18 May 2022 Promotion of the Profession: Blenheim Bats on Countryfile
We were delighted to be invited to appear on the recent episode of BBC Countryfile showcasing the Blenheim Estate. BSG has completed wide-ranging ecological work at Blenheim to inform conservation work to buildings, identify opportunities for estate-wide biodiversity enhancement and to provide the evidence base to understand the ecological impacts of projects, such as the desilting of Blenheim Lake (a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its bird communities). This work has been overseen by Director of Ecology, Dr Peter Shepherd, who appeared on the programme.
The episode, which aired on 15 May 2022, featured some of the thermal imaging footage of bats that we have collected at Blenheim. This has formed part of a wide-ranging programme of bat survey that has established that a minimum of eleven species of bat occur on the Estate, including the nationally rare barbastelle and the range restricted lesser horseshoe bat. The Grand Bridge is an important roost site for a range of bat species and Blenheim Lake, as demonstrated by the footage, is used by numerous foraging animals, particularly soprano pipistrelles and Daubenton’s bats.
Our wider ecological work at the site has helped identify mitigation to reduce short term ecological impacts of the de-silting works. In relation to bats the principal mitigation will be undertaking a wet as opposed to a dry dredge (i.e. avoiding pumping out the lake), a measure that will enable better protection of bat roosts within the bridge. Once restored, the improved water quality of the lake is likely to result in a much enhanced aquatic flora and invertebrate community, which in turn will benefit the birds, bats and other species that are reliant on it.
The programme can be accessed using this link here: Countryfile: Blenheim Estate. Dr Shepherd features from 53 minutes and 30 seconds onwards.
Further information about our work at Blenheim can be found using the following links:
- Aerial bat surveys of the Grand Bridge at Blenheim Palace Estate
- Water and macroinvertebrate sampling and assessment at Blenheim Palace Estate
- Thermal Imaging Survey For Ecology: Daubenton’s Bats
If you require thermal imaging or other specialist ecological support, please get in touch with one of our offices.