Who are Swift Ecology?

Swift Ecology was established in 2007

Based in the midlands but able to work across the UK, we have nationally recognised ecological expertise, and we are highly experienced in habitat survey and management. We offer a unique level of specialist advice among our wide range of services and we hold relevant licences to work with key protected species including bats, dormouse, great crested newt and barn owl.

Swift Ethos

We are a small and flexible ecological consultancy with a strong focus on both professionalism and pragmatism. We work to high professional standards, incorporating a strong ethical approach in conjunction with industry good practice, but recognise the need for pragmatism in finding creative solutions to clients' needs that don't compromise our high standards. Our senior staff work closely with the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) to improve standards across the sector.

Members of our team are also active in voluntary conservation projects involving protected species such as dormice, bats and pine marten.

Addressing the environmental impact of car travel

We are contributing towards tree planting schemes to informally offset carbon emissions from business mileage.

In the financial year 2019 - 2019 our estimated CO2 cost was 250. This amount has been divided between the two following charities, which between them will plant 61 trees.

Trees for life: A charity aiming to restore the ancient Caledonian forest in the Scottish Highlands

Heart of England Forest: A local charity establishing a native broadleaved woodland in Warwickshire and Worcestershire.

Our Directors:

Mike Sharp BSc MCIEEM

Mike has worked in the ecological sector for over a decade and has a wealth of direct experience working within the planning system, having delivered planning support to a local authority from 2008 to 2014. Mike has extensive experience of delivering ecological services in a wide range of developments including barn conversions, residential developments, pipeline installations and wind farms. He has a particular interest in bat ecology and is experienced in conducting inspection surveys of buildings and trees (and is qualified in tree climbing and aerial rescue). Mike is the named ecologist on over 20 successful EPS mitigation licences for bats in England and Wales and is a Registered Consultant with Natural England's Bat Low Impact Class Licence. He is licensed to survey for bats, dormice, great crested newts and barn owls in England and Wales.

Mike juggles working full-time for Swift Ecology with bringing up four small children with his partner Clare. Outside of work Mike enjoys family walks in the Cotswolds and spending time at the allotment living the 'good life'.

Nick Underhill-Day BSc PhD MCIEEM

With 13 years' experience in cutting-edge scientific research, Nick has skills in project management, collaboration on multidisciplinary projects, scientific analysis and evaluation. These attributes, in conjunction with his technical writing abilities, have culminated in publication in respected peer-reviewed journals and presentations at international academic symposia. He is now focused on ecological sciences and has experience of conservation research and various habitat and species surveys, particularly bats, badgers, riparian mammals, amphibians and breeding birds. Nick holds NE licences for bats and great crested newts.

Nick has a life-long interest in Natural History and, when not with his family, spends his spare time enjoying the outdoors, walking and climbing. He undertakes surveys for the BTO, Butterfly Conservation, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation and various local groups, including the Herefordshire Mammal Group, with which he is actively involved.

Ecological Consultants:

Anna Dudley BSc MSc MCIEEM
Principal Ecologist

Anna has worked in ecological consultancy for over a decade, and has extensive experience of undertaking habitat and protected species surveys, as well as designing and implementing mitigation and monitoring schemes. Her main interest lies in undertaking habitat and botanical surveys. She is licensed to survey for bats in England and great crested newts in England and Wales, and also has many years' experience of surveying for otters and reptiles.

Before joining Swift Ecology, Anna worked for a well-established ecological consultancy where she worked on a wide variety of projects, including large residential developments and major infrastructure projects.

In her spare time, Anna enjoys baking, reading and going for muddy walks.

Catherine Coton BSc ACIEEM
Senior Ecologist

Catherine has worked in the ecology sector for five years since graduating from Exeter University with a degree in zoology, starting out as a trainee working for Warwickshire County Council where she gained key experience in ecology within the planning system, habitat and protected species surveys and biological records management. Before joining Swift Ecology she worked for a small ecological consultancy where her regular responsibilities included carrying out habitat and protected species surveys and impact assessments for both small and large developments. She holds NE licences for bats and great crested newts and is a keen botanist.

Outside of work Catherine volunteers with local recording groups for mammals, plants and amphibians and reptiles in Warwickshire and she often cares for injured bats, hedgehogs and other wildlife. She also enjoys horse riding and singing in a choir and she leads a conservation project in her local churchyard, enthusing volunteers to get involved with managing an area of wildflower meadow.

Charlotte Long BSc MPhil GradCIEEM

Charlie joined Swift Ecology having worked in conservation and ecology for the previous four years, after studying for a degree in Ecology at Durham University.

