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A Day in the Life of an Environmental Consultant May-June 2022

These two oystercatchers sadly lost their eggs through sheep trampling.

Next week the survey season once again comes to a close, the hired 4×4 is returned, the alarm ceases to ring at 5.00am and my social life returns. The end of another survey season is always bitter sweet, it is a turning of the year, spring is over, summer is upon us and I will miss the sharp light of early dawn and the secret insight that comes with being up and about while other humans remain slumbering.

This year there has been an improvement in the numbers of both lapwing and chicks fledged on Kent farms. Something I am told is bucking the trend as, despite occasional heavy downpours, the spring has been stubbornly dry. As usual there have been highs and lows. High’s include the 15 fledged redshank and 16 fledged yellow wagtail chicks discovered on one golden morning on a Sheppey farm, or the one lapwing chick and two oystercatcher chicks successfully raised amid the fetid water of a slurry pit. Lows are farms with good numbers of pairs failing to raise a single chick due to predation or watching the distress of a pair of oystercatchers after their eggs were crushed by sheep.

There were many more yellow wagtails fledged this year.

Still onwards and upwards as my Pa would have said. This month I met with a new team of staff from Natural England who I hope to have a closer working relationship with in the future. The team hope to provide after care for people signing new stewardship agreements and smooth the way of the, currently torturous, process of getting consent from Government Agencies for positive wetland restoration work to take place. I also accompanied Natural England staff to advise on new stewardship schemes as more farmers are keen to manage their land to benefit wildlife.

narrowing channels through installing woody debris is one way of improving river habitat.

As the month drew to a close I set out on a new adventure, exploring waterways managed by the Upper Medway Internal Drainage Board. I spent a fabulous day discovering the beautiful Tudeley Brook near Paddock Wood. It is great to get my river thinking cap on again and come up with ideas to improve this stream for wildlife while helping alleviate flooding issues in nearby towns.


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