BRITISH ECOLOGICAL SOCIETY FEATURE: A DAY IN THE LIFE OF AN ASSISTANT ECOLOGIST

Baker Consultant’s newest member of the team, Assistant Ecologist Isabel Commerford, was interviewed by the British Ecological Society Niche magazine about her experience of leaving University and starting her first job during Covid19.  The article featured in the Autumn edition of the magazine and will be available to read soon at: https://www.britishecologicalsociety.org/membership-community/the-niche/

In the British Ecological Society feature Isabel outlined her experience of leaving University and starting her first job during Covid19. Isabel was awarded a bursary from Ecology Resources Ltd which was facilitated by the BES and has helped her make a strong start to her career in Ecology.  She joined Baker Consultants straight from her third year at Manchester Metropolitan University and commented on the experience, “Finishing University can be an unnerving experience for most, but then your last term gets cut short and you’re expected to do exams online, hit the ground running and start a career all during a pandemic. It’s been a challenge!”

“Times are hard right now for those in the early stages of their career, I know I’ve been really lucky to start a graduate job whilst so many of my peers are having to put their plans on hold due to Covid-19. My advice to those at a temporary stand still would be to use this time to develop your field and identification skills. There are so many online resources and learning opportunities (many of which are free!) take a look on websites such as the BES, CIEEM and Field Studies Council for webinars to get involved in.”

“I’m loving my new position with Baker Consultants, the work is so varied and interesting. I have learnt so much in the past 6 months but am looking forward to continuing developing my skills ” said Isabel in her interview.  So we thought we’d put together an article showcasing some of the jobs she has been involved in during her first 6 months with us.

Earlier in the year, Isabel was pictured on our social media timelines engaged in the business of badger bait marking and inspecting Badger latrines in south Oxfordshire, but her job has encompassed a far wider range of activities than just this!

BRITISH ECOLOGICAL SOCIETY FEATURE: A DAY IN THE LIFE OF AN ASSISTANT ECOLOGIST

Isabel joined the company in April at the beginning of the bat survey season. She has been involved in many different projects using a variety of survey methods for bats. Survey objectives range from determining the presence or absence of bat roosts, bat activity surveys or building inspections for their potential to support bats. The picture above was taken by Isabel during a nocturnal emergence survey of a building in Mansfield. Here she was recording bat echolocation calls using an Echo Meter Touch and Ipad to identify the species whilst also looking for any bats emerging from the building when a cockchafer beetle landed on her hand.

Isabel joined the company in April at the beginning of the bat survey season. She has been involved in many different projects using a variety of survey methods for bats. Survey objectives range from determining the presence or absence of bat roosts, bat activity surveys or building inspections for their potential to support bats. The picture above was taken by Isabel during a nocturnal emergence survey of a building in Mansfield. Here she was recording bat echolocation calls using an Echo Meter Touch and Ipad to identify the species whilst also looking for any bats emerging from the building when a cockchafer beetle landed on her hand.

Here Isabel is undertaking a reptile survey in Nottinghamshire to gain an understanding of common lizard population size and distribution. Mats are placed throughout the site and checked by an ecologist on multiple occasions. Reptiles use the mats as a heat source and will bask on or under them.

Next steps for Isabel include attending a QGIS course with the Field Studies Council and a bat ecology course run by CIEEM to develop new skills that will be helpful for her job as an Assistant Ecologist. She is looking forward to developing her data analysis and report writing skills on a variety of different projects. She will be expanding her knowledge in the application of Biodiversity Net Gain and is eager to help the team with field work such as habitat surveys during the winter months with the company.

Baker Consultants provide a wide range of ecology consultancy services from bat surveys on domestic properties and badger bait marking surveys on farmland to estate management planning and consultancy on SPAs and SSSIs.

For all enquiries, please get in touch with the team on info@bakerconsultants.co.ukYou can also get in touch with us via our contact form on the website, or by phone on +44 (0)1629 593958.

