News & Views

Between August and November 2013 BSG Ecology deployed a static bat detector at Portland Bird Observatory, Dorset.  The aim of this was to identify any patterns of bat activity that may suggest bat migration at this site. The study formed part of a wider bat migration project undertaken by BSG, in which six coastal locations were sampled in 2013.
Defra is currently analysing the consultation responses received on the Defra green paper entitled Biodiversity Offsetting in England.  The paper was published in September 2013 and the consultation period ended on 7 November 2013. It is understood that there is general support across all the main political parties to implement a biodiversity offsetting system in some form. Biodiversity offsetting is already being ‘used’ in different ways in development projects, not least within the Defra Trial areas. As such professional ecologists and other professional disciplines, in particular planners and developers, need to be up to speed with the principles, the application of the system as it currently is being implemented, and how it might evolve.
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.
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.
In 2012 BSG Ecology completed a pilot bat migration study at Dungeness, Kent.  A bat detector was deployed at the Dungeness Bird Observatory to establish whether seasonal patterns of bat activity potentially indicative of migration were apparent.  The results were interesting, with increased activity noted in Nathusius’ pipistrelle in spring and autumn.  This species is known to be migrating within continental Europe at these times of year.
BSG Ecology is delighted to announce that our collaborative work with LDA Design (as lead consultant) on the Network Rail National Lineside Vegetation Management Strategy has won the Strategic Landscape Planning section of the Landscape Institute Awards 2013.
Last night Laura Grant from  BSG Ecology’s Oxford office gave a talk entitled “An  Introduction to Bat Migration” to members of the Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory.
Between August and November 2013 BSG Ecology deployed a static bat detector at Spurn Lighthouse, East Yorkshire.  The aim of this was to identify if there were pulses of bat activity recorded might suggest bat migration.
Since 2008 Hannah Bilston, Principal Ecologist, has been monitoring bat populations in Finemere Wood, an ancient woodland in Buckinghamshire. The project was initiated by the North Bucks Bat Group (NBBG) in 2003 and formed the study site for Hannah’s MSc research into factors affecting bat box selection within Finemere Wood between 2009 and 2011.
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.
All over the country long strips of plastic fencing are now a common sight – a sign that an increasing number of ecologists and contractors are instigating great crested newt mitigation schemes. Sound ecological knowledge and evidence-based application of this should inform how professional ecologists go about their business, and underpinning this is their proper training and development.