Great Crested Newt Surveys: Presence / Absence and Population Count Surveys

What is a Presence/Absence Survey?

Great crested newt presence/absence surveys are a method for establishing whether there is a population of great crested newts in a waterbody. This is achieved over a course of four survey visits - if a population is confirmed then we can then go on to estimate the population size class using a further two visits.

The recognised survey method uses three techniques in tandem.

The 'bottle trap' technique captures the newts temporarily overnight to be checked, counted and released by our surveyors the following morning. The timing of the surveys - between March and June - coincides with the newt courtship season when the newts are displaying to each other in the shallows. During their courtship dances, they end up inside the bottles which are easy to enter, but difficult to leave.

The 'torching' technique involves our surveyors inspecting the pond after dark to search for displaying newts by torchlight. This coincides with their active times and allows a count of males, females and juveniles to be arrived at.

The 'egg search' technique involves checking vegetation for the tell-tale eggs of great crested newts which are rolled in the leaves of aquatic plants. The identification of an egg confirms the presence of a breeding population of great crested newts.

Where there are additional constraints, additional techniques such as netting can be used, but the three listed above are the favoured methodologies.

 

How can LSC help?

Our ecologists have experience in undertaking presence/absence surveys for great crested newts. We can draw upon this experience to provide the most effective and efficient survey design for your site to provide the information you need to support Planning.

Our surveys are completed to the Best Practice Guidelines outlined by Natural England, and our reports consistently provide the information required by our clients to secure Planning Permission or support a Licence Application if necessary.

 A bottle trap with several newts identified during a morning check - in this case, these are smooth newts rather than great crested newts.

A bottle trap with several newts identified during a morning check - in this case, these are smooth newts rather than great crested newts.


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