Biodiversity in National Parks

The Impact On Landowners In The Pledge To Protect 30% of The Countryside

As a long standing member and former convenor of the UK Environmental Law Association’s Nature Conservation Work Group it is always a pleasure to attend the meetings and participate in lively debate. Our latest meeting (via Zoom of course) was on Monday 5th October, when Ned Westaway, barrister of Francis Taylor Building, gave a thought provoking presentation under the title Protected Landscapes & Nature Conservation’ (Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks). The talk was offered in the context of Ned’s success in the recent Stubbs case and the Prime Minister’s recent commitment to protect an additional 30% of English Countryside for biodiversity. The majority of the 30% will be the National Parks and AONB which cover 26% of England.

Biodiversity In National Parks in England

England’s National Parks have a poor record when it comes to protection of biodiversity. The decline of high value habitats is well documented, for example since the Peak District was designated a National Park it has lost 97% of its traditionally managed hay meadows. To be fair to the National Parks, this loss occurred primarily because they have no additional legal powers to protect wildlife. The National Parks and Access to the Countryside 1949 Act that established National Parks in England, was focused almost entirely on protection of the landscape rather than wildlife.  Subsequent revisions to the 1949 Act (e.g. the Environment Act 1995) did very little to change the lack of wildlife protection. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) categorises National Parks into six levels, UK National Parks falling to category five, the second lowest level ‘Protected Landscape/Seascape’. This has led many to be very critical of the English National Parks with some observing that in many instances preservation of landscape is put above biodiversity conservation.

The Need For Legislative Change

This is of course a time of great legislative upheaval, with both the Environment Bill and the Agriculture Bill progressing (albeit slowly) through Parliament. Both of these Bills could bring profound changes to land management that could be very positive for nature conservation and habitat restoration. The requirement in the Environmental Bill for most development to secure 10% biodiversity net gain (BNG) is already having a considerable impact on the development industry. BNG payments may offer the funding mechanism for achieving the restoration of biodiversity of England’s protected landscapes with a proportion of the tariffs collected being diverted to these areas.

If the PM is to meet his pledge it seems that the first step required will be to address the legislative deficit within protected landscapes. The National Parks will require the laws necessary to protect what is left but also instigate a huge programme of restoration of biodiversity in National Parks.

Expert Ecology Support

Andrew Baker is Baker Consultant’s Managing Director and a senior member of the ecology profession, often called upon by barristers to stand as an expert witness and who has been involved in many high profile cases in his career.  Andrew’s other key areas of expertise are nature conservation law, Habitats Regulations Assessment and bioacoustics and he has been following developments in Biodiversity Net Gain policy making closely. For more information or advice get in touch via our contact form on the website, you can call us on +44 (0)1629 593958  or email us on info@bakerconsultants.co.uk.

 

 

 

 

In the Summer 2020 edition of the Expert Witness Journal, Baker Consultants’ Managing Director, Andrew Baker, discusses the ecological assessment of air quality and the need for multi-disciplinary expert witnesses.

Andrew has long experience in giving evidence as an expert witness in a number of different public inquiry cases.  He is often called upon by senior barristers to stand as an ecology witness and has worked on a number of air quality cases in recent years.

On the challenges of cooperation between the ecology stand point and other disciplines called to give evidence at inquiries, Andrew observes, “As a veteran of many ‘call in’ inquiries, examinations in public of Local Plans, planning appeals, hearings into Development Consent Orders and Parliamentary Select Committees, I am very familiar with the rigours of being on the stand as an expert witness. As an ecologist I am used to working in teams of planners, heritage consultants, hydrologists, noise consultants etc”

“While there is often some crossover between my area of expertise and the other disciplines, exploration of air quality issues requires an entirely new level of interdisciplinary cooperation. The work of the traffic consultant, air quality expert and the ecologist need to be seamless.”

Updated guidance on air quality assessments can be found via Natural England, IAQM and Highways England, that all focus on thresholds below which ecological effects can be ruled out. Each discipline assessing air quality therefore needs to be aware of the guidance, which in practice, causes problems.

