Supporting Professional Development: Great Crested Newt survey training for ecologists

Supporting Professional Development: Great Crested Newt survey training for ecologists

As part of the Continued Professional Development programme for our Welsh team, Principal Ecologist Rachel Taylor led an evening “introduction to great crested newts” in Brecon in early May. Our staff were joined by the local authority ecologists for Powys and the Brecon Beacons National Park (BBNP), and a planning officer from BBNP.

The aim of the training was to provide staff with great crested newt identification and survey experience, and build their competency as they work toward licences. The training also provided an opportunity to share knowledge and good practice with the local authority ecologists and planner.

It was a successful evening, with twenty adult great crested newts (male and female), palmate and smooth newt all recorded.  Great crested newt eggs in varying stages of development were also noted [1], key identification features of the different species explained, and a variety of standard survey techniques demonstrated to attendees.

Feedback from some of the attendees was as follows:

I had a brilliant time; it was really special seeing the Newts, their eggs and how you go about monitoring them.’ Christopher O’Brien, BBNPA Senior Planning Officer.

Many thanks to Rachel and your team for organising the training event last night – it was very useful and enjoyable to see the newts in action!’  Bridgit Schofield, BBNPA Ecologist

The great crested newt session was interesting, thorough and clear. Initially, we were taken through newt ecology and identification of the three native species. Everyone present was then given the opportunity to have a go at the torching survey technique where we enjoyed good views of male and female great crested newts’ James Garside, Ecologist, BSG Ecology

“Fantastic training- I’d never seen a great crested newt before, but now have seen males and females, and have learnt the characteristics to tell them apart in the field.” Hannah Daniels, Ecologist, BSG Ecology

If you need any advice with regard to great crested newts, please get in touch with one of our offices.

For information about our great crested newt survey capability see our GCN service page.


[1] Only one leaf was opened, the eggs were all within this one leaf.


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