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.