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.
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....