Renewable UK annual conference – Stand 144

Baker Consultants’ consultants will be conducting a different kind of site visit and are not expecting to encounter any great crested newts or breeding birds at the Birmingham NEC on 5th-7th November.

Come along and meet some of the team, whether terrestrial ecologists or marine mammals experts there will be someone to advise you on your renewables project.

To book an appointment please email or call Andrew on 07590 122969.

Renewable UK logo

Four of Scotland’s largest developers of renewable energy have teamed up with Scottish Natural Heritage, RSPB Scotland and the Scottish Government to invest in a new research fund to help better understand the interaction between wind farms and bird populations. Read more

Our bioacoustic team has recently made a significant breakthrough in the semi-automated processing of full spectrum data, allowing a more cost-effective way of managing bat call data analysis. The success of this technique on over 1000s of hours of data, has led to us being commissioned to process data for one of the UK’s largest major infrastructure projects.

Read more

Wildlife Acoustics launches the new Echo Meter EM3+

If you are familiar with the EM3, the new EM3+ keeps all of the powerful features of the original while improving the recording and monitoring quality, “fit and finish” and ergonomics of the recorder. Read more

Wildlife Acoustics, the world’s leading supplier of bioacoustics monitoring systems for biologists around the world, has been selected as one of 20 finalists from a field of 204 nominated companies in the Smaller Business of New England (SBANE) 2013 Innovation award.

Click here for the full article Read more

The March issue of IEEM’s In Practice carries Andrew’s article on bioacoustics’ coming of age. It discusses the advances in bioacoustic survey technology in the terrestrial and marine environments. Rather than advocating that technology can replace the skilled professional ecologist, it suggests that the collecting of more detailed and robust data can allow the consultant to do a better job for the client and attain a more satisfactory development outcome. Read more

Baker Consultants is taking part in the WildVolunteering Award, a partnership between Derby City Council, the University of Derby and WildDerby for students at the University. We have proposed a project to use electronic detectors to survey and monitor for nightjar (a bird species of high nature conservation concern).


The role of the student would be to receive training in the use of Wildlife Acoustics SM2 bird detectors, deploy these on a site local to Cromford, and then download and analyse the data gathered to check for recordings of nightjar song.  The project would be supported by ecologists within Baker Consultants, but the student would be expected to undertake the fieldwork independently and carry out computer analysis of the data.

Nightjars sing (churr) between mid-May and mid-August, with a peak in activity during June.  They are normally surveyed by people walking transects at dusk and dawn, while listening for the distinctive song produced by male birds.  We would like to test the use of automatic recording equipment (often used for bats) which can be programmed, placed in the field and left to record for a period of nights.  Once the survey period is complete, the electronic data is downloaded and can then be analysed using computer software to check for singing nightjars.


There are over 50 places on the WildVolunteering scheme open to students of Derby University. Students have the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and an insight into the biodiversity and ecology of the region.

Further details of the WildVolunteering scheme can be found at the weblink here:

Baker Consultants and HR Wallingford join forces to provide sophisticated noise surveying monitoring and modelling service for marine environment.

A greater understanding of the impact of noise on the marine environment is driving regulators to demand more detail during the planning of developments and activities. The Marine Strategy Framework Directive sets out clear parameters and targets for ‘good environmental status’ that include noise in the marine environment.

A full assessment of underwater noise impacts on sensitive marine receptors requires modern noise monitoring technology and modelling tools to integrate the noise propagation
into the actual marine environment.

Andrew Baker and Mark Liddiard are holding meetings at RenewableUK this week to introduce this unique service to developers.

A brochure explaining the service can be downloaded here Noise monitoring and modelling brochure (low res).

For a high res brochure or to arrange an appointment to discuss your noise monitoring requirements please email or call 01629 593958

Course dates are now confirmed for SM2BAT training with Paul Howden-Leach. This is the only SM2 training course approved by Wildlife Acoustics.

Tuesday 27th November 2012
Tuesday 29th January 2013
Tuesday 12th March 2013

Venue: Cromford Mill, Derbyshire

The full day training session will provide a users introduction to the SM2 unit itself and will focus on the following elements:-

  • Getting to know the unit
  • Basic setup for deployment
  • Data download
  • Dealing with the data
  • Advanced setup techniques

The course will also include an overview of the EM3 hand held unit.

Applicants will be required to bring an SM2BAT unit and a laptop. Full details of required equipment will be set out in the joining instructions.

The course fee is £225 + VAT and includes refreshments and a buffet lunch.

To book your place please contact or download the booking form below. Group rates and bespoke courses are available.

Highlighting the importance of sound on underwater life, an art and sound installation by artists Stephen Hurrel and Mark Lyken working alongside marine biologists has been launched at the Cromarty Lighthouse.

IOTA in collaboration with the University of Aberdeen’s School of Biological Sciences hosted two artists in residence at the Lighthouse Field Station in Cromarty.

In a response to the maritime environment of Cromarty, Stephen Hurrel’s film, Dead Reckoning, featured cinematic images of the immediate environment, together with underwater video and sound recordings, to create a dialogue between ‘above’ and ‘below’ the waterline.

Here is the link to the BBC Radio 4 programme Saving Species and Stephen Hurrel’s film:

SM2Ms from Wildlife Acoustics have been recently bought by Aberdeen University with assistance from Baker Consultants’ marine team, to monitor the acoustic landscape of the Moray Firth.

