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The Rest is Ecology

It has been 10 months to the day since I (Ben) began my journey into the field of Ecology with Tyrer Ecological Consultants Ltd, and what a whirlwind 10 months it has been. From humble beginnings at an interview in a local garden centre, which is very apt for a role in which botany is vital, the rest really is history (or in this case, ecology)! This wouldn’t have been possible without all of the team here, who have made me feel so welcome and have provided me with an endless supply of knowledge and experience, for which I am massively grateful. This has come both within the ecological and environmental sector during work hours as well as elsewhere, with regular advice being handed out and discussions being had to interest anybody and everybody, for example in relation to sports, both in person, with tightly contested and highly competitive tennis, pool, ping pong, cricket and rounders games, as well as virtually, with our office Fantasy Premier League being a mostly hotly run contest, in which I am unfortunately already out of the running in Game Week 16!



Being somewhat of a rookie in the field of professional ecology, there are more than a few areas of the sector which I was perhaps blissfully unaware of before starting. Beginning my role in January, I was somewhat ignorant of the fact that I was getting used to the calm before the storm. This period of time was, however, invaluable for me, and gave me the chance to shadow all the members of the team on surveys whilst also undertaking a variety of training courses, from applying the Biodiversity Net-gain Metric to learning Great Crested Newt (Triturus cristatus) survey techniques, identification and Licensing routes. This (relatively) relaxed period of time was never going to last, alas, and in May the bat season began. This has led to some early mornings and late nights, with Tyrer having undertaken surveys ranging from Cumbria all the way down to Warwickshire, and everywhere in between, even over on Ynys Môn / Anglesey (Diolch for reading to any Welsh readers!). A particular stand out during the season was a 03.00 meet at the office to then head up to a bat survey site in the Lake District, but even on these early mornings and late nights, there are constant reminders of the reasons why we work as ecologists and the natural world that we aim to protect. On awakening from my deep slumber on approach to the site, we immediately passed a Tawny Owl (Strix aluco) perched on a fence post, before surveying two buildings, both of which were host to multiple Soprano Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pygmaeus) roosts, with one (unfortunately not the one which I was observing) being inhabited by a maternity roost. It is really moments like these in which you forget the 4 hours sleep and all of the stresses of adulthood, and instead experience the world with childlike excitement, curiosity and wonder.



Alongside this Lake District site, I have been lucky enough to have carried out both daytime and night time surveys on sites host to Brown Long-eared (Plecotus auritus) bat maternity roosts, with up to 56 individuals within the roost, as well as seeing Brown Long-eared bats in residence at a number of other roosts, all of which were investigated and surveyed under licence. Another highlight has been seeing Natterjack Toads (Epidalea calamita), with specific surveys undertaken in the Lake District as well as incidental observations whilst observing a building in close proximity to Red Rocks Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). These enigmatic amphibians are one of the UKs rarest, and with such a highly specialised habitat, it really is a treat getting to see them in person. Speaking of amphibians, it has also been great (if you’ll pardon the pun) to have tackled some technical Great Crested Newt sites and surveys this year, and to utilise the full arsenal of surveying techniques at our disposal, including traditional methods, such as bottle trapping, egg searching, torching, netting and terrestrial searches, whilst also making use of technology right at the forefront of surveying, Environmental DNA. We now possess three fully licensed GCN surveyors at Tyrer, as well as a Natterjack Toad license, so please do get in contact for any amphibian assessments.



Whilst working at the company, it has been a real pleasure seeing three new starters integrating so successfully into the team and proving themselves invaluable across what has been a busy year for all of us here at Tyrer. This is also a real testament to the direction that Tyrer is heading as a company, and this growth is allowing us to provide an even better service for our clients, with the team now boasting experience in undertaking any aspect of ecological surveying across all taxa, be it botanical surveys, bats, breeding and overwintering birds, terrestrial mammals, amphibians, reptiles and invertebrates. Please do get in contact with us via email (enquiries@tyrer-ecologicalconsultants.co.uk) or by calling the office (+44 1704 875781) for any of your ecological needs!

Thanks for making it this far through, and we look forward to welcoming you back to the blog when one of the other members of the team will be sharing some of their experiences in ecology, in what will now hopefully become a more regular occurrence!

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