Bats

The Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) have re-launched the Roost Awards to promote best practice bat roost mitigation and enhancement. The BCT are inviting entries of case studies which demonstrate best practice in surveys / initial data collection, design and planning, monitoring and lessons learned /...

BSG Ecology has recently provided support to Ford and Etal Estates with regard to the renovation of estate cottages in the village of Ford, Northumberland. An initial appraisal suggested the cottages provided good roosting opportunities for bats due to both their age and setting.  Bat surveys then found small bat roosts in a number of the cottages, and that one supported a maternity roosts of 270 soprano pipistrelle bats and 57 brown long-eared bats.

BSG Ecology's Gareth Lang is developing a motion sensitive infrared surveillance camera which is responsive enough to detect and monitor bat roosts. Currently, this is very hard to achieve using commercially available infra-red trail cameras, as the speed at which bats enter and leave roosts means that although these cameras may be triggered they seldom capture any footage. The video clip below, from March 2020, shows a lesser horseshoe bat entering and leaving a disused boiler in a church cellar near Monmouth, Wales.

During winter 2019/20 ecologist Emily Moore has taken a sabbatical to travel and to work with the African Bat Conservation Trust. She has been involved in research in relation to the ecology of various bat species, including little epauletted fruit bat, white-bellied free-tailed bat, yellow-bellied house bat, and Egyptian slit-faced bat, and has also taken part in local projects to raise awareness of the benefits of healthy bat populations to ecosystems and local communities.

The footage below shows lesser horseshoe bats Rhinolophus hipposideros emerging from a stone shed that supports a maternity roost. It was captured in early August 2019 by BSG Ecology’s Guy Miller and Hannah Daniels, using one of BSG Ecology’s FLIR T650sc thermal imaging cameras. The location is near Abergavenny, Monmouthshire.
Bat survey work needs to be designed in a project-specific manner to allow impacts on populations to be accurately assessed, effects mitigated and licenses achieved. Our latest graduate training workshop, held in April 2019, provided attendees with the opportunity to discuss the scope and specification of bat surveys when faced with different development scenarios. It also included a field-based training session on tree assessment.
BSG Ecology are  delighted to announce that we are able to offer Bat Low Impact (BLIMP) licensing in Scotland alongside the Bat Mitigation Class Licence (BMCL) in England.  The purpose of these licences is to provide a streamlined approach to protected species licensing for bats in situations where a development is predicted to have limited impacts on bats.
At BSG, we regularly use thermal imaging technology to supplement more standard methods of data collection, and answer questions that need to be addressed in Ecological Impact Assessment and Habitats Regulations Assessment work. In some circumstances, it can provide a more robust evidence base for our clients’ projects. The value of thermal imaging in wildlife recording has been recognised by NHBS, the largest supplier of wildlife, ecology and conservation books and equipment in Europe, who have used footage provided by BSG in their latest article entitled ‘NHBS Guide to Night Vision and Thermal Optics.’ Most of this footage has been collected in the course of commercial work.
On 14 March 2019 BSG Ecology, Womble Bond Dickinson and Scottish Power Renewables collaborated to deliver a seminar to wind farm developers and asset managers on the implications of recent guidance concerning bats and onshore wind farms published by Scottish Natural Heritage, Natural England and Natural Resources Wales. This was the second of two planned seminars on the subject, and took place at the Citizen M Hotel in central Glasgow.