I found the lecture series’ varied quite a lot in how interesting they were. There is fair amount on abiotic subjects e.g. climate, atmosphere and oceans which I found less than exciting (a lecture dedicated to soils was particularly painful), although these topics may appeal more to someone studying Plants. If you can persevere till second term though, things start to pick up for people more interested in the zoological side of things, with a good lecture block on social mammals being the highlight.
The supervisor at Catz for the first and last terms is the best I’ve had, so that is something to bear in mind (although supervisors can change year on year). It is also a good course for someone thinking about going into conservation as it touches on some key principles for that discipline.
The best thing about Ecology is you get to do a field trip in the summer vacation before 2nd year starts. During the trip you perform a study of your own design in groups and it is a great way to be introduced to conducting and then writing up a scientific report. The trip is really fun and allows you to get to know the fellow ecologists before lectures start so that in October everyone has a good set of friends. The project accounts for about a third of your mark for ecology so it immediately takes off a little pressure for the exams. Whilst other subjects will have regular practical sessions timetabled, with the project done and dusted, ecologists only have lectures to contend with during term-time. This extra free time can come in handy if only to gloat to friends in other subjects about all this free time!