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Spring News from Pennine Ecological

As usual at this time of year the newt survey season begins in March and all our surveyors are gearing up for another busy period and lots of late nights and early morning starts!

We have already secured a number of newt survey contracts across NW England including sites in Lancashire, Cheshire and Greater Manchester as part of our role as framework ecologists for United Utilities PLC.

We will also be surveying sites for private landowners and undertaking  a rolling programme of amphibian population monitoring at sites which we manage under existing protected species licensing, for clients such as BAE Systems.

Annual monitoring work continues at Hic Bibi Nature Reserve where several new ponds which we created in 2008 are now well established great crested newt breeding locations.

The new ponds really have been an outstanding success and have compensated for the natural succession and drying of older ponds on the reserve.


Bolesworth estate: Continuing Care Retirement Village

After many protracted planning delays, PENNIINE Ecological are pleased to announce that we have submitted Natural England licence applications in respect of Badgers and Great Crested Newts.

As part of the development, ecological works include the construction of a new off site artificial badger sett and creation of new ponds, meadows, hedgerows, woodland copses and an orchard.

The Construction of the Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) , includes a 36 bed care facility, residential units, wellness spa, site service and ancillary buildings. Recreational facilities including bowling green and potager garden. Main square, site road infrastructure and extensive landscaping and habitat creation/enhancement. 


Wildlife Snippets

Smithills Moor, Bolton, late January 2012:  Flock of 80 + fieldfare resident for 1 week feeding on upland pastures below Winter Hill.

Rochdale, February 2012: Badger sett active on monitoring site in Rochdale. 


Weather update

An un-seasonally warm early winter which followed a very warm Autumn (UK October highest temperature of 29.9°C was recorded on the 1st) caught everyone by surprise including our flora and fauna. Apple blossom in January ! and strawberries in December !.

This was quickly followed by a very cold late January / February Siberian blast from the east. This was caused by an exceptionally large high pressure system stretching almost half way around the northern hemisphere from NE Siberia to the UK. This weather pattern bought the usual combination of dry cold continental air and low levels of precipitation. Only eastern coastal counties exposed to the easterlies laden with air moistened by their North Sea transit received any significant snow.     

The conditions only had minimal impacts on our work since most ecological surveys are restricted to the warmer months March – October. However at the time of writing another mid / late February cold snap this time with an Arctic influence from the north / north west is forecast.

We hope another repeat of weather delayed amphibian surveys does not occur this year as it has several times in the last 5 years.

As I type the Met Office have just released another snow warning for Saturday 18th Feb. Here we go again !!

Link to Met Office website