A High Court decision in March 2017 (Wealden District Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Lewes District Council and South Downs National Park Authority [2017] EWHC 351 (Admin) led the judge in the case to criticise the guidance that was in place at the time. With the ecological effects of air quality at the forefront of the environmental agenda, air quality policy makers, conservation bodies and lawyers have had these issues brought into sharp relief.

The print edition will be available from early August, and the electronic version is available online for free for subscribers on the website link below – flip to page 40 to read the full article: https://www.expertwitness.co.uk/articles/journal/issue-32-of-the-expert-witness-journal-is-now-online

Andrew’s other key areas of expertise are nature conservation law, Habitats Regulations Assessment and bioacoustics.  For more information or advice get in touch via contact form on the website, you can call us on +44 (0)1629 593958 or email us on info@bakerconsultants.co.uk.

Baker Consultants’ Technical Director Carlos Abrahams led a webinar for the Institute of Acoustics on the subject of ‘Using Bioacoustics For Field Survey’.

Baker Consultants’ Technical Director Carlos Abrahams led a webinar for the Institute of Acoustics on the subject of ‘Using Bioacoustics For Field Survey’ earlier in the month.

For those of you who weren’t able to tune in live, this session is now available online here:

Carlos is a leading figure pioneering the development of bioacoustics methods in the UK, and this session takes viewers through hardware and software that can be used in conjunction with field analysis methods to monitor a wide variety of species such as mammals, amphibians, birds and invertebrates. You will also discover how acoustic recording is a great untapped potential for tackling conservation issues and helps us to gain a better understanding of our environment.

If you need advice on ecological surveys for land management, planning or development, then please  get in touch with us via our contact form on the website, you can call us on +44 (0)1629 593958 or email us on info@bakerconsultants.co.uk.

Baker Consultants’ has been appointed as an Ecology Consultancy to Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN) covering areas of Central & Southern Scotland, Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales and North Shropshire.

Baker Consultants’ has been appointed as an Ecology Consultancy to Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN) covering areas of Central & Southern Scotland, Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales and North Shropshire.

Scottish Power service over 3.5 million homes across their network, through a distribution network of over 30,000 substations and over 40,000km of overhead lines and 65,000 km of underground cables. This maintenance of this infrastructure often requires work in or around sensitive ecological habitats or species, some of which may have significant statutory protection, and it is this facet of work that Baker Consultants will be advising Scottish Power on.

Baker Consultants have been working on individual projects for SPEN in north Wales for the last couple of years, and we’re delighted to have been successful in acquiring this long-term framework contract and continuing that existing relationship. We are looking forward to the opportunity to work on more projects in Scotland – expanding the amount of our work in this geographical area, with its unique ecology, and different legislative and policy frameworks.

If you need advice on ecological surveys for land management, planning or development, then please  get in touch with us via our contact form on the website, or you can call us on +44 (0)1629 593958 or email us on info@bakerconsultants.co.uk.

 

Baker Consultants’ Technical Director Carlos Abrahams is leading another webinar later this month on ‘Using Bioacoustics For Field Survey’ for the Institute of Acoustics.

Baker Consultants’ Technical Director Carlos Abrahams is leading another webinar later this month on ‘Using Bioacoustics For Field Survey’ for the Institute of Acoustics.  To be held online at 2pm on 21 July, this session promises to be a great introduction for people to engage in acoustics to help them understand how they can add another dimension to brid watching activities with sound recordings.

Members of the public and IOA members are welcome to join this session and it will be of appeal to those with an interest in sound technologies and ecologists and wildlife enthusiasts alike.

Sign up for this workshop and find out more details here: https://www.ioa.org.uk/civicrm/event/info?id=571&reset=1

This session by Carlos follows a WILDLABS session on ‘Performing Automated Recordings of Bird Assemblages’ that took place earlier in July and that is now available on YouTube.

If you need advice on ecological surveys for land management, planning or development, then please  get in touch with us via our contact form on the website, or you can call us on +44 (0)1629 593958 or email us on info@bakerconsultants.co.uk.

Baker Consultants has been shortlisted for a CIEEM award for Best Practice Innovation for innovative bird bioacoustics surveying work in a Special Protection Area in Thames Basin Heaths.