Back in 2007, the Bat Conservation Trust published the first edition of ‘Bat Surveys: Good Practice Guidelines’, with the aim to provide some clarity on the different types of survey and survey effort needed to provide appropriate information for ecological assessments. Since 2007, new developments in equipment, methods, and legislation have meant that revision of the bat survey guidelines is needed.

The practical implementation of bat conservation has evolved and expanded, with a greater number of individuals undertaking professional bat work.

The second edition of the guidelines has just been released. This updated version provides improved guidance for those commissioning, undertaking or reviewing bat surveys throughout the UK. It is intended to enhance the standard and consistency of bat surveys and reports and ultimately lead to greater understanding of bats and improvements in their protection and conservation.

The BCT has set out to strengthen the focus on professional bat work within the guidance, both for those undertaking the work, and to include more details for planners assessing surveys. This edition also takes account of changes in technology, and the importance of selecting the right equipment to meet the survey aims and being clear about the limitations of different techniques.

As with any generic guidance though, the interpretation and implementation of case-by-case best practice is still very much down to trained and experienced ecologists, such as those at Baker Consultants. The BCT makes this clear in its introduction, stating that “there is no substitute for knowledge and experience in survey planning, methodology and interpretation of findings, and these guidelines are intended to support these”.

To commission a survey or site assessment, or if you’re an ecologist with too much data to analyse during the busy season give us a call on: 01629 593958

SM2 Detector fixed to a tree.

SM2 Detector fixed to a tree.

Having become the UK’s acknowledged experts in the use of the Wildlife Acoustics’ SM2 range of full spectrum recorders, Baker Consultants Ltd has been commissioned by the manufacturer to provide field support to their UK users. The aim of the service is to answer any queries that you may have regarding the set up and use of the SM2 and any issues of data handling.

Any hardware issues will be passed directly on to Wildlife Acoustics.

We have set up a dedicated telephone line for the service. The service is free of charge and will be provided by Paul Howden-Leach of Baker Consultants Ltd.

Telephone: 0114 360 9977
Skype: sm2fieldsupport

Next SM2BAT training courses are:
Thursday 16th February 2012
Thursday 15th March 2012

To download a booking form click  SM2 Booking Form.

Paul reports on his trip to the Mammal Society Conference in Bangor. He attended talks on Dormice, badger mitigation and brown hares among other creatures and had a great group for his SM2 workshop.

Paul writes:

I was invited to run an SM2 workshop at the Mammal Conference held in Bangor by the British Mammal Society in early November 2011. The event was held in the Bramall building at Bangor University, which contains a small but fantastic natural history museum.

The difficulty with running an event such as this is the need to cater for a wide range of different audiences including interested members of the public who are just getting into natural history, enthusiastic volunteers (whose knowledge on British mammals often swamps many of the professionals), consultants, local authorities and academics. The conference was pitched perfectly invoking discussions within the talks and throughout the breaks and lunch.

The day was kicked off by the president of the Mammal society Dereck Yaldon, whose talk on Brown Hare populations was very interesting, of which one of the main conclusions is, he needs more hare records so please send any records to your local records office or to the Mammal Soc’s National Mammal Atlas. This was followed by a talk on badger mitigation by Penny Lewns and what works and what doesn’t. After lunch Jack Grasse gave a very unique talk on Dormouse surveying(see our dormouse blog piece here), I won’t go into detail as I think most people who attended the conference will agree that if you get a chance to see Jack speak whatever he speaks on you will remember forever. This was followed by a presentation on the Alcathose bat by Kate Williamson from Leeds university.

The mammal society gave a presentation looking at hedgehog survey techniques which required plastic sheeting, powder paint, oil white paper, paperclips, sticky back plastic and hot dog sausages. Very Blue Peter and very effective. I know I have missed other presentations out and of course all of the workshops but needless to say that the Mammal society events are well worth having a look at.

Many thanks to all of the people who organised such a wonderful event.

In a very short period of time the SM2BAT from Wildlife Acoustics has become
recognised as an industry-standard remote bat detector and is widely
used by consultants, universities and researchers.

Superior field equipment that records more calls brings with it the challenge of larger volumes of data to analyse.

Baker Consultants is now able to offer a full data processing service to assist in the analysis of bat survey field recordings. Using our library of bat call ‘recognisers’ our experienced bat ecologists can
provide a cost-effective, independent analysis of SM2 recordings.

We will provide a detailed analysis of the data, using Songscope software, and provide the following information from each recording session:

•    A summary spreadsheet of the data including a confirmed species list.
•    A list highlighting calls which are dubious or inadequately recorded.
•    Measured call parameters will be provided for calls of rare species.
•    A date and time-indexed spreadsheet of all identifiable calls.

•    Rapid, cost effective analysis using the SM2 native software, Songscope.
•    Full spectrum analysis capturing a greater number of calls.
•    Independent verification avoiding any charge of bias.
•    Data remains confidential and site anonymous.
•    Time and cost savings.

Please contact Carlos Abrahams if you would like more details of this service or email


Thursday 3rd November 2011
Thursday 16th February 2012
Thursday 15th March 2012


Venue: Arkwright’s Mill, Cromford, Derbyshire

The full day training sessions provide users with an introduction to the SM2BAT unit itself and will focus on the following:·

•    Getting to know the unit
•    Basic setup for deployment
•    Data download
•    Dealing with the data
•    Advanced setup techniques

Applicants will be required to bring an SM2BAT unit and an internet enabled laptop. Full details of required equipment will be set out in the joining instructions. The course fee is £225 + VAT and includes refreshments.

To book a place please contact: