The Great Crested Newt Survey Season is Fast Approaching……Or so we thought!!

April 8, 2013 Kate Hayward Ecological ConsultancyEcologistSomerset

With temperatures still well below freezing at night, the great crested newt survey season is not so fast approaching!  Natural England’s (previously English Nature) guidelines for newt surveys suggest that temperatures should be consistently above 5 degrees Celsius for conditions to be suitable to survey (particularly when bottle-trapping).  This spring we have barely reached one or two nights of temperatures above freezing.  The pond in our garden has been frozen most nights, although I have spotted a large frog in it.   There has been a mass migration of frogs and toads back to ponds down the lane from our house (the ones that have survived being squished on the road).  Hopefully they are snuggled in the muddy bottom waiting for things to warm up.  Forecasters are suggesting that during mid-April the weather looks set to change to something nearer to ‘average’ for this time of year….we’ll see.  In the meantime, Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) surveys and assessments can be undertaken – the HSI survey can assess habitat quality and quantity and scope the survey requirements for subsequent presence/absence surveys.  In 2008 Natural England’s licensing team started requiring information on HSI assessments of ponds to be included within licence applications.  Seasons Ecology has undertaken HSI assessments at several projects in advance of surveys already this year.  Presence/absence surveys coming soon……

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