Tag Archives: otter

Autumn otter survey, Snowdonia National Park (2013)

If you want to see otter spraint, and oodles of it, I definitely recommend the Dwyryd catchment.  We had a lovely day out with MISE project resurveying some of the sites we first looked at in May.  There follow some pictures of spraint etc, so if you’re eating your lunch, look away now 😉

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Spring otter survey, Snowdonia National Park (2013)

First things first: MISE Project are AWESOME, get involved !

OK, now that’s done, let’s talk about otter survey !  MISE Project wanted to organise otter survey of the entire Dwyryd catchment, and they wanted it all done over one weekend.  Impossible, you may think ?  Nope.  It might have had something to do with the free accommodation being offered at Trawsfynydd Holiday Village (very nice, by the way), or perhaps organiser Ceri’s winning smile, but 40, yes, forty people arrived ready to muck in. Fantastic !  It was hard work clambering around giant boulders and through brambly woodland, but all worth it to find literally hundreds of otter spraint between us and see fresh footprints and feeding remains.

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What have Wales’ coastal otters been eating ?

MISE project have been collecting and analysing otter spraint from the Welsh coast to find out what otters have been eating in the area. The full results aren’t in yet, but I can tell you that Welsh otters are eating all these things: eels, wrasse, bullrout, sticklebacks, frogs, birds and mice. I participated in a workshop at Treborth Botanic Garden as a volunteer and spent the day picking prey remains out of spraint and sorting them for identification.
I even found almost intact woodlice in one sample, although we’re pretty sure they must have come from the gut of the unfortunate bird whose remains dominated the Petri dish.
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The workshop was led by Rob Strachan (EA Wales).

Clocaenog Forest Wind Farm EIA, Denbighshire (2007-9)

Whilst at WYG, I was heavily involved in this project.  My role was to co-ordinate and supervise non-avian ecological surveys and reporting including:

  • Phase 1 habitat survey
  • NVC survey
  • great crested newt survey
  • otter and water vole survey
  • badger survey
  • dormouse survey

I led survey teams for all of the above surveys except dormouse.

After I left WYG, the ecological surveys and reports I co-ordinated were used to inform the Environmental Statement for the scheme.  The project is currently with the Infrastructure Planning Committee and further information can be found on the developer’s website.

Neuadd-goch Bank wind farm, Powys (2007-8)

I was involved with this project in its early stages, when it was referred to as Cilfaesty Hill wind farm.  Subsequently, the developers investigated additional areas of land, removing Cilfaesty Hill from the proposals and the final scheme name was changed to reflect this.

I undertook detailed Phase 1 habitat survey, NVC survey and mammal survey of the site to inform the design process.  I also participated in white-clawed crayfish survey and assessed the site’s potential to support uncommon bryophyte species.

A planning application for the scheme was submitted in January 2012 and further information can be found on the developer’s website.

Steam Raising Plant, Burneside Mills, Kendal, Cumbria (2008)

I completed Extended Phase 1 habitat survey and preliminary ecological appraisal of a proposed steam raising unit within the papermill site adjacent to the River Kent SAC.  Ecological issues for consideration included: river water quality and habitats, white-clawed crayfish, bullhead and otter.

Planning consent was awarded in June 2009.

Harestanes Wind Farm, Dumfries & Galloway (2006)

This 71-turbine wind farm has been consented and construction is well under way at the time of writing with completion expected in 2014; the developer is already considering extending the site to the north with a further 19 turbines.

I produced the ecological impact assessment chapter of the Supplementary Environmental Information document requested during the consenting process.  This document analysed potential impacts on blanket bog, red squirrel, otter, water vole, bats and pine marten.  It also included assessment of potential cumulative impacts with other wind farm proposals in the region.