Cathy reptile survey

Cathy’s blog

Cathy has spent the last 4 weeks on placement in the Exeter office. She has recently graduated from a Degree in Ecology and Conservation and is enjoying a variety of different tasks that Ecological Consultants regularly carry out.

Over the last 4 weeks, Cathy has been on bat emergence/re-entry surveys, reptile surveys, loft inspections, bat activity surveys, riverside surveys for otters and water voles….. We’ve been keeping her very busy!

Cathy has already had a lot of experience in field work, holding Natural England licences for bats, GCN and dormice already! Her experience certainly shows and it’s been great to have her in the office. Her placement has given her experience of undertaking surveys in a consultancy role, as most of her experience so far has been in the volunteer/conservation sector. She has been getting stuck into reporting, mapping and quoting for work to fill in some skills gaps.

Here Cathy writes about one of the surveys she went on, a verification survey before an EPSL application:

Expect the unexpected

I went on a verification survey. This survey is carried out before an EPSL (European Protected Species Licence) application is completed. The verification survey is to make sure that nothing has changed since the last survey was carried out.

On this particular occasion, the verification survey was needed for a barn that was going to be converted into holiday accommodation. There was a known lesser horseshoe bat roost nearby and, during the surveys in 2016, a horseshoe bat flew into the barn. Other bat species were also found to be using the building.

First the external examination was carried out and part of a brick wall had fallen down since the last surveys. For safety reasons the farmer had boarded up part of the wall. This was to stop bricks from falling down and injuring people.

An internal inspection revealed that the number and distribution of lesser horseshoe bat droppings were similar to the previous survey and nothing else appeared too changed.

The friendly farmer told us about the work that he had been doing to the farm to encourage wildlife. He had created an enormous wildlife pond and around it we saw children’s pets- wallabies!  3 of the wallabies had joeys poking their heads out of their mother’s pouches.

What a Surprise!

You never know what else you might find on a bat survey!

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Acorn Ecology Training

Acorn Ecology is one of the top providers of ecological consultancy courses in the UK. We provide ecology courses and field training for new graduates, career changers, experienced ecologists, developers, architects and conservationists wishing to work in consultancy.