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Spring is springing... so plan ahead!

By adam, Apr 18 2016 11:03PM

Spring is a busy time for ecologists! So contact us now, while you can...

Most species have now emerged from hibernation - so now is the time to make sure the coming season’s ecology survey programme is all pulled together. Early programming of ecology surveys is essential to ensure delays are not experienced later on in the year, when it is too late to do any survey work.

Ponds near development sites (up to around 500m away) should be assessed, and possibly surveyed for great crested newts. If an initial scoping survey finds that any pond presents suitable habitat, several visits to each pond will need to be carried out, with at least half being done between mid-April to mid-May. So time is pressing on this one!

A proper dormouse survey, involving nest tubes installed in suitable breeding habitat (such as hedges, scrub and woodland) on an around development sites, can take several months. Later months, in autumn and late summer are the most fruitful, but spring months can also yield productive results – and with dormouse surveys, once you have proved presence, you can often stop the survey, thus saving money.

If your development is affecting larger areas of possible bat foraging habitat, it may be wise to ask your ecologist about the need to carry out activity surveys – such as monitoring walked transects around the site, or installing remote bat detectors to log and record bat activity continuously for several days at a time. These should start in spring as this can be a key period in the bats’ year, as they move between hibernation and breeding sites.

Formal emergence surveys from potential bat roosts should generally not start until mid-May, but April and early May can be essential if you are thinking about impacts to possible transitory roosts. It is however absolutely key to use this time to plan ahead for any bat surveys needed during the summer!

Key message is, therefore – plan ahead! But do it now, as the survey season passes incredibly quickly…

great crested newt survey
great crested newt survey

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