Baker Consultants have been shortlisted for a CIEEM award for Best Practice Innovation, due to be announced in January 2021 (due to Covid delays), for innovative bird bioacoustics surveying work in a Special Protection Area in Thames Basin Heaths.

In 2018, Baker Consultants recorded bird song at 44 sites within the Thames Basin Heaths and Wealden Heaths SPAs using automated recording units. These sites are internationally designated for their breeding populations of European nightjar, woodlark and Dartford Warbler.

Funded by Natural England, who has been coordinating annual surveys of the Thames Basin Heaths SPA bird species since 2003, the research was carried out by Baker Consultant’s Technical Director Carlos Abraham.

Natural England selected Baker Consultants for the work due to previous pioneering work published by Baker Consultants[1] on the use of bioacoustics for surveying nightjar and other bird species.

Jessica James of Natural England  commented, “The TBH team was aware of the pioneering work that Baker Consultants had published on the use of bioacoustics for surveying nightjar[1] and other bird species. Following a conversation with Andrew Baker, Marc Turner (NE’s senior planning advisor for TBH) asked Baker Consultants to consider how the techniques could be applied to monitoring the interest features of the Thames Basin Heaths SPA. Baker Consultants responded to our request by offering a detailed research proposal which was comprehensively supported with reference to the peer-reviewed literature.”

This was the first project of its type in Europe, and one of only a handful of similar studies that have been undertaken globally. The data gathered from bioacoustic surveys was assessed within an ‘occupancy modelling’ framework. This is a relatively new statistical analysis method that allows population density (‘occupancy’) to be calculated, whilst also taking into account the accuracy of the survey method (‘detectability’).

The study is also the first in the UK to undertake a large-scale survey for multiple bird species using automated recorders. It therefore expands the geographic scope of case studies for these methods, and applies them in a new habitat, beyond the American forested ecosystems in which most previous studies have been located.

One of the benefits of the approach taken in this study is its ease of replication.  The automated recorders used were off-the-shelf commercial units (Wildlife Acoustics SongMeters), the software for call analysis (Kaleidoscope Pro) is also widely available and currently used by a number of organisations.  Statistical analysis was conducted in open-source R and the code scripts will shortly be made publicly available by Baker Consultants in a permanent data repository (Mendeley Data). As such, the project could be repeated by others on different sites, and with different species, as appropriate to their own project needs.

In addition, the project has also prompted the development of a draft protocol for bird bioacoustics, published in CIEEMs In Practice, and has been included as a case study in a CIEEM webinar and training workshop on bioacoustics, and delivered at talks for the BES and UK Acoustics Network. Further training, building on the outputs of the project, has also taken place on behalf of PR Statistics, Natural England and Wildlabs.net. A scientific paper based on the study has recently been published in Ecological Indicators.

Jessica James said of the results of the project, “Natural England was very impressed with the quality of the work completed by Baker Consultants. This was a relatively small demonstration project with limited funding. However, the outputs were considerable and exceeded our expectations in terms of the breadth of the work and the possibilities for applying this technique in the future to monitor not only the target species of the Thames Basin Heaths but also other target species on other sites and habitats. We feel that the work made a significant contribution to the development of best practice for monitoring ecological change and will lead to positive outcomes for wider nature conservation.”

On national and international scales, there is a critical need for effective, replicable and long-term monitoring of threatened wildlife and so at Baker Consultants we were excited about the successful outcomes of this project. New technology provides the opportunity for innovative fieldwork and assessment methods, enabling potential benefits to the monitoring of notable species and management of important sites. Bioacoustic monitoring has transformed the understanding of bat and cetacean ecology in recent years, but so far, has been little used for other taxa – despite a rapidly increasing scientific evidence-base.

Most importantly, our study demonstrates that the innovative methods used offer a practical alternative to ‘traditional’ bird monitoring methods, offering more effective data capture through longer-term deployment, consistent coverage between sites, avoidance of observer biases and enabling the use of better statistical methods.

