Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Happy New Year

Looking Back at 2011 and Forward to 2012

Happy New Year.  A quick review of an exciting end to 2011 and a look forward to what will hopefully be another successful year in 2012.

Before the main 2011 survey season came to an end we were lucky enough to be involved with a couple of interesting projects in the UK.  The first was a leisure development in Shropshire where we'd already found and mitigated for Dormouse but needed to complete appropriate bat mitigation under a Natural England licence.  After bat boxes had been erected and a specially designed bat loft incorporated into the site's new machinery shed it was time to exclude bats potentially roosting in buildings set for demolition.

During the exclusion and demolition five Soprano Pipistrelles were found behind a door frame and successfully relocated to nearby bat boxes.

November 2011 also saw the conclusion of a successful Badger exclusion in Staffordshire. After evidence of Badger activity had been recorded around our previously constructed artificial sett (see blog post - 7th June 2011) the exclusion process was completed under Natural England licence and demolition of the majority of the natural sett soon followed.

Inside the sett
Prints in artificial tunnel entrance

Once the natural sett was demolished back to the boundary fence, chain link was fixed along the bank to prevent access to open holes and deter Badgers digging back in to the subsequently landscaped bank.  Gates and chain-link were removed from Badger holes on the other side of the fence and Badgers are now free to use these once again. 

In October 2011 Turnstone Ecology were commissioned to assist with the assessment of a proposed wind farm in Mainland, Orkney.  The fieldwork is being completed by local ornithologists  and we were able to complete a visit to the site at the end of November.  In addition to familiarising ourselves with the site and meeting the client we were able to do a little birding around this very beautiful island. 

The Ring of Brodgar
The journey to and from Orkney was fairly eventful.  On the way north we had a stop over Stirling where we very nearly got flooded in!  High winds and rain followed us up the road - but did abate enough for Tristan to have a 'life tick' (Crested Tit) at the RSPB Loch Garten reserve.  The boat across to Orkney was a little bumpy to say the least.  We had a two day break in the weather whilst on the island which was very well received by all - especially when completing field work!

Adult Iceland Gull
We managed to do a little birding on the final day on the island - the highlight was an adult Iceland Gull in Stromness Harbour (best loaf of bread I've ever purchased!).  We also had very good views of Black Guillemots, Eiders and Purple Sandpipers.  Mark even managed to break 200 birds seen in a single year!

Black Guillemot
Male Eider

The return journey was fairly uneventful other than a little snow and ice in the Highlands however it transpired that we were very lucky to get off the island as the boat we caught was the last boat to leave Orkney for a couple of days due to very high winds and rough seas! 

Looking forward to 2012 where we will hopefully return to Orkney to complete surveys on one of the most northerly bat populations in the UK. 

2011 ended with Turnstone Ecology increasing our International experience with survey work and site meetings in Galati, Romania and a review of the Polish Guidelines Concerning Impact Assessment of Wind Power Stations on Birds for the Polish Wind Energy Association (PWEA).

After a long but fairly straight forward trip out to Galati, eastern Romania, we completed a site assessment of four proposed wind farm projects and met with local ornithologists who have been undertaking intial survey work.

Syrian Woodpecker

White-tailed Eagle mobbed by corvids

Following our highly commended review of the Polish Wind Farm Guidelines we were invited to Warsaw to speak at the PWEA 13th Wind Energy Forum .  Not a birding trip, so no pics, but an excellent and valuable experience and a good way to finish 2011.

We are all looking forward to another busy year of ecology surveys.  Timing of these surveys is critical as many are very constrained by the season and/or guidelines and it is possible that the results of surveys may not be accepted if completed outside of the guidelines.  We have included an abridged version of the ecology survey calendar.
Type of Survey
Phase 1
Site Initial Ecological Assessments
Great Crested Newt

Presence/Absence Surveys


Presence/Absence Surveys


Nest Box/Tube Surveys
Nut Search
Sett Surveys
Sett Exclusions/Disturbance



Surveys conducted all year but limited by high water levels
Water Vole

Peak months- April, May and September

If you are planning a development (large or small) in 2012 please bear in mind the survey seasons.  If you require any more information or would like us to provide a fee proposal for any works please contact us -