Stuart Thomas is a consultant ecologist and ornithologist based near Oswestry in Shropshire. He specialises in bird, bat and great crested newt surveys and holds relevant protected species licences from Natural England (NE) and Natural Resources Wales (NRW).
After graduating with a First Class Degree in Rural Environmental Studies, he worked for the Shrewsbury Countryside Unit undertaking habitat surveys, practical habitat management and re-drafting management plans. He spent three years working for the National Trust on the Farne Islands NNR monitoring the breeding seabirds and grey seals as well as other aspects of the marine environment there. In 2001 Stuart worked for the US Fish & Wildlife Service in Alaska carrying out breeding bird surveys, large mammal tracking, water quality studies, amphibian studies and marine mammal surveys. On returning to the UK In 2002, he became SNH Site Manager for Noss NNR on Shetland. Then, after a year working for the Manx Wildlife Trust as Site Manager on the Ayres NNR he moved into consultancy.
As a consultant ecologist primarily specialising in ornithology, holding Schedule 1 licences for a variety of raptors in Wales. Stuart also holds level 1 & 2 bat survey licences and great crested newt survey licences from both NE and NRW and is a full member of CIEEM. He has undertaken ecological surveys on over sixty terrestrial windfarm projects and twenty offshore projects. He holds a current CSCS card for construction sites. Further relevant qualifications include RYA Level 2 powerboat and safety boat certificates.
He is (European Seabirds At Sea) ESAS trained, a qualified ESAS trainer, and JNCC approved MMO & PSO. To date he has accrued over 3000 hours of offshore work and also led survey teams on a number of seabird and marine mammal projects including the huge Hornsea round three offshore windfarm site in the North Sea.
He regularly undertakes Ecological Impact Assessments (EcIAs) and Preliminary Ecological Assessments (PEA) for developers and other consultancies. He currently works as part of the ornithology ID team at HiDef Aerial Surveying Ltd on the back of providing expert services to over twenty-five consultancies across the UK. Stuart is also a current member of the Shropshire Birds Rarities Committee.
He likes to combine travelling and wildlife photography and has visited a number of countries including Sri Lanka, Maldives, The US (Alaska, Oregon and Washington), Canada, Venezuela, Gambia, Morocco, and many countries in Europe.
“Stuart is a very experienced and highly technically proficient field ornithologist. He has particular expertise in onshore and offshore bird survey work, but is also a very experienced field ecologist with knowledge of many species groups. Stuart’s other strengths include his ability to strike up easy friendships with landowners and other fieldworkers, his reliability and the presentation of his work, which is excellent. I have Stuart on numerous jobs over the past 10 years, and he has always delivered an excellent service.”
“Micky is a highly skilled field ornithologist and general ecologist, and also has a well-developed interest in upland plant communities. He stands out from many other freelancers due to his analytical approach to survey work and his attention to detail. As a result, where changes or tweaks to survey are needed to ensure a better end result for the client, he can be relied upon to identify them. Micky is also very conscientious, works well as one of a team of surveyors or as a survey co-ordinator, and is very straightforward to deal with.”
Owain Gabb, Principal Ecologist/Ornithologist, BSG Ecology.
“It’s important when commissioning marine surveys that you can trust the data you get back. Micky Maher and Stuart Thomas are among the most experienced and accurate ESAS surveyors in Europe. This is why I looked to them to take part in seabird and cetacean monitoring surveys during my time at JNCC as Seabird and Cetacean Monitoring Ecologist.”
Andy Webb, Environment and Statistics Manager, HiDef Aerial Surveying Ltd.