 

If you have surveying or species monitoring needs, then please  get in touch with us via our contact form on the website, or you can call us on +44 (0)1629 593958 or email us on info@bakerconsultants.co.uk.

 

[1] (Zwart, M.C.Baker, A., McGowan, P.J.K., & Whittingham, M.J (2014) The Use of Automated Bioacoustic Recorders to Replace Human Wildlife Surveys: An Example Using Nightjars PLoS One 9(7).

Baker Consultant ecologists develop a methodology for the identification of two distinct song types for male European Nightjars.

Baker Consultants’ Stephen Docker and Technical Director Carlos Abrahams worked together with Andrew Lowe of the Birklands Ringing Group to develop a methodology for the identification of two distinct song types for male European Nightjars.

For the study, unattended acoustic recording devices were placed at a Nightjar study site in Nottinghamshire sampling vocalisations of the birds at two points in the breeding season.  The results show that European Nightjars’ song types vary through the breeding season and this method may prove to be a minimally intrusive means of identifying numbers of Nightjar breeding pairs as opposed to just singing males.

Get access to the full (paid-for) paper online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00063657.2020.1780414?journalCode=tbis20

If you would like more information get in touch with us via our contact form on the website, or you can call us on +44 (0)1629 593958 or email us on info@bakerconsultants.co.uk.

 

Join this Online Training Webinar: Automated Recording Of Bird Assemblages, 2 July led by Carlos Abrahams

On 2 July Baker Consultants’ Technical Director Carlos Abrahams is leading a webinar as part of a programme of tutorials by WILDLABS that brings together a worldwide community of conservationists, technologists, engineers and data scientists.

The session will examine how to perform automated recording of bird assemblages where delegates will be taken through a series of techniques in the use of bioacoustics for field survey in line with the Draft Bird Bioacoustics Survey Protocol first published in December 2018 within the CIEEM membership.

To sign up for this, and other tutorials in the series, keep an eye on WILDLABS on Twitter, or take a look at the events schedule on their website here:
https://www.wildlabs.net/resources/community-announcements/wildlabs-tech-tutors-season-one

If you need advice on surveys for land management, planning or development, then please  get in touch with us via our contact form on the website, or you can call us on +44 (0)1629 593958 or email us on info@bakerconsultants.co.uk.

 

The St Osyth Priory Development Offers First Dwellings For Sale. Baker Consultants helped City & Country through a public inquiry.

The Sargeant Family acquired St Osyth Priory in 1999 with the aim of bringing this property into reuse, functioning as a working Estate once more.  The main property on this site dates back to 1120, when the priory was first founded and was home to the Austin Canons for over 80 years, later becoming an Abbey until its dissolution in 1553.

With such long history, it is an important historic site.  It is also a site that has ancient trees that date back to the mid-16th Century and a natural environment with valuable habitats and protected species.   The redevelopment plans for the property therefore had to be approached with high levels of sensitivity and care whilst also taking steps to reduce the property’s Conservation Deficit, valued at £39 million at the outset. By the end of 2018, the Conservation Deficit was forecasted to have reduced to £18 million.

Baker Consultants was drafted in during 2014 initially, to help the developers, City & Country through a public inquiry for the St Osyth Priory development.

In 2015, this first public inquiry was allowed, enabling the Estate to press ahead with its redevelopment and restoration plans. Work commenced in 2016 and a second public inquiry was also commenced.

Baker Consultants provided ecological input to the Public Inquiry and Appeals for this site, addressing the potential impacts of the scheme and recommending mitigation measures that would allow the development proposals to be sustainably delivered. This enabled vital restoration works on the historic group of 16 listed Priory buildings.

Protected species, valuable habitats and a Local Wildlife Site were protected, and potential effects on the Colne Estuary Special Protection Area, and Essex Estuaries Special Area of Conservation, were avoided.

Proposed plans to the St Osyth Priory site in 2017. We consulted on the whole plan, but the main areas of ecological interest were the Colne Estuary to the northwest, and the area of lakes and woodland in the centre and north of the parkland.