After conducting research into plant DNA barcoding at the National Botanic Garden of Wales as an undergraduate placement student, she continued working in conservation genetics researching the rare Spreading Bellflower for her MPhil. She then joined the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust as a trainee, gaining experience in habitat and protected species surveys, and subsequently spent two survey seasons as a field botanist in Wales for the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Charlie has volunteered with numerous local conservation organisations and is a member of several recording groups, including the Herefordshire Mammal Group and Bonkers on Botany (BOB), a group of reasonably sane people who enjoy botanising in Herefordshire. She works part-time for Swift Ecology and spends the rest of her week working on the restoration of her dilapidated cottage with her partner Alex.

Rhiannon Taylor BSc MSc (Qualifying Member of CIEEM)
Assistant Ecologist (part-time)

Rhiannon is a qualified veterinary nurse, and works part time for Swift. Her particular interests are mammals and protected species generally, particularly pine martens, which were the subject of her MSc.

In her spare time she enjoys horse riding, dog walking, yoga and travelling, when the opportunity arises. She also volunteers on dormice surveys in the Malvern Hills, and pine marten surveys for VWT.

Johnny Birks BSc PhD MCIEEM
Principal Ecologist(part-time)

Johnny has worked in wildlife research and nature conservation for 30 years, and has particular expertise in the conservation ecology of European mammals. He holds survey licences for several protected species, including bats, pine marten, dormouse, barn owl and great-crested newt and holds current EPS mitigation licences for bats. He is also experienced in the assessment and management of semi-natural habitats, and in conducting breeding bird surveys. He is a Registered Consultant for the Bat Low Impact Class Licence (BLICL).

Prior to the establishment of Swift Ecology, Johnny worked in universities, statutory nature conservation agencies and the voluntary conservation sector. He is well known for his previous role at the Vincent Wildlife Trust, where he acquired a wealth of knowledge encompassing protected species survey and mitigation, and gained an international reputation in the field of mammal research.

Johnny now works part-time for Swift Ecology; he spends the rest of his time helping with his twin grand-daughters, rowing with Upton Rowing Club, and maintaining his long-term interest in mustelids. He has recently written books on polecats and pine martens, both published by Whittet Books.


We work closely with many other experienced ecologists who bring to Swift Ecology a wide range of skills thus enabling us to provide the full range of ecological surveys, including crayfish, other invertebrates, and specialist botanical surveys.

Lisa Kerslake BSc MSc CEcol FCIEEM

Lisa has a wide range of ecological skills, with extensive experience of habitat and protected species surveys and monitoring and mitigation work. Her main interest is mammals and she holds survey licences for bats, dormice, great crested newt and barn owl, and EPS mitigation licences for bats and great crested newts. She is a Registered Consultant for the Bat Low Impact Class Licence (BLICL).

Prior to establishing Swift Ecology, Lisa held senior positions at established ecological consultancies in the English midlands and has worked in the conservation and environmental sector for over 30 years, including for the Nature Conservancy Council, Nottinghamshire County Council and Northumberland Wildlife Trust, and she was the first Director of the North and East Yorkshire Ecological Data Centre. She currently works as Director of Operations (S&W) for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, but retains an involvement with Swift Ecology as an Associate.

Lisa is very active in CIEEM, being a founder member, Fellow, and currently Vice President (England). She has previously served on both the Professional Standards and External Affairs Committees and now sits on the Governing Board and Advisory Forum; she is also a Chartered Ecologist Assessor. Outside work Lisa enjoys planning and taking interesting holidays and short breaks with her husband, and always has her eye on the next trip, which will usually involve food and wine. To counter this she tries to keep fit despite hating any exercise that is more challenging than a gentle walk.

All our staff are members of CIEEM

The Swift Ecology head office electricity supply is 100% renewable energy

The Swift Team in Volunteer Projects

"What more can I say than a huge 'Thank-you' for your honest, quick and professional service."

Buy 'Polecats' by
Johnny Birks

Buy 'Pine Martens' by
Johnny Birks

Johnny always gives that extra bit more... his enthusiasm and positive outlook are infectious!


Expansion zone survey of pine marten (Martes martes) distribution in Scotland Categorising our 'cats': a case for pragmatism Distribution of the pine marten(Martes martes) in southern Scotland in 2013 Backlash against Bats? In Practice (CIEEM bulletin), March 2012 Insects in the diet of the hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius): a pilot study using DNA barcoding Molecular comparison of historical and contemporary pine marten (Martes martes) populations in the British Isles: evidence of differing origins and fates, and implications for conservation management Bat mitigation - are we working in the dark? Article in Mammal News, Autumn 2015 Bats and bureaucracy. Article in Mammal News, Summer 2010 Sample diversity adds value to non-invasive genetic assessment of a pine marten population in Galloway Forest Den boxes as a tool for pine marten Martes martes conservation and population monitoring in a commercial forest in Scotland Comparing the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of sampling methods for estimating population abundance and density of a recovering carnivore: the European pine marten (Martes martes) Raising Standards in Planning, Licensing and Ecology Sample diversity adds value to non-invasive genetic assessment of a pine marten (Martes martes) population in Galloway Forest, southwest Scotland