A day in the life of an Environmental Consultant – August 2018.

 

 

Carl demonstrates getting over the humpThe seasons are a changing. The light is more golden, more intense, the dew is wet on the grass in the mornings, cobwebs shimmer on the marshes and lapwing flocks are gathering.

Autumn always signifies a time for new beginnings. The ‘Back to School’ feeling that haunted my summers settles upon me and I feel it is a time of new pencil cases, new exercise books, new projects.

Last month we began planning a new project to look at disturbance to wildlife on the Medway and Swale Estuary caused by personal watercraft, namely hovercrafts and jet skis. At the invitation of Carl Cristina, from the Hovercraft Guild of Great Britain, I took a trip out on the Swale to see the issue of disturbance first hand and understand the perspective of the hovercraft users. Only by talking to the people involved is it possible to begin planning ways of reducing the problem.

Personal watercraft, along with dogs off of leads, are having an impact on the 300,000 birds using the estuary every year. Flushing birds from feeding and breeding areas, if only for a few minutes, lessens the chances of survival. Talking to hovercraft users however revealed a number of practical measures we could take to better inform users and provide training to help people avoid sensitive zones as well as raising awareness of the importance of the estuary for wildlife.

We have now submitted a project proposal to Medway Swale Estuary Partnership and spoken to Medway Council with the intention of seeking funding to implement these changes.
Last month we also met with wildlife photographer Robert Canis to discuss a potential article for BBC Wildlife Magazine about the work of the farmers of North Kent to improve the fortune of lapwings.

Nicole Khan looking at Mr Oylers

Nicole Khan of the RSPB inspect farmland.

Lapwings were also very much on the agenda at a meeting with Nicole Khan of the RSPB when we discussed the increase in breeding pairs on farmland in North Kent and talked about plans for more practical projects which we plan to discuss when we begin our yearly round of farm visits next month.

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8 thoughts on “A day in the life of an Environmental Consultant – August 2018.

  1. Good to see some action regarding Lapwings hopefully it will be nation wide.Here in South Yorkshire I’ve seen only 5 this summer.

  2. On lapwings, I saw at least three pairs nesting this year on the fields around us (Nagden and Graveney Marshes) and was horrified to see the farmer working the fields so intensively with their gargantuan tractors trudging back and forth on many occasions right across where the birds nested. The previous owner of the land used to leave wide margins for wildlife but the current owners intensively farm every square centimetre. Do you know if they are on your list of farm visits? (I can send their details if not)

  3. I’m afraid they are not on my list. My work doesn’t stretch any further than Conyer. You could approach them and suggest marking the nests with a cane so the tractor can avoid them but this could make the nests more open to predation by crows. Lots of farmers wouldn’t want to deliberately destroy the nests and would be prepared to discuss the issues of lapwing. I’m sure there is some data protection thing nowadays about sending me the details of the farmer but if you can send me a name in a private message (on facebook?) then I can make enquiries.

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