Curlew Survey and Nest Monitoring - Shropshire

During summer 2018 our team of ornithological surveyors completed surveys to locate Curlew nests in two key breeding areas in Shropshire (the Upper Clun and Clee Hill), with subsequent nest monitoring.

The breeding population of Curlew in Shropshire is estimated to have declined by 77% in the last 20 years. Consequently, the Shropshire Wildlife Trust and Shropshire Ornithological Society launched the ‘Save our Curlews’ campaign, in association with the Upper Clun Community Wildlife Group and Clee Hill Community Wildlife Group.

Once active nests were located, electric fences were erected to protect them from ground-based predators and the nests were monitored to determine success/productivity. Once hatched, chicks were ringed and radio-tags applied. Chicks were then monitored to assess survival rates.

In the Clee Hill monitoring area a total of three nests were located, with one further nest where the eggs had already been predated (or accidentally crushed by a vehicle). The electric fences were successful in protecting nests from predation. At least one, possibly two, juveniles fledged with the remaining juveniles predated soon after leaving the nest.

Three nests were also located in the Upper Clun monitoring area, all containing four eggs. Again, fence installation was successful in protecting nests from predation, however, it is thought that all juveniles were predated soon after leaving the nest.

One of the nests produced no viable young: two eggs failed to hatch, and two chicks had hatched but with congenital deformities of the legs and spine. A post-mortem suggested nutritional osteodystrophy, a rickets-like condition affecting bone formation; the chicks were also found to have enlarged fatty livers. The symptoms are typical of B-vitamin deficiency, probably reflecting the nutritional or health status of the female during egg formation. 

Full details of this monitoring work are is available at:

Upper Clun

Clee Hill

Bird Surveys in Wales

During the 2018 breeding season our bird surveyors completed surveys and assessment/reporting in relation to seven wind farm sites in Wales, both pre and post-construction, for a number of clients. These surveys included species specific surveys for Black Grouse, Nightjar, Curlew, Short-eared Owl and generic breeding raptor surveys, in addition to Vantage Point Surveys and Breeding Bird Walkovers.

The team found territories of a variety of rare breeding birds including Hen Harrier, Merlin, Goshawk, Nightjar and were very fortunate to find an active Black Grouse nest. All Schedule 1 territories were monitored under licence issued by NRW.

Our team are geographically well placed to cover all of Wales, and highly skilled. If you require support on a renewables project (or any other) in Wales, please contact Martyn Owen (Martyn@biomeconsulting.com)

Bird Surveys - Caithness

Bird Surveys - Caithness

Our team of ornithologists recently concluded 12 months of bird surveys at a proposed wind farm site in Caithness, Scotland.

During fieldwork a variety of breeding waders were encountered, as well as Twite and three pairs of Arctic Skua. It wasn’t all work though, and the team managed to find a variety of rare species during time between surveys, including Syke’s Warbler and American Wigeon amongst other species.

Our team of ornithologists cover all parts of the British Isles, and beyond. If you require support on you project, please contact Martyn Owen (martyn@biomeconsulting.com).

Bat Low Impact Class Licence

BiOME Consulting Director Richard Moores is a Registered Consultant (RC) on the Natural England Bat Low Impact Class Licence (BLICL) scheme. Any site that has been found, through bat surveys, to host only small numbers of common bat species (Brown Long-eared Bat, Whiskered Bat, Brandt's Bat, Common and Soprano Pipistrelle, Daubenton's Bat and Natterer's Bat) can be registered under the Registered Consultant's Low Impact Licence in no more than 10 working days (as opposed to obtaining a full European Protected species mitigation licence which takes up to 30 working days). Natural England state that registering a site on the Low Impact Licence should be done at least 15 working days before the start of licensable activities. This scheme has the potential to provide a more streamlined and efficient approach to licensing for developers. 

Contact Richard Moores for further advice: richard@biomeconsulting.com