Proposed plans to the St Osyth Priory site in 2017. We consulted on the whole plan, but the main areas of ecological interest were the Colne Estuary to the northwest, and the area of lakes and woodland in the centre and north of the parkland.

To help with attracting grant funding for the restoration costs of the site, the St Osyth Priory & Parish Trust was formed in 2016, with Trustees that include Helen Moore of City & Country, Tim Sargeant representing the family, and George Clarke, presenter of Restoration Man on Channel 4.

The dwellings on this site have now been offered for sale, and here Trustee George Clark gives a tour of this beautiful complex that has been redeveloped sensitively to its traditional building style as well as sensitively for the biodiversity interest of the site.

If you need help with your site at any point in the planning phase, then please  get in touch with us via our contact form on the website, call us on +44 (0)1629 593958 or email us on info@bakerconsultants.co.uk.

Innovation in Bird Bioacoustics saves manpower and cuts costs for surveying target species

Earlier in the year Baker Consultants published a paper in the Elsevier Ecological Indicators journal on “Combining bioacoustics and occupancy modelling for improved monitoring of rare breeding bird populations”.

This innovative piece of research work has caused some excitement in ecology circles and is one that opens up new possibilities when it comes to species monitoring using technology and data analysis skills.  Funded by Natural England, the research was carried out by Baker Consultants’ Technical Director Carlos Abrahams, and published in a high quality peer reviewed journal.  Carlos’ expertise in sound recording and data analysis drove this piece of work, following his previous studies on capercaillie in Scotland. One of the key elements of the paper was the ability to combine the acoustic recordings of target species at a range of locations, with GIS and satellite remote sensing data of the habitats present at each site.  This allowed the environmental factors that determine species presence and detectability to be assessed.

We’re really excited by the outcomes of this research, as it makes acoustic survey methods much more viable for landowners, developers and estate managers.  Traditional surveying techniques ordinarily rely on huge manpower efforts to regularly visit sites to observe and record target species.  With the techniques developed by Carlos, we’re able to monitor the species by gathering larger data sets over longer time-frames, while reducing the manpower costs of data collection.  Survey by acoustic recording is also more effective at producing a robust and defensible dataset, as it can be subject to quality assurance processes and the raw data can be stored permanently.

We are continuing to carry out ecological consultancy during the Covid19 lockdown. If you have any surveying or monitoring needs during this period, then please  get in touch with us via our  contact form on the website, call us on +44 (0)1629 593958 or email us on info@bakerconsultants.co.uk.

At Baker Consultants, we are delighted to have been shortlisted for two prestigious national CIEEM Awards– we are the only ecology consultancy in The Midlands to reach the final stages for the Small Consultancy of the Year award.

Although we are now all home-based whilst the nation responds to Covid19, we are normally based at the refurbished railway station building at Cromford Bridge where our specialist team of highly qualified ecologists has built a reputation as an industry leader at the forefront of research, innovation and emerging policies in the sector.

Baker Consultants have been shortlisted for two prestigious national CIEEM awards

It’s an honour to have been recognised by The Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environment Management (CIEEM), and shortlisted for the Small Consultancy of the Year award and also for the Best Practice Innovation Award for our pioneering work with Heathland Birds Bioacoustic Monitoring Research – a joint project with Natural England and the first of its type in Europe.

CIEEM is the professional membership body representing and supporting ecologists and environmental managers in the UK, Ireland and abroad with an aim to transform understanding of, and attitudes towards, protecting and enhancing the natural environment.

Its national awards celebrate the outstanding work of organisations and individuals working within the ecological and environmental sectors.

Managing Director, Andrew Baker said of the awards, “The team has worked incredibly hard over the last year and brought their ideas, their research and their specialist training to apply innovative, and in some cases ground-breaking, solutions to meet clients’ needs.

“Our clients include charitable organisations and local authorities alongside large infrastructure and housing developers. At any one time we have over 250 active projects and each is approached with the same robust scientific determination to secure outcomes as well as furthering conservation and promoting biodiversity.

