Monday 3 November 2014

Not quite tree surgery

In the past few weeks, a group of arboriculturalists have injected some extra zeal and energy into our project, helping carry out some habitat enhancements in the North West Zone. The team from Roots Upwards Ltd, led by Matt and along with their own ecologist Ben, even gave up some of their precious weekend to move bat boxes in Brockley Wood.

Martyn Cooke from Surrey Bat Group and tree climber Adam scouting for boxes

Shinning up the tall oak trees in Brockley Wood is no problem for these guys, and Adam carefully checks each box for occupancy before they are cleaned out and re-hung on the tree. In the last box he was treated to an unexpected 'Close Encounter of the Fuzzy Kind'...

Adam: "Hang on a sec... there IS a bat in here..."

"Hey, lads! Ahh, you alright lads?"
Natterer's Bats (Myotis nattereri)

I love witnessing encounters like Adam's; it's so rare to see an animal like a bat close up like this and a privileged moment. Martyn identified this cosy bat cluster as a group of Natterer's Bats (though it probably consists of a few ladies as well as lads). After taking these pictures for us, Adam carefully closed the box back up and left them to their daytime snoozing.   
   Another great help has been ecologist Ben; boosting our wildlife records for this site, ensuring disturbance is minimized during the essential works, then overseeing some extra habitat enhancements:

Foundations of  a beetle bank; ready to be finished off in spring with a cap of top soil and seed 

On top of the scheduled habitat works I oversee with J S Agriculture, Tom Simpson and guys like these contribute a heck of a lot to the project, adding another string to our bow as we shoot for the Wildlife Trust's Biodiversity Benchmark Award (our main audit is happening at the end of this month!) 

Brash piles securely staked high up on the floodplain, providing extra cover for wildlife where clearance works have taken place

Who ya gonna call? Matt of Roots Upwards

At the end of a rather extended summer, we are off to a flying start with the 3rd year of autumnal conservation works. We have more habitat enhancements coming up from JSA, an intensive Harvest Mouse survey with Surrey Mammal Group and Mr Simpson's conservation schedule is quickly filling up. So you better drop us a line soon if you want to get involved!

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