Ornithology

Whinchat Monitoring and Research Project - Shropshire

In the UK the Whinchat Saxicola rubetra population has declined by 53%, and 44% in England, in only 21 years (1995 and 2016). It is now localised within England, occurring in northern uplands and in pockets in the south, such as Salisbury Plain and the south-west. This severe decline in the breeding population saw the Whinchat move from the Amber List of Birds of Conservation Concern to the Red List in 2015.

During the 2019 breeding season BiOME are working on a Whinchat research project on the Long Mynd, Shropshire where the national population decline has been mirrored. This projects’ aim is to not only discover the reasons for the local decline, but also to be involved in developing ways of reversing it.

Nests will be found and birds colour-ringed; following which breeding success will be assessed and reasons for failure determined (when possible). Data in relation to habitat use will also be collected and assessed.

The colour-ring combination on each bird is unique, ensuring that individuals can be identified in the field. The proportion returning each following year will give an indication of longevity, and mortality rates.

The results of this research will be published here.

If you require any ornithological support please contact Martyn Owen (martyn@biomeconsulting.com)

Habitats Regulations Assessment - Wales & England

In 1992 member states of the European Union (EU) adopted legislation designed to protect the most seriously threatened habitats and species across Europe. This legislation is referred to as the Habitats Directive and complements the Birds Directive. The basis of both these Directives was the creation of a network of protected sites, collectively called Natura 2000 sites (also referred to as ‘European sites’).

Under Article 6(3) and 6(4) of the Habitats Directive, any project / plan likely to have a significant impact upon Natura 2000 sites (either alone or in combination with other plans or projects) must be subject to Appropriate Assessment by a competent authority. The process for determining whether an Appropriate Assessment is required (screening), together with the Appropriate Assessment itself (where it is considered necessary following screening), is known as Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) and is set out in Regulation 48 of the Habitats Regulations.

Over the course of the last twelve months BiOME have been commissioned by clients to complete the required ecology work in relation to a number of proposed developments (harbour improvements, a leisure centre, road upgrade and single turbines) in close proximity to coastal Natura 2000 sites, in both England and Wales. 

To inform the HRA process, robust, comprehensive and repeatable bird surveys were required. These surveys were designed and completed by our in-house team of highly experienced ornithologists, producing a dataset upon which it was possible to fully and confidently assess the impacts of the proposed development, both alone and in-combination with other projects.

We look forward to completing the post-construction ornithological monitoring in relation to these projects in future years.