Vegetation survey for Natural England’s Long Term Monitoring Network, Cambridgeshire (2014)

So you’ve probably heard of ECN, the Environmental Change Network?  It’s a network of sites at which long term environmental monitoring and research is being done to help detect long-term environmental change.  Such as climate change.  Natural England have decided to get more involved with this sort of research and are setting up their own Long Term Monitoring Network using many of the methods pioneered by the ECN.  There will be 40 sites and at each one the following data will be collected (taken from NE website):

  • Weather (at least hourly)
  • Air pollution – diffuse ammonia and wet (precipitation) deposition (monthly)
  • Butterflies (weekly during the flying season)
  • Birds (twice a year)
  • Vegetation (every four years)
  • Soils (every six years)
  • Land management activities (as they arise)

Being a botanist, I was asked to help with the vegetation survey at Woodwalton and Holme Fens, and on the land inbetween which will in due course become The Great Fen.  This involved going to specific grid references and setting up permanent quadrats to record full details of the vegetation present.  Easy.  Right???

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Vaccinating badgers with Wirral and Cheshire Badger Group

My friend Paul and I were privileged to be invited to help vaccinate badgers on the first two sites vaccinated by the badger group in 2014.  Thank you !

Our role was to head out before sunrise and check each trap to see whether we had caught any badgers, then radio in to the vaccinators so they knew how many badgers we had captured and where.  We then got to watch as the licensed vaccinators did the deed and released the badgers.

We set off at 4am to reach the vaccination site and once again I was grateful to whoever invented coffee.

yup, it was dark Continue reading

Phase 1 habitat survey, near Ormskirk, West Lancashire (2014)

I got this job through a former colleague.  Thanks, Nicola!

Another basic Phase 1 habitat survey to inform a planning application, this time for a small scheme in a rural area.  Not many concerns to put in the report, as all mature trees are being retained and the splendid pond in the field will be unscathed.  Nice one.  Interesting arable flora, too, again unaffected by the project.  A most pleasant morning out.

woodland edge Continue reading

Phase 1 habitat survey, near Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire (2014)

Just your basic Phase 1 habitat survey of a couple of fields, nice-ish hedgerows, a few nice-looking mature trees – until I found it….

The mystery twig.

the mystery twig

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More Nathusius pipistrelles at Marbury Country Park :)

Marbury Country Park is turning out to be quite a special site for bats – the annual batbox check turned into a Nathusius-fest !

The day started well with a few soprano pipistrelles:

tree with batboxes

Then the excitement began.  A Nathusius pip !  And not just any Nathusius pip, A RINGED BAT.  And not just any ringed bat, ONE OF THE BATS WE RINGED IN AUGUST ! Splendid.  Extremely chuffed, we could have gone home quite happy at this point.

And so to the next bat box: Continue reading