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How about an in-situ shot?

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AGILIS View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AGILIS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Mar 2012 at 5:31am
I think if its a offence to disturb sand lizards The Rspb nat England the MOD ,dog walkers and the general public would be filling our courts and their fines would pay the national debt. keith

Edited by AGILIS - 30 Mar 2012 at 5:32am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Mar 2012 at 6:00pm
Don't give them ideas Keith Wink We had the same debate about GCN not long ago, is torching disturbance - unfortunately it is rubbish law, rubbish wording and about all it has achieved is putting off the handful of people who are actually interested in these animals. Those it was supposed to effect generally ignore it any case.

Trouble is if one does want a career in herpetology, one doesn't want to start it off with a prosecution under the WCA which could make future licence applications a bit difficult. (perhaps).


Edited by GemmaJF - 30 Mar 2012 at 6:01pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MancD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Apr 2012 at 5:27pm
James,
 
If you've got any queries about science and conservation licences for photography etc ping NE an email at wildlife.scicons@naturalengland.org.uk
 
There's a Frequently Asked Question on this that I've attached below:

Q. When do I need a photography licence?

A. A photography licence is needed if you want to photograph any Schedule 1 bird (list of species) at or on the nest or any animal listed on Schedule 5 (list of species) of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) if it is likely to cause disturbance.

The form you need is WML-A29 and there is guidance on references too - link below.
 
Whether you need a licence or not obviously depends on how disturbing your activities are. But if you feel more comfortable having one, just get the experience under your belt, and some referees.
 
Regarding SSSI's, I don't think there is anything specific that says you have to have consent to survey for species that aren't ordinarily protected for disturbance (grass snakes, common lizards etc) on one. All SSSI's have lists of activities that require consents, so if in doubt, check with the local NE office regarding whether you need consent to be on there in the first place (not all have public access) and if whatever you want to do on there requires consent.
 
Hope that helps.
 
Duncan
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Iowarth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Apr 2012 at 5:49pm

Hi Duncan

Many thanks for posting that clarification. It is probably important to note that many people take photos of, for example, Sand Lizards, simply because of their beauty and with no awareness of their status (or even what they are!) 

My view has always been that anyone can photograph such an animal in the wild if they do not disturb it - in the case of a Sand Lizard, about 10 feet away with a 300mm lens or decent zoom on a compact really should be fine. In fact, even though I do have a licence, that is what I most commonly do. 

Mind you, I have a friend who is so skilled at sneaking up on herps that I have seen him take a photograph from 2 inches away without causing any disturbance (complete indifference would be a better description than 'disturbed')!

Chris

Chris Davis, Site Administrator

Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme (RETIRED)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JamesM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Apr 2012 at 2:17am
Thanks for that, Duncan.

I shall be doing a protected species course nearer the end of the year with an Ecological Consultancy company. I had a chat with the CEO/Principle Ecologist over the phone last week and I'll be getting more information soon.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AGILIS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Apr 2012 at 11:14am
The sad thing is does not matter how many licences are needed it does not stop habitat being destroyed,Its like the licencing of firearms dont stop people being shot does it.Keith
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kogia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2012 at 10:19am
As always with all things governmental its a mess, but I understood the law to be willful disturbance. So someone just walking by without even knowing there were sand lizards (or other such species) nearby might disturb them, wouldn't be guilty, but someone specifically going there to find them (eg. photograph) them could. I was told once that dog walkers could be prosecuted if their dog disturbs them in certain sites because of specific dog control laws in SSSIs?
Sadly it is a set of laws that will impact those seeking to enjoy and explore wildlife more than those without a care and I am sometimes suspicious about the motivation of the huge amounts of different licences required for wildlife in the UK. Having said that disturbance from overzealous enthusiasts can be very damaging. A friend recently told me about a trip to view sand lizards in Dorset where there was a guy with various reps, including sandies, in containers in his car for close photography....
 
I'm often crawling around in odd places trying to photograph small inverts with a macro lense, I wonder where I would stand if I disturbed something larger without realising?


