Reptile Survey and Assessment
Client: Cumbria Wildlife Trust
Cumbria Wildlife Trust is restoring three lowland raised mires, Drumburgh, Meathop and Foulshaw Mosses, all three of which are designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC). Past management has compromised the integrity of these sites through peat cutting, drainage and forestry.
Haycock and Jay Associates was commissioned to design and undertake comprehensive reptile survey of all three sites, two near Kendal and the third west of Carlisle, to ensure restoration operations did not significantly impact on the nature conservation status of reptiles.
Early season surveys identified adder hibernation and aggregation areas at each site. Subsequently 945 artificial refugia were carefully positioned and monitored ten times over the course of the survey season. Direct observation transects were also conducted across the sites on each of the ten survey visits.
This comprehensive survey allowed a detailed picture of species present and site usage by reptiles to be drawn up. Good numbers of slow worm, common lizard and adder were recorded and critical habitat for each species was mapped. Photographic recording of adder allowed individuals to be identified and from this estimates of population size were made.
Reptile survey is highly weather and temperature dependent, however, ten surveys for the entirety of each site were successfully undertaken within the Natural England recommended survey guidelines.
Through careful project management, reptile survey and reporting in this large area of challenging habitat was delivered to a high standard, on time and on budget.