Partnering Swansea University: Dartford Warbler Research

During 2014 BSG Ecology provided training to two Master of Science students at Swansea University in order to help them develop their ornithological field skills.  This enabled them to complete research projects on a species of particular local interest, Dartford warbler.  The partnership was facilitated by the Access to Masters initiative, which is backed by the European Social Fund.  In this short article, Hannah Meinertzhagen summarises the findings of her study, and the benefit she got from partnering with industry professionals.

British Ornithologists’ Union Spring Conference 2014 – Ecology and Conservation of Birds in Upland and Alpine Habitats

John Baker, Senior Ecologist in BSG Ecology’s Oxford office attended the British Ornithologists’ Union (BOU) annual conference at the University of Leicester held between the 1st and 3rd April 2014.  This year’s theme was the ecology and conservation of birds in upland and alpine habitats. Speakers came from across Europe and North America and included researchers from universities, consultants and representatives of NGOs.

Dartford Warbler Research

BSG Ecology is currently providing technical support to MSc students under the tuition of Dr Penny Neyland and Dr Laura Roberts of Swansea University for their ornithological dissertations.

Owain Gabb, of BSG Ecology’s Swansea office, initially approached the University with ideas about studying aspects of Dartford warbler ecology and distribution on the Gower Peninsula in 2013.  Following some discussion with academic staff, the topic was put to students on the 2014 MSc Environmental Biology: Conservation and Resource Management course as a potential research area.

The potential ecological impacts of ground-mounted photovoltaic solar panels in the UK

As the number of solar parks in the UK increases, there is growing interest in the interaction of wildlife with ground-mounted photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. To date, a relatively low number of research papers have formed the basis for considerable discussion on the subject, and in some cases these have informed guidance relating to PV solar parks in the UK.

Ringing at Oxwich Marsh

In February 2013 Owain Gabb from our Swansea Office, a licensed bird ringer on behalf of the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and a member of Gower Ringing Group, began ringing birds at Oxwich Marsh, on the Gower Peninsula, South Wales.

Revised SNH Guidance for Bird Survey at Onshore Wind Farms: What are the implications?

In August 2013, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) released revised bird survey guidance for onshore wind farms.  This represents the first substantial revision of guidance that was first formally issued in late 2005 (minor revisions / amendments were made in 2010).  SNH has led the way on this topic in UK terms, and understanding changes in the SNH guidance is therefore very important, as they will be reflected in consultee expectations with regard to survey work throughout the UK.

What is an appropriate level of ecological work to support a single (large) turbine application?

There has been a considerable rise in the number of single turbine proposals over the past few years.  This has come about primarily as a result of the introduction of Government feed-in tariffs, which have provided incentives to develop single turbine schemes.  Despite the incentives, these small schemes generally have a limited budget if they are to be viable development propositions and sources of renewable energy.

Post-construction ecological monitoring at wind farm sites

Post-construction monitoring has been undertaken at wind farms in the UK for many years, and is now routinely requested for many multiple-turbine schemes.  Despite this, relatively few UK monitoring studies have contributed significantly to our understanding of the ways in which birds and bats may be impacted by wind farm developments: for example with regard to the collision and displacement of birds, information still has to be pieced together using a wide range of sources.

Presentation to Public Inspectors

Dr Peter Shepherd and Owain Gabb were invited by the Planning Inspectorate to give presentations on ecological issues arising from wind energy proposals to a two day conference of planning inspectors in Bristol on the 24th and 25th January 2013. The presentation covered the range of ecological issues that have featured at planning inquiries into wind farm developments between 2005 and 2010, but focused primarily on issues relating to impacts on bats and birds.

BSG Ecology at RenewableUK, Glasgow (Stand 67)

BSG Ecology is exhibiting at Stand 67 of Renewable UK, Glasgow between 30th October and 1st November 2012. The conference is at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC), Glasgow and will address policy, development and technical aspects of UK onshore and offshore wind energy, wave and tidal energy.