Edited by Kogia - 15 May 2012 at 10:26am
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AGILIS View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AGILIS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Dec 2013 at 12:03pm
Originally posted by JamesM JamesM wrote:

I believe the nature reserve is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Sand Lizards are on a site literally just a road crossing away, and if I remember correctly, it's illegal to survey/field herp for protected species on a SSSI without a survey licence, unless you're accompanied by licence holders. I could be wrong, however. I haven't actually checked out the reserve, but I believe Mark has. If Sandies occur just across the road, then I have no reason to doubt that they'll be next door as well.


I'd love to get licensed, but I can't get to the Sand Lizard/Smooth snake sites on a regular basis, so I don't know what ARC's stand point would be on that.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JaySteel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2013 at 9:45pm
Originally posted by AGILIS AGILIS wrote:

The sad thing is does not matter how many licences are needed it does not stop habitat being destroyed,Its like the licencing of firearms dont stop people being shot does it.Keith

Quite right Keith.

Unfortunately as the law stands I feel it does little to protect these species from the real threat which is habitat destruction. It doesn't matter how protected a species is supposed to be by our laws, it doesn't stop the government and local councils finding a way to build on a site if it's in their best interests to do so.

I visited a site in Dorset to photograph sand lizards last year with a long 300mm lens. This would enable me to get good shots without going anywhere near the sand lizards and causing them any disturbance at all. I was approached by the site warden who insisted that I had no right to be there trying to photograph these lizards without a licence. He threatened me with "possible consequences of my actions" and mis-quoted the law regarding disturbing a fully protected species. In the end I left him to it and carried on walking around the site with my camera.
To me the most offensive part of this scenario was a very large sign on the site informing everyone that this was a public open-access site. It went on to list all the activities that could be performed there. This list of activities included things like playing ball games, horse-riding, cycling, kite-flying etc. 
How are any of these activities possible without causing a disturbance to the sand lizards there? And why the hell is my photography from a respectful distance more of an issue that the horse riders and cyclists running straight over ground that could be potential egg-laying sites?

Like James I would also like to have a licence to survey for sand lizards and smooth snakes but seeing as I live so far away and can only visit sites with these species a couple of times a year I am never going to be granted a licence. Finding out where these fully protected species are is easy for anyone willing to search hard enough on Google. Every site is listed on the internet if people search hard enough for the information.
And yet finding licence holders that are willing to allow you to accompany them on a survey for the purposes of photography is extremely difficult. As a committee member of KRAG I think I've proved myself worthy of people's trust over the years and yet I'm sorry to say that it disappoints me hugely how reluctant most people are to help others experience the privilege of getting close to these rare and beautiful reptiles. 

Sorry for the rant. It's a bit of a sore subject! lol

Jason
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Richard2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2013 at 10:29pm
This is from the Natural England website for Ainsdale Sand Dunes NNR:

Why visit: the reserve is one of the most important wildlife sites in England, and a place where visitors can get close to nature. The landscape is perfect for a leisurely stroll through the magnificent scenery of dunes, pinewoods and golden sands, while children can enjoy the wide open spaces of the huge sandy beaches.

Star species: this is one of the best remaining strongholds of the rare natterjack toad, Europe’s loudest amphibian. Red squirrels can occasionally be seen in amongst the reserve’s pine forests too, while sand lizards, great-crested newts and a fantastic variety of orchids and other wildflowers can also be found here.

And this is from the NT website for Studland:
 

Reptiles are emerging from hibernation, including this male sand lizard with the distinctive bright green flashes he wears for the mating season.

Other cold blooded Studland residents include slow worms, adders, grass snakes and rare smooth snakes.

Spring can be the best time to spot them basking in sunny spots on the heaths and dunes.

Prominent signs at these reserves giving illustrations of the animals say the same thing. If the agencies that administer these public nature reserves are enthusiastically inviting the public to seek these animals out and watch them, and indeed "get close" to them, it seems improbable that a draconian interpretation of the "disturb" clause in the law would stand up in court - an interpretation that would make these activities illegal. As far as I am aware, no one has ever been prosecuted for merely watching these animals from a public path, even if movements do sometimes scare the animals away. I find it very hard to see how that could happen.
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