“To go to London in October and come home with industry recognition for how we deliver what we do will be hugely significant for us as a business and as a team. We have won awards in the past it is great for the team to be rewarded for a job well done.  This year has been particularly productive and we felt strongly about putting ourselves forward for what we have achieved as a business and the projects we had been involved with.”

Winners of all categories will be announced at the annual CIEEM Awards luncheon, which has been rescheduled to a later date than planned, in October this year.

Get in touch with our team via our contact form on the website, call us on +44 (0)1629 593958 or email us on info@bakerconsultants.co.uk.

Baker Consultants’ Technical Director Carlos Abrahams is leading a webinar in association with the Institute of Acoustics and UK Acoustics Network on 13 May from 2pm.  The session will take delegates through the use of bioacoustics for field survey covering a wide range of species groups including birds, mammals, amphibians and invertebrates.

Baker Consultants’ Technical Director Carlos Abrahams is leading a webinar on the use of bioacoustics for field survey in association with the UK Acoustics Network on 13 May from 2pm.

If you would like to know more about how bioacoustic recording can provide a cost effective, highly robust method for gathering ecological data, register for this free session at the link below:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/using-bioacoustics-for-field-survey-carlos-abrahams-tickets-104430179478

If you need advice on surveys for land management, planning or development, then please  get in touch with us via our contact form on the website, or you can call us on +44 (0)1629 593958 or email us on info@bakerconsultants.co.uk.

At Baker Consultants we maintain very close contacts with a number of Universities, teaching on under graduate courses and keeping up to date and contributing to the latest research. These academic links also mean that we can offer opportunities to the brightest and the best of the newly qualified ecologists taking their first steps in their career ladder. Under the Covid-19 lockdown, although we have altered our processes when working in the field in line with DEFRA, Environmental Agency and CIEEM guidance, there is still the need to carry out plenty of surveying and other fieldwork.

And so, we are happy to welcome to the team two new Assistant Ecologists, Isabel Commerford and Jed Weaver, who will be helping us in the 2020 summer season.

Baker Consultants are happy to welcome two new Assistant Ecologists, Isabel Commerford and Jed Weaver, who will be helping us in the 2020 summer season.

Isabel is soon to graduate from the Manchester Metropolitan University where she studied Wildlife Biology at Bachelor level where she is on course for a First Class Degree.  Her interests are very broad and she has the makings of an excellent all-round ecologist. Her dissertation was on mountain hares on Bleaklow in the Peak District, so she is no stranger to arduous field work, she is a keen botanist and is close to getting her bat survey license.  Last summer she attended the British Ecological Society’s under graduate summer school where she was awarded a bursary to fund her further training and equipment.

Jed graduated from Nottingham Trent University with a First Class degree in Biological Sciences, Ecology and Environmental Management, a course which we have been very happy to contribute to over the years and is accredited by our professional body CIEEM (https://www.ntu.ac.uk/course/science-and-technology/ug/bsc-hons-biological-science).  He has an interest in environmental law and policy and will be helping our Habitats Regulations Assessment team, which is extraordinarily busy, as well as helping organise our survey schedule. He is already proving very capable and has taken on the mantle of managing this year’s DNA testing kits.

So we’re sure you will join us in warmly welcoming on board these two new rising stars to our team.

We are continuing to carry out ecological consultancy work during the Covid19 lockdown. If you have any general queries then please  get in touch with us via our contact form on the website, or you can call us on +44 (0)1629 593958 or email us on info@bakerconsultants.co.uk.

Carlos Abrahams has recently provided training in birdsong identification for the UK Acoustics Network.  The workshop demonstrated how the bird population change with the seasons, and for identifying unseen birds by their acoustic signature with the use of SM4 (Song Meters).  The use of SM4’s has further extended the project’s potential for identifying unseen birds by their song and their calls.

The study site, Colt Park Wood, is over 400 years old and it has never undergone a systematic ecological survey. In this site the team have been able to add 13 new species of birds to the 65 noted in Warden’s diaries between 1958-1996.

See the UK Acoustics Network March Newsletter detailing the Birdsong Identification Training.