Spring is in the air. The end of March signals the end of the tree planting season and the imminent arrival of the survey season. Our daffodils in Treragin Wood are finishing for the year, but primroses are in full bloom, soon to be followed by bluebells. Meanwhile reptiles, amphibians and bats are beginning to get on the move.
One barn site we need to revisit shortly is near Looe, and needs an emergence survey for bats undertaking. Meanwhile across the Tamar in Devon we are erecting of a reptile fence and a capture and relocation programme for a small population of slow-worms. The slow-worms could be joined by an occasional newt, as we did find one juvenile palmate newt on the original survey.
On the bat front I have recently signed up to take part n Devon Wildlife Trusts Greater Horseshoe Bat Project. They are loaning detectors out for three day survey periods, and are looking to collect data for every kilometre grid square in the county. We will be placing ours in a glade in Treragin Wood. If you are interested in having a recording session on your land, take a look at http://devonbatproject.org/devon-bat-survey/ Cheaper than paying a pesky consultant like us to come out!
Greater Horseshoe Bats are particularly rare and now largely confined to the south west of England and south Wales. While protection work often focuses on developments and bat roosts, a lot of the reasons for decline over the years are related to modern agriculture. The loss of hedges and a decline in species rich grasslands have a knock-on effect on insects, the primary food source for bats as well as many birds. Long term conservation therefore requires a broad approach to the wider countryside.
So tomorrow I’m off to start the reptile fence; sometimes sitting in the office staring at a computer screen can get a little tedious! And it’s also a good excuse to delay the year end accounts…….