Ecological survey, Llanarmon-yn-Ial, North Wales (2016)

Another week, another pipeline :)  It has been a real blast from the past working on water utilities again – many years ago I had a job at United Utilities and I loved the fieldwork, travelling all over north west England to survey sites for pipelines, extensions to water works and so on.  I didn’t love the office work quite as much – I estimated at one point that I was trying and failing to do the work of six people – so the field work was a blissful break from the stress and an opportunity to travel and get to know my own home region.

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Natterjack toad survey, Prestatyn (2016)

Every year, Denbighshire and Flintshire ecologists, wildlife rangers, ARC Trust and landowner reps get together to survey the natterjack toad population in the Prestatyn area, to see how they are doing.  We usually aim to get a big posse together and count all the ponds on the same night, for the most reliable counts.  The survey method’s pretty simple – get as many people as possible looking for natterjacks in the ponds and on land using big powerful torches, and count how many we find.

Natterjack toad being handled by licensed surveyor

Young natterjack toad being handled by licensed surveyor.  Click “natterjack” on the sidebar for reports of previous years’ monitoring.

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BSBI Cheshire meeting at Warburton, Lymm

Graeme Kay, the Cheshire vice-county recorder, has been running botanical meetings in the county for years.  I aim to attend at least one each year, or else I feel I’m being rude and not supporting my fellow botanists!  Details of Graeme’s meetings can be found in his newsletter, available on the BSBI website.

The meeting at Warburton was blessed with very pleasant weather and several botanical friends I hadn’t expected to bump into :)  We searched the village and riverside and recorded all the plants we could find.

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It was a most enjoyable afternoon out and I encourage all botanists in Cheshire and surrounding counties to join in.

Ecological survey of two sites at Colne, Lancashire (2016)

I was commissioned to provide ecological survey of two small sites in Colne which were earmarked for residential development.  Extended Phase 1 habitat survey – bread-and-butter work for any ecological consultant.  I’ve been doing this type of survey work since I first started out in 1998 and I really enjoy the process of getting to know a site and local area. Continue reading

British Bryological Society Spring Meeting 2016

The Spring Meeting was organised by the inimitable Mark O Hill and turned the focus of our bryological hand lens onto Radnorshire.  Our mission was to search for rare plants, update old records for interesting species and record in places which had never been recorded before.  This involved almost a whole week of adventures, each day starting in the inauspicious surroundings of Tesco car park in Llandrindod Wells…… Continue reading

Wigan Flashes bat surveys 2016

South Lancs Bat Group are organising a series of surveys of the Wigan Flashes this year to find out more about how bats use the area.

I went to the first survey in April which was very well attended and we recorded several species using bat detectors including common and soprano pipistrelles, noctule and Myotis species.

This is a great opportunity to learn more about bats and bat surveying while helping the bat group document how bats use the Flashes.

If you’d like to join in, please get in touch with  John Harrison-Bryant at

Warrington Plant Group at Silver Lane Pools

Despite the rotten weather, several plant enthusiasts still turned up to investigate the flora of Silver Lane Pools.  It rained pretty much all day and was very early in the season, but we still managed to record about 85 plant species for the site, including some hairy sedge which wasn’t actually hairy – controversial !!