Golden Plover use of an Operational Wind Farm

Using our thermal imaging camera, BSG Ecologist Jenny James recorded this footage of golden plover foraging within a wind farm in England. The clip, recorded in January 2015, shows the plovers using a cultivated arable field at night, close to the base of an operational wind turbine. The birds are approximately 25m from the turbine’s base; several other turbines are present nearby. The lower sweep of the blades (clearly visible in the clip) is approximately 20m above ground level. From the footage, this golden plover flock does not appear to be affected by the nearby turbine.

Use of eDNA for detecting great crested newts – how effective is it?

In this article we consider the use of eDNA analysis of water samples to detect great crested newts, and discuss the results of some recent survey work.  Whilst we identify limitations that need to be considered, it is also recognised that the technique provides a useful additional method for detecting great crested newts, and we use it in appropriate circumstances at sites throughout the UK.  The method has been endorsed by Natural England and Natural Resources Wales.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) at BSG Ecology

BSG Ecology is committed to tackling complex ecological issues successfully for our clients. We recognise that experience, skill and knowledge within our team are important in producing these results. All of our ecologists are members of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM), membership of which requires a minimum amount of continuous professional development to be completed each year. Regular investment in our team, through support of conference attendance and provision of access to in-house and external training, strengthens our skills set and provides an up to date and scientifically sound basis to our advice.

North Sea Ferries Bat Migration Research 2014

In 2014 we deployed bat detectors on two commercial ferries sailing routes through the southern North Sea. The two vessels were Flandria Seaways (DFDS Seaways) and the Pride of York (P&O Ferries), which sail from Felixstowe (UK) to Vlaardingen (Netherlands) and from Hull (UK) to Zeebrugge (Belgium) respectively. The aim of the study was to investigate the occurrence of bats over the North Sea, and to see if there were any clear patterns to records indicative of migration.

Pembrokeshire Islands Bat Research 2014

In 2014 we deployed bat detectors on the islands of Skomer, Skokholm and Ramsey, off the west coast of Pembrokeshire, Wales. The islands are between 0.8 km and 2.6km from the mainland.

The aims were to increase knowledge of the bat fauna and investigate evidence for migration through the identification of changes in seasonal bat activity. The detectors were set to survey from half an hour before sunset to half an hour after sunrise from spring to autumn, the most active period for bats and the peak migration seasons.

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.

New Faces of 2014

This year we have recruited senior and/or principal consultants into our Oxford, Monmouth, Hathersage (Derbyshire) and Newcastle upon Tyne offices and made a number of promotions.  For the past few years we have had a stable team of around 35 staff across the practice and our new recruits take us up to 42 staff, of which 37 are technical, and five are business support.  These important additions to the team expand our capability in a number of technical areas, as well as increasing the availability of senior-level support to our clients.

Chittering Leisler’s bats

BSG partner Dr Peter Shepherd has been closely involved with a bat box monitoring scheme in Sherwood Forest over the last 16 years.  Since monitoring began, the species recorded have regularly included  noctule,  Leisler’s, common and  soprano  pipistrelles ,  with occasional  brown  long-eared bat  and whiskered/Brandt’s bats being recorded.

Internal Training: Bat Identification and Survey Design

Bat identification is technically challenging, and to become proficient requires considerable experience and training.  Designing and undertaking robust bat surveys goes beyond identification, however, and requires an understanding of bat biology and ecology. For example, understanding the thermoregulatory needs of male, female or juvenile bats at different times of the year will enable a good surveyor to think about the sort of roosting conditions that bats will be seeking out at a given time. As such, a knowledgeable surveyor will adapt their survey to ensure all possible roost sites are considered.

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.

Oxford Toad Patrol

Laura Grant from BSG Ecology’s Oxford office noted a number of toad casualties on roads when she moved to the New Hinksey area of Oxford. Last year she trawled the streets in spring on mild damp evenings to move toads, frogs and smooth newts to the breeding lake out of harm’s way.