Jon Cranfield

Archive for the ‘Wildlife’ Category

the record pool online reporting in the UK

In Adders, great crested newts, Observations, Wildlife on October 29, 2012 at 10:56 pm

the network of amphibian and reptile groups in the uk have been recording and reporting the presence and relative abundance of the reptiles and amphibians they see on their surveys. The technology has moved forwards the use of mobile devices and online reporting. The desk top version of the sighting card is demonstrated in the following YouTube video.


Nevendon progress and sightings

In Adders, mitigation, Observations, Wildlife on April 29, 2012 at 8:40 am

News has come in from our nature reserve in Wickford, Essex.

The rain was most welcome over the last few weeks. The washland has flooded well over the footpath creating a large temporary wetland while at the same time preventing flooding of Wickford.

The first count of the newts was a cracking 95 out of the six newt ponds. The estimated population being possibly 900 to 1800.

All the pondlets or very small ponds have refilled and we are looking forward to the invertebrate surveys this summer especially these very temporary pools.

The reptiles are starting to show with grass snakes, slow-worms and lizards in small numbers. No adders have been spotted so far though. Trying not too worry too much about that this but it may well be a symptom of the result of translating such animals. We are will report further on this in due course.

The newt area has produced 4 grey partridge – a cock and three hens. Really pleasing that a BAP species seems to be doing well on this mitigation site.

Photos to follow soon

Back on the blogging

In Garden pond, Wildlife on April 28, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Well have been away for a while and I have just got a blackberry playbook and so I will be updating the blog using this excellent tablet. Some interesting projects are coming up this summer. Will keep updates on this Page as they come in.

The next open day at the eel house is on the 20th May. On the last open weekend an adult eel was spotted at the eel house. Elvers were also spotted over the weeks leading up to the open day.

I am attending the living churchyard conference in Surrey on the 11th May. I am giving a talk called Blooms, Butterflies and dragons of St johns churchyard, New Alresford. Looking forward to it.

My next job is a visit to Lightwater Country Park with Writtle College students. I wonder whether we could place bets on whether we will see 5 out of the 6 reptiles found there.

We will see……..

Out of destruction comes new life & habitats…..

In ecosystems, mitigation, Observations, Wildlife on August 11, 2011 at 2:23 pm

The power lines across the Nevendon Road site are supported by wooden telegraph poles. The local woodpecker population seem to be keen on these upright dead trees despite being treated the woodpeckers put massive holes into the sides of these poles. A local contractor had access recently to replace the poles in the middle of the washland area. I asked him what machinery he was going to be using – fearing that as an ecologist I was about to place restrictions on his normal day to day works he said that ‘they would be using a 4×4 vehicle, a cherry picker and a tracked 360 digger’. ‘No problem’ I said ‘just one thing, if you make a mess (i.e. rutts and tracks) do you normally tidy this up?’

He stated that ‘oh yes we would want to make sure everything is tidy when we leave’. I wanted to make sure that I got some compensatory habitat as a result of the works – so I asked ‘Can you leave the wheel ruts and the track markss please?’ To his amazement We don’t normally get asked to do that, normally we are told off for leaving wheel ruts and tracks on private land. I explained that I wanted to create small ponds and linear ditch features on the wash land. The easiest way to do this is by machine digging holes in the ground or in this case the wheels and tracks left behind the work on the telegraph poles.

creating shallow water bodies by machinerylinear water body creation

The mess left over was a little concerning. I was over the site with our botanist and I showed him the wheel or track ruts. He basically said ‘they got a bit stuck then?’ and finished off with ‘that would help with maximising the biodiversity of the site’

further observations on the pond

In Garden pond, Observations, the garden pond blog, Wildlife on May 14, 2011 at 7:03 am

It is definitely amazing how the pond can attract so much wildlife. The pond is now considered to be on the lower end of the ‘excellent’ score calculated through the Big Pond Dip by Pond Conservation. I found darter dragonfly larvae in the warm shallows of the pond.

Other inhabitants include a large number of scavenger beetles and freshwater hydra – little anemone type creatures.

The pond also has a strong head of water fleas. The water is effectively buzzing with life.

It just goes to should how important ponds are. This pond is not even a year old and it has over a dozen animal groups or species within it.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.


In Adders, ecosystems, mitigation, Observations, Wildlife on March 16, 2011 at 11:38 pm

I am going to have to reveal what I know about this reptile translocation scheme. The title is the hash tag I have used highlighting the concerns over this project and what it means for conserving reptiles in the UK.

I will be highlighting the concerns of herpetologists on the RAUK Forum and details of what EARG has managed to find out about the project. First I want to highlight people to the guidance which the consultants are claiming to follow:-

English Nature 2004 – Aims of a reptile mitigation strategy

Planning fordevelopment andmitigationPlanning must incorporate two aims where reptiles are present:

1  To protect reptiles from any harm that might arise during the development work;

2  To ensure that sufficient quality,quantity and connectivity of habitatis provided to accommodate thereptile population, either on-site orat an alternative site, with no net loss of local reptile conservation status.

The latest standing advice for planning departments by Natural England – published on the web

Chawton Park Woods – photos

In Adders, Observations, Wildlife on March 16, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Just a couple of photos while out looking for adders. Just taking shots of the inverts which were around this day.

I did manage to find a male adder. I have some more photos from the Cornwall trip – pied blackbird, toads, spawn – including albino frog spawn and those excellent tin streaming ponds….

pond levels over the last few days

In Garden pond, Observations, the garden pond blog, Wildlife on February 13, 2011 at 2:10 pm
after the thaw the water level dropped

after the thaw the water level dropped

Water beetle Larva

In Garden pond, Observations, the garden pond blog, Wildlife on February 11, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Photo taken - 11th Feb 2011

The invertebrates in the garden pond are doing very well. The pond had low water levels up until two days ago when the rain filled the pond back up again. The new water levels bring the animals closer to the edge where these photos can be taken.

Using an inverted lens – holding it back to front these macro shots were obtained using a sunpak 4000AF flash and a head torch I managed to get this photo after dark

As I get to grips with the method I hope to get some more macro shots of mayfly larvae and the adult water beetles which are also in the pond – this may require capture and setting up the animals in a suitable container with dead leaves and pebbles for natural effect

Hanna Combo finally arrives!

In Garden pond, Observations, the big pond thaw survey 2011, the garden pond blog, Wildlife on February 11, 2011 at 6:16 pm

I have recently purchased a pH/Conductivity Meter as suggested by Pond Conservation. The meter enables a measurement of how much ‘pollution’ or ‘nutrients’ are within ponds which I visit. I have tested my garden pond and I plan to visit several water bodies around the town to see each of them compare. The river in our town is a chalk stream – assumed to be in pristine condition. However I feel that the meter will tell a different story.

Creating ponds according to Jeremy Biggs from pond Conservation is the best way to bring back clean water habitats to our countryside. I have a very clean pond in my garden and I hope to create more as a result of my volunteer and professional work with amphibians. See the photo of the meter