After a random, desperate phone call on a Friday afternoon I found myself on the Wirral at 9am Monday ready to hunt for newts. A garden centre needed supervision for clearance of vegetation on site as part of their planning conditions for new development at the site. As great crested newts had historically been recorded in the area, but not recently, the local authority had asked for Reasonable Avoidance Measures to provide reassurance that no newts would be harmed as a result of the project.
Reasonable Avoidance Measures for great crested newts means ecologist supervision for clearance of vegetation and this translates as one thing: hand searching on your hands and knees through the veg looking for anywhere newts might hide and checking all these nooks and crannies for amphibian residents.
This is super fun (!) if it involves rubble piles which have become covered in soil and vegetated over with such delights as dense, tall nettles. Perfect for amphibians plus lethal for humans with way too many opportunities to get up close and personal with nettles, heavy chunks of masonry and random bits of glass and metal. Nice (!) Luckily the area to be searched was not large and with some help from the construction boys on site was soon checked. No amphibians found, phew !
What a strange way to spend a Monday morning.