants.
This document is well worth a read, and can be downloaded from the CIEEM website as well using the link on the image below right.
When seeking quotes, it is worthwhile setting out exactly what you are asking to be done (and perhaps why) - this enables a fair comparison between different fee proposals, and provides the ecologist with a clear understanding about the scope of the work required. Often, we are asked in a vague manner to provide an ecology report or assessment - this is a bit like going into a car showroom and saying you want a car! There are a range of different options available and without more information you may end up with something you don't need or want.
Perhaps the key piece of advice in the CIEEM guidance though, is in my view, that about asking questions. Speak to the ecologist that you might engage - this is by far the best way of gauging their experience and ability to do the work, and will provide reassurance that they will provide you with level of service you deserve.
Over the years, my experience as a professional ecologist has taught me the value of developing a strong trust between client and consultant - this relationship often starts with a good chat about the issues relating to a potential piece of work.
For a free consultation about your potential ecology project, give Jon a call on 07496 255050 or use the Contact page to leave a message or for more ways to contact us.
This is intended to host my articles on ecology, news about what I am up to, and general musings or ramblings about things that concern me....