Protected Species

Climbing trees to inspect potential roost features for bats is an effective survey technique. It allows cavities to be examined and assessed, and for evidence of use by bats to be searched for. Given the legal protection afforded to bats and their roosts, this approach allows for a robust assessment of potential roost features, and helps to determine the scope of other follow up work (i.e. more survey or mitigation) that could be required.  BSG Ecology employs a team of ecologists who are both qualified and licenced to climb trees and to undertake surveys for bat roosts. 
BSG Ecology Director Peter Shepherd was recently invited for a second time to address the European Criminal Law Association – this time on the subject of Protecting the Environment after Brexit. The nature of the subject matter obviously requires a degree of ‘crystal ball gazing,’ so the talk started with what we know; among a series of depressing statistics, the State of Nature Report 2019 highlighted declines in 41 % of UK species, identified that 15 % are threatened with extinction, that we have lost 133 species entirely since 1970 and that the rate of biodiversity loss in the UK has been greater than the global average. The report is one of many sources that identify how critical it is that we take action to reverse biodiversity declines.
BSG Ecology’s Guy Miller, one of our licenced bat ecologists, supported by Adam Long (Access Techniques Ltd), an industrial rope access specialist, has recently conducted aerial surveys of the Grand Bridge at Blenheim Park, Oxfordshire. The aim has been to identify and inspect features of the bridge that have the potential to support roosting bats and nesting birds. The resulting information will be used to inform the approach taken to forthcoming repair work, ensuring that it is legally compliant and that opportunities for birds and bats are retained within the structure following renovation.
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.
As part of the Continued Professional Development programme for our Welsh team, Principal Ecologist Rachel Taylor led an evening “introduction to great crested newts” in Brecon in early May. Our staff were joined by the local authority ecologists for Powys and the Brecon Beacons National Park (BBNP), and a planning officer from BBNP.
BSG Ecology has recently completed a badger survey, for the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) on their Chimney Meadows reserve. Part of the reserve was also covered by a bait marking survey. This has revealed that there are three different badger clans using the area covered, has allowed a better understanding of the size of badger territories and of which setts are used by the different groups. This will inform the detail of BBOWT’s approach to vaccination of badgers (against bovine tuberculosis), as well as giving more insight into how clans use the reserve and interact with each other.