Another month has flown by here at Acorn. Although the survey season has well and truly ended, I have still been out enjoying the outdoors and working on my skills.
ECoW: Bat Tool Box Talks
I have been to a few Ecological Clerk of Work jobs with Colin and Sarah now, mostly roof removals which had bat EPSL mitigation plans. This involved providing a Tool Box Talk to the builders, explaining their legal obligations and ensuring they know what to do if they come across a bat. Also handy to take a nice big sample of bat droppings to show them! We supervised the start of works and Sarah and I got to work removing the old slate roof tiles from one of the schools we visited– not something you usually think of doing as an ecologist but it was actually quite fun! Plus, it was lovely and sunny.
Jess and I went out to do a tree survey recently. Luckily Jess picked a beautiful sunny winters morning for it. We got our binoculars out and had a good inspection for any Potential Roost Features – this gave me a good opportunity to use the knowledge Colin had shared with me a few weeks ago about features that may support bats. We noted any splits, holes and lifted bark on the big oak trees as seen in the photos. It was good to practice ID of the smaller trees, especially as it becomes a lot harder in the winter when they’re considerably less leafy!
Preliminary Ecological Appraisals
I have really enjoyed getting out on lots of PEAs this month! Plenty of opportunity to work on my botany and bird ID skills. Assessing the potential of a site to support notable species has been a skill I’ve wanted to improve for a long time, so it’s been great to get out and about. At a site with Colin recently, we saw a spindle tree (Euonymus europaea) with beautiful pink seed pods and some mistletoe (Viscum album) growing on a crab apple tree. I managed to identify a bull finch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) from its song and we saw a nuthatch (Sitta europaea) too! Bird ID is definitely something I have improved on over the past 10 weeks. The same site was also used by foraging badgers, so I got to practice looking for signs of their activity – in this case, lots of poo! Every week has come with new discoveries and achievements, fortunately with lots of sunshine and butterflies too!
Jasmin is on placement here in the Exeter office as part of her University degree. If you are interested in work experience with us in one of our branches please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org.
n.b. Preference is always given to those on the PLUS Certificate Course.