Ecology Wales

In some circumstances the use of technology such as remote-activated cameras can significantly improve the quality of ecological data collected and the confidence in the outcome of mitigation, while also saving money for our clients through a more cost-effective and less labour intensive approach to work. Some recent examples are outlined below, along with the footage captured in each instance.

BSG Ecology is committed to continuing to deliver an excellent service while protecting the health of our employees, our clients and their families. To enable this, we have ensured that all staff have the ability to fully access our systems and contract files at home. Field work can typically be completed safely with minor additional controls to minimise risk, and we are making the most of video conferencing to communicate as an alternative to meetings and associated travel.
Bird ringing has been conducted at Oxwich Marsh by Gower Ringing Group since February 2013. This is co-ordinated by Owain Gabb, a licensed bird ringer and trainer, and the Director of our Welsh offices. The marsh is managed by Natural Resources Wales, and habitats include open water, reed bed, wet woodland and species-rich grassland to the landward side of an extensive area of sand dunes and open sandy foreshore. The entire area is notified a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
BSG Ecology has recently made a substantial donation to South Wales based Celtic Wildflowers to help them in the next phase of their growth. Celtic Wildflowers was established in 2018 by Barry Stewart, a well-known and highly respected freelance ecologist, and his wife Sandra, who also runs a successful ecotourism company. They set up the business to address demand for locally sourced devil’s-bit scabious (the food plant of the protected marsh fritillary butterfly), in response to a series of habitat restoration projects which were failing to source sufficient quantities of plants of local provenance. 
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.
As the number of solar farms in the UK increases, there is growing interest in the interactions of wildlife with ground-mounted solar photovoltaic panels. Evidence of whether operational solar farms impact on biodiversity remains limited, however, particularly in a UK context. To address this, BSG Ecology has undertaken a literature review of worldwide research on the evidence of the impacts of solar farms on biodiversity.
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.