New level 1 GCN licence

Ben Christie Assistant Ecologist

Ben preparing for the great crested newt season in 2017.

NWS is proud to announce that our assistant ecologist, Ben Christie, recently acquired his level 1 great crested newt (GCN) class licence. Great crested newts are European Protected Species, meaning a license is needed to work with the species. Ben has worked exceptionally hard to obtain his license which permits him to survey great crested newts by hand, net, torch, aquatic funnel traps and bottle traps.


Bat survey health and safety training

NWS staff have undertaken new bat survey health and safety training.

Health and safety training

Sally, Carolyn and Chris now know how to enter derelict buildings safely during initial inspections.

Members of the team have learnt how to safely survey a building during initial inspections. Ecologists often have to enter derelict buildings to get a feel for their bat roost potential. Following this training, NWS staff now knows how best to avoid hazards, such as inhalation of asbestos.

Bittern’s Breakfast and Avocet’s Lunch

Ever wondered what Cley’s birds eat for brekkie and lunch ?

Find out by joining us at Cley Marshes on Thursday 17th September. On this full day workshop, we will be looking at what delicacies the bitterns, avocets and other waders, wildfowl and gulls dine on at Cley Marshes in restaurants such as saline pools, reedbed and mudflats, and how coastal ecology provides the menus.

After a morning classroom briefing on coastal ecology and birds, and some “here’s some we prepared earlier” tastings, we will be ‘grubbing’ about in the marshes in a “behind-the-scenes” practical session to look for delicacies on the menu for birds. We will test various sampling methods using nets, forks, spades, buckets and sieves.  Getting covered in mud optional – and sandwiches are available instead of eating the avocet’s lunch !

There will be an afternoon session to examine samples upclose in the lab for a gourmet –
session separating food into their main taxonomic groups and training in using keys to
identify as far as possible.

If you want to see the difference between a ragworm and a lugworm – and a goby and a blenny – and to know a bit more about what Cley’s bird eat, this is a course for you.

The workshop will be lead by Norfolk marine wildlife expert, Rob Spray, who is an enthusiastic and entertaining tutor, ably assisted by NWS invert expert Ben Christie.

STOP PRESS : Ben Moore will present a summary of his thesis on the changes to the marsh invert community due to the storm surge.

Workshop Tutors: Rob Spray, Ben Christie

Date and Time: Thursday 17th September 2015, 10:30 am – 4:00 pm

Location: Cley Nature Reserve

Cost: £75 plus V.A.T., or £45 plus V.A.T. for concessions, including lunch.

Booking: To book a place, contact Ben Christie at Norfolk Wildlife Services by emailing, or by telephoning 01603 625 540.

See also

Great crested newt mitigation workshop, 17 April 2015

A one-day mitigation workshop is being organised by the Association of Wildlife Trust Consultancies at Hampton Nature Reserve [ aka Orton Brickpits ], Peterborough on Friday 17 April. It will be hosted by Dr Silviu Petrovan of Froglife with an exclusive chance to gain access to restricted areas.

Great crested newt fence This great crested newt was found during pitfall trapping in 2014 This 1m x 1mx 2m hibernacula has a rubble/log base to provide crevices for overwintering newts

What the workshop includes

The day will run from from 10:00 to 4:00 and be an informal series of short talks and discussions on newt mitigation and licencing, followed by a tour of reserve.

For you of who don’t know it Hampton / Orton Brick Pits is one of the largest great crested newt colonies in Europe and also one of the few SACs designated for its newt populations.  It is connected under a main road by big tunnels, the “Newt Superhighway”, which Froglife have researched using infrared cameras and other automated equipment to look at efficacy of this type of mitigation.

Find out more about the somewhat shocking results at the event, as well as a reveal about reptile translocations success elsewhere, and get the chance to exchange ideas on newt mitigation schemes.

We would also hope to set up the mentoring scheme for people within the WT’s and AWTC seeking mentoring to allow them to apply independently to Natural England for newt European Protected Species Licences.

Getting a place and costs

Attendance is open to all Association of Wildlife Trust member organisations and Wildlife Trust staff.  Places are limited to 15, so it will be first come first served.

Transfers from nearby Peterborough Station can be arranged.

Cost will be £30 including lunch.

To book contact us at Norfolk Wildlife Services on 01603 625 540.

Water vole Ecology and Surveying Techniques training course – 27 August, Sculthorpe

On the 27 August 2014, Norfolk Wildlife Services will be running a training course on Water Vole Ecology and Surveying Techniques, at the Hawk and Owl Trust site at Sculthorpe Moor. This course provides an introduction to water voles, looking at their ecology, current population and distribution trends and the most recent legislation, with a practical outdoor session looking for water voles out in the wild.

The course will be led by Paul Gambling and has proved highly popular in the past, so book early to avoid disappointment.

“Paul is a very good trainer, very knowledgeable and enthusiastic!”

“Information provided was exactly what was needed to go out and do surveys on own – the crib sheet in particular is very handy.”

Course details : Water Vole Ecology and Surveys
A session covering water vole ecology, field signs and survey techniques and relevant legislation
Course Tutor: Paul Gambling
Date and Time: Wednesday 27th August 2014, 10:00am – 4:00pm
Location: Sculthorpe Moor Community Nature Reserve, Fakenham
Cost: £75 plus V.A.T., or £45 plus V.A.T. for concessions.
Course Content:: The course will be held at an introductory level and is suitable for ecologists, planners, land managers/owners, or anyone with an interest in water voles

Morning Session: An introduction to water voles and their ecology: lifecycle, habitats, food, predators, the problems they face, reasons for population decline, interaction with their latest predator the American Mink, and current legislation.
Afternoon Session: Practical field training including: introduction to surveying techniques and recording forms, equipment, safe surveying, identifying water vole field signs, how and where to look for signs, avoiding identification mistakes, and identifying potential water vole habitat.

Equipment: For the practical bring stout footwear or wellies, gloves (to protect against nettles and brambles), a walking stick or similar (for support and for parting vegetation), a hand-lens (or watchmakers’ or other magnifying glass) if you have one, and outdoor clothing appropriate for the weather that day.
Hot drinks and biscuits will be provided, but please bring a packed lunch.

Booking:  To book a place, contact Abi Gray at Norfolk Wildlife Services by emailing abig [at], or by telephoning 01603 625 540.