The British Herpetological Society has announced production of 'Amphibian Gullypot Ladders'. Finally an elegant way to prevent avoidable amphibian deaths has come onto the market, and the BHS is welcoming pre-orders from local authorities, conservation NGOs, ecological consultancies, and anyone else who might be interested.
Greetings from a rainy and windswept Bournemouth! Well we can't complain really, as we've had a wonderful Indian summer, and there's probably a bit more of it to come. As we go into the autumn/winter season, here's a summary of what the CGO Ecology team has been up to lately.
Tomorrow morning we're taking the CalMac ferry to the Scottish inner hebridean island of Rùm in search of rare snails. We're looking for tiny whorl snails (Vertigo species), guided by maps of Schoenus nigricans (black bog-rush, often associated with alkaline flushes), geology, geomorphology, and vegetation cover.
In five days time, we shall be heading up to the Western Highlands off Scotland, and taking a ferry to the Inner Hebridean island of Rùm. There we'll be joining colleagues from Scottish consultancy Caledonian Conservation, to carry out invertebrate surveys for Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).
CGO Ecology Ltd was set up in March 2008, and has since developed into an ecological consultancy offering a full suite of taxonomic expertise, whether in a development-mitigation context, or for conservation and status-assessment purposes.
Late May is typically the time that sand lizards (Lacerta agilis) start digging tunnels in which to lay their eggs. First they make several exploratory diggings in bare firm sandy ground, and may take several attempts before they manage to dig a suitable egg burrow. The nesting period usually lasts from the last week of May to the first week of June in southern England, and activity may be peaked or spread over a wider period if weather is poor. Warm dry afternoons and evenings are the favoured time for digging.
Spring is a busy time for ecological consultancies, and we often have to recruit seasonal staff and subcontractors at very short notice. At CGO Ecology we therefore welcome CVs from prospective employees and subcontractors at this time of year, but also throughout the year.
Many of you will have heard the terrible news this Tuesday afternoon (31st March 2015) that on one of Dorset's best-known and best-loved heathlands was largely lost in a huge fire. The Fire Service believes it was arson, with the fire started deliberately in three places. Much of Amphibian and Reptile Conservation's (ARC's) Town Common reserve, and ARC & Christchurch Borough Council's St Catherine's Hill reserve have gone up in flames. The Fire Service estimated 800m x 800m, which would be over 60 hectares (150 acres) gone; but current estimates by ARC staff are more like 80 hectares.
Spring is pretty much here now, and there is always a distinct surge in ecological consultancy work at this time of year. We have therefore been recruiting, and we welcome our newest staff member, Alice Quinney, who joins us as an Ecologist.
When CGO Ecology first started in March 2008, it was just a one-man band. Now we have four permanent staff, quite a few seasonal staff, and numerous subcontractor associates. In 2014 for the first time, we set up our own Habitat Management Team, so that we could offer heathland restoration, scrub and invasive species removal, and other habitat-related services.