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Ecology Year 2014

Looking back on this year’s fieldwork, it’s been an interesting ecology season at Urban Edge Environmental with surveys taking us all over the country.

We have carried out a number of Phase 1 habitat surveys for large scale, mixed use developments.  These have comprised a great diversity of habitats ranging from the site of some demolished warehouses in a very urban location through to arable and pastoral landscapes bordering ancient woodlands, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and Local Wildlife Sites.

Our protected species surveys have covered most of the main species/groups, including badger, bats, birds, dormouse, great crested newt, reptiles and water vole.  We have even been fortunate enough to survey a couple of sites within walking distance of the Kennett and Avon rivers, which made for very pleasant locations to stop for lunch.

During one of the many reptile surveys we carried out this year, one of our ecologists found this slow-worm at a site in West Sussex.  Quite a monster, estimated to be around 45cm long, which is pretty close to the maximum recorded length for this species in the UK.  Surprisingly slow worms can live up to 30 years in the wild, although the record comes from an individual at Copenhagen Zoo which lived an astonishing 54 years.

Another highlight of the year came from a trail-cam which had been deployed to monitor a badger sett.  We managed to capture many photos of the comings and goings around the sett, but this picture of four badgers lining up to smile for the camera was probably our favourite.

Bats have also featured strongly in our work this year, with ecologist Sam Pottier going on a bat identification and handling course where he had the opportunity to meet pipistrelles, brown-long eared bats and one rather grumpy, and very bitey serotine.  We have also undertaken a number of activity and roost surveys, recording a total of ten of the UK’s eighteen bat species – including both greater and lesser horseshoes and barbastelle bats, all three of which are rare in the UK.

All in all it has been a varied and exciting season and we are already looking forward to getting back into the field next year.

Tags: Badger, Bats, Birds, Ecological surveys, Ecology, EPS, News, Reptiles