Rich has written an article in the latest edition of the Wind Energy Network magazine.

The article explains the importance of preliminary assessments and scientifically robust surveys in particular for bats and they way they use habitats.

Please read the link for the full article:

BatFeature

Andrew commented on an article in The Environment Analyst concerning the lack of expertise and resources within councils regarding ecology issues, meaning planning applications risk legal problems related to ecological factors.

See the link to read the full article.

Image of Badger treat, laced with plastic pellets to help track badgers' range across a site.

Badger treat – laced with colourful plastic pellets that helps to find out how far particular badgers range over a site. Picture by Kelly Clark

Baker Consultants used a remote digital camera to monitor a potential sett.

A remote video recording technique has been cited as best practice by Network Rail after a project from Baker Consultants delivered significant savings on a rail infrastructure improvement project in Bedfordshire.

The camera, placed at the openings, recorded constantly for three weeks, only being triggered when movement around the entrance was detected.  All sorts of wildlife was recorded investigating the sett, including a young badger who stayed for three hours before moving on and not being seen again. The foxes, pole-cats, rabbits, cats and other animals all investigated the hole, but no-one took up residence.  We even picked up a tawny owl on site.

The information was discussed with Natural England who confirmed that a licence was not necessary to proceed with works at the site. The sett was closed using one-way gates and the camera used to monitor the site during the works.

Imaging is not the only technique used to remotely track badger activity, Kelly recently sent me some pictures of the lovely treacley mix of badger treat – laced with colourful plastic pellets that helps to find out how far particular badgers range over a site, that is, if you can find their poo!

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Rich writes:

With the continued growth of our marine business, I attended this event to investigate the opportunities it presented for marine and coastal bird survey, particularly in relation to offshore windfarms.

DeTect staff delivered detailed presentations on the capabilities and technical aspects of their radar system. One of the problems with offshore bird monitoring is getting staff out on site in potentially difficult conditions; this system would allow us to record birds in all conditions, night or day, from a remote location. Analysis of the resulting images would enable us to feed into a suitable collision risk model for assessment.

The obvious problem with radar is its inability to identify species. Therefore we will always need skilled bird surveyors out in the field to ‘ground truth’ our results. DeTect have also devised a number of advancements in their software, reducing visual clutter and ensuring the clearest image possible for later analysis.

In general, radar systems are recognised as a vital tool in offshore ecological impact assessment, and should form part of any bird survey on marine developments. As always we aim to use the most innovative techniques to improve the efficiency of our work, while ensuring scientific robustness in our methods. MERLIN is one of a number of radar systems specifically designed for bird impact assessment and, of course, others could be more suited to our particular projects. Watch this space.