Eclectic Ecologist

Time spent leaning on a five-bar gate is never time wasted (anon.)

The aim of this website is to make available free to use resources that encourage and support biological recorders.

2021_10_03 (Bradley Wood, SD) (1)
2022_01_11 (Auricularia auricula-judae, SK11054686, SD) (1c)
_2014_02_07 Steve Docker
2021_10_03 (Fomitopsis betulina, SK20214625, SD) (1b)
2022_09_13 (Diplolepis rosae, Crich Chase, SK35375221, SD)
2022_09_15 (Macrolepiota sp., Mappleton, SK16764815, SD) (1c)
2022_09_21 (Lycaena phlaeas, SK28775566, SD) (1d)
2021_11_10 (Armillaria borealis, SK19734623, SD) (1c)
2021_02_26 (Sarcoscypha austriaca, Bradley Wood, SK19854589, SD) (1b)
2021_05_12 (Bluebells, Bradley Wood, SK19714613, SD) (1)
2022_09_15 (Lycoperdon perlatum, Mappleton, SK16514804, SD) (1b)
Derbyshire Sky 1.png

Introduction

I am very concerned about adverse climate change and the rapid loss of biodiversity.

 

Biological records are the foundation of evidence based conservation and contain the data needed to protect, restore and enhance biodiversity.  I’m an active biological recorder and a multi-skilled, independent field ecologist with an eclectic mix of interests including ornithology, invertebrates and capped macro-fungi.  My skills are based upon more than 20 years of both voluntary and professional work, ranging from otter to veteran tree surveys.

I am particularly interested in technologies that enable the rapid and accurate identification of species and the efficient acquisition of high quality biological records.  These include Identikit®, on-line multi-access, taxon identification keys; DNA based biodiversity assessment and soundscape ecology, especially avian bioacoustics.

I wish to play my part in helping us all to understand the changing state of nature.

 

 
 

On-line, multi-access, taxon identification keys

Wader Species

A collaborative project with Keith Offord, an experienced field ornithologist and bird tour guide, this prototype key covers the identification of 30 wader species, in non-breeding plumage, known to occur in Britain on a regular basis.

Click here for Wader Species

Click here for Wader Species (mobile version)

Beetle Families

This prototype key covers the identification of adult beetles to family level.  It includes all 102 beetle families known to occur in the British Isles.

Click here for Beetle Families

Click here for Beetle Families (mobile version)

Macrofungi Genera (Gills)

A collaborative project with Geoffrey Kibby, an experienced mycologist, talented artist and author, this prototype key covers the identification of mature fungal fruit bodies to genus level.  It includes over 200 genera known to occur in Britain and Ireland.  All have a stem (stipe) and spore producing surfaces in the form of gills (lamellae) on the lower surface of a protective cap (pileus).

Click here for Macrofungi Genera (Gills)

Click here for Macrofungi Genera (Gills) (mobile version)

Plant Families

This prototype key covers the identification of flowering plants (angiosperms) to family level.  It includes a total of 14 plant families which, between them, contain approximately 67% of the wild British flora known to occur in the British Isles.

Click here for Plant Families

Click here for Plant Families (mobile version)

 
2022_04_30 (Oak Bark, Sides Lane, SK15184414, SD) (1).jpg

Bradley Wood

Precious Woodland Habitat

Bradley Wood is my local patch which I visit on a regular basis.  It was given, in perpetuity, to the people of Ashbourne for their enjoyment by Henry Fitzherbert Wright in 1935 and it is managed by Ashbourne Town Council.  In order to assess the condition of the woodland and to inform its management, it is essential to accurately record the presence and location of its species on a frequent basis.  This should then allow this precious woodland habitat, its immediate surrounds and its species to be protected, cherished and enjoyed by everyone.

 

One of the largest remaining woodlands in the area it is a north facing site dominated by oak and birch.  It has a long history of woodland cover and is included on the Ancient Woodland Inventory, is designated a Local Wildlife Site and has considerable nature conservation value.  Fungi species richness is a noted feature of interest.  In addition, at least five bat species have been recorded as well as nearby lapwing Vanellus vanellus and skylark Alauda arvensis.

Throughout 2021 a range of invertebrate surveys were conducted.  Specimens were identified and material sent to a laboratory for DNA analysis. Post comparison of results the DNA sequences will be added to the Barcode of Life Data system (BOLD).

Docker, S. (6 Dec 2021) Bradley Wood Biodiversity Summary

Docker, S. (6 Dec 2021) Bradley Wood Provisional Species List & Biological Records

2021_10_03 (Bradley Wood, SD) (1).JPG

Docker, S. (30 Apr 2022) biological records stored on the iRecord system.  Includes over 1,000 multi-species records collected from a range of geographical locations within the United Kingdom.

Soundscape Dataset

Docker, S., Lowe, A. & Abrahams, C. (2020) Identification of different song types in the European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus, Bird Study, 67:1, 119-127.

Docker, S. (2016) The Detection of ‘Paired’ Male European Nightjars Caprimulgus europaeus Linnaeus, 1758 Using Unattended Acoustic Recording Devices: A Potential Census Tool, MSc Dissertation, Manchester Metropolitan University.

Docker, S. (2014 & 2015)  Three terabytes available for future research upon request. Contains a range of crepuscular and nocturnal sounds (biological, geophysical and anthropogenic).  Known to include vocalisations of oscine passerines, European nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus, Common cuckoo Cuculus canorus, Eurasian woodcock Scolopax rusticola and Tawny owl Strix aluco.

Nightjar Song
00:00 / 00:54
Nightjar Spectrogram.png
 
 

Work Experience

2019 - Present

2014 - 2019

2010 - 2019

Field Ecologist

Ashbourne, Derbyshire, United Kingdom.

Independent biological recorder, including birds by sight and sound (songs & calls).

Ecologist

Baker Consultants, Matlock, Derbyshire, United Kingdom. Wide range of ecological surveys.

Associate Lecturer

University of Derby, Derbyshire, United Kingdom.

Mammalogy & mammal survey techniques.

In addition to ecology based activities, I have had a rich and varied career as a chartered engineer.

Cortinarius_armillatus.jpg
Amanita_muscaria.jpg

Drawings courtesy of Geoffrey Kibby

Purple Sandpiper Northumberland 2017 Keith Offord.jpg

Photograph courtesy of Keith Offord

Green Tiger Beele.jpg

Drawing courtesy of Courtenay Holden

Qualifications

2013 - 2016

Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom.

Self-funded. Units: Biological Data Management, Macrofungi, Birds, Ground Beetles, Research Methods, Bryophytes, Bats, Grasses. European nightjar bioacoustics.

2005 - 2007

University of Birmingham, United Kingdom.

Units: Biological Recording, Songbirds, Land Mammals, Reptiles & Amphibians, Invertebrates, Bats.