Although it was cold (and gloomy with the eclipse ) this morning, the East Anglian wildlife thinks spring is in the air. Blackbirds and song thrush are fighting over garden string for their nests, violets and celandine are in flower and we have found our first great crested newt eggs.
Inspired by a bit of spring fever, we thought we would share out top ecology and wildlife 10 tips for 2015.
Enjoy the sunshine !
Bee on thorn blossom, March 2015
1. Watch out if felling trees
If you are doing any tree feeling or scrub clearance then you need to be very careful. Birds have already started nesting and our prediction is that a mild winter will promote really quick breeding by most species. If you have already missed the boat, then speak to us for advice on what to do and how to find out when they have left. You can find out how we have helped ENI Bacton here.
2. Don’t bother with eDNA tests for Great Crested Newts
eDNA tests were meant to be revolutionary for great crested newt surveys, by detecting small amounts of DNA in a pond, but have turned out not to be a damp squib. They have no more flexibility than normal nocturnal surveys, are more expensive per pond, and if you do find newts you need to do nighttime surveys anyway. Plus if you don’t have kits and slots booked can take months to come back with a result. ADAS are pushing them hard and they do have some applications, but at present prices ask us if they are worthwhile.
3. Do book in your night time newt surveys
The key newt survey window is from April to May. Miss the window and you might have missed the boat for the year………..ring us now and we will book it in for you.
4. Visit a Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve.
The new Cley vistor Centre is being built if you want to see ( we did the landscaping plan for this). For spring flowers NWT Foxley Wood is the reserve par excellence to go. All our profits go back to NWT so you can see where this is all being spent.
5. Buy a bird box cheep
It is actually too late to put up bird boxes as a rule. Most species if not nesting will have already set up territories long ago. However buying late spring may get you discounts as retailers realise they have too much stock. We can recommend Wildcare for their excellent customer service and range of boxes, and they will sometimes haggle on larger orders. Even cheeper is making them yourself. ?…
6. Watch out for judicial review and planning appeals
A frequent feature of recent years has been challenges by developers or objectors to planning applications. We see the same mistakes year after year by other ecology consultancy that make you think they have never read Morge versus Hants. If you think JR or an appeal might be in the air, and want your case looking at then come to us. We also offer a critique service for existing applications and an expert witness service for ecology. Get us involved with ecology right from the start and reduce your stress.
7. Be nice to Natural England staff
There are serious delays to EPSL applications, and the roll out of the new agri-environment scheme has been repeatedly delayed, but the thin green line of Natural England staff continue to stoically slog away with their limited resources and chippa spirit, while there are now rarer than than stone curlews in Norfolk. Whenever we need their help, the staff do the very best they can, and we recommend when you meet them offering them a strong cuppa and possibly a choccy biscuit for good measure. Well done you lot.
8. Think about green space for walking the dog
Recreational pressure on the ecology of coastal sites is an emerging issue in Norfolk and Norfolk authorities have commissioned another study similar to that leading to policy CP10 in Breckland. We can help design development sites with sufficient provision for informal recreation, which also makes them a better place to live for residents and more attractive to buyers. The layout of greenspace at Bradwell was designed as dog and people friendly with our help and helped overcome objections.
9. Do something small for bees
Right now thorn flowers are a great place for them, but bees are in decline, which is bad for them and bad for us. The new “ecological focus areas” of agri-environment will help them with special nectar rich mixes, but planting the right flowers for summer can help them everywhere. You need to get planting soon though – if you want wildflowers we have a few recommendations.
10. Have a day off from the office and do something different
Join Norfolk Wildlife Trust. Try volunteering with Norfolk Wildlife Trust on one of their reserves, or learning about wildlife. You can go on a guided bird spotting walk on 5 April at Cley Marshes, where our new landscaping is nearly in place ( did we say that before – we are quite excited !) ….. If the boss has the money, then join NWT as a corporate member and get along to a corporate event. Good for the heart, good for the soul. Find out about events, here in the easy to use calendar : https://www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk/whats-on/calendar