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New Bat Guidance for Onshore Wind Turbines

The new guidance ‘BATS AND ONSHORE WIND TURBINES: SURVEY, ASSESSMENT AND MITIGATION’ has been issued by SNH.

This guidance changes the requirements for bat surveys, assessment, mitigation and monitoring for onshore wind farm sites.  In particular, in provides a detailed risk assessment method to establish if turbine curtailment is required to mitigate bat mortaility from collision with blades.

Read our summary note of the key points that developers should be aware of for their projects.

Please see here for the link to the full SNH guidance: https://www.nature.scot/bats-and-onshore-wind-turbines-survey-assessment-and-mitigation  

 

MACARTHUR GREEN’S MARINE RENEWABLES RESEARCH PROGRAMME

With The Crown Estate recently announcing their proposed plans for Round 4 offshore wind leasing, it is a good time to provide an update on the marine ornithological research work MacArthur Green is supporting.

Since 2011, MacArthur Green has supported 8 PhD research projects. The aim is to reduce uncertainty over ornithological impacts of marine renewable projects by improving evidence-based decision making.

To deliver these research projects, we are working with key organisations from academia, government and industry. By producing this important research, we will also be contributing to the training of future skilled ornithological scientist in the field, who will hopefully go on to work in marine renewables. For more detail on the research projects, please read our update here.

MacArthur Green believe in helping projects that are important to people and nature succeed, and delivering a positive environmental legacy in doing so. Offshore wind is an example of the type of project that can deliver significant economic and environmental benefits; helping informed decision making for these projects is of key importance to us.

 

(For more information on The Crown Estate’s leasing plans, please see their new website: https://www.thecrownestate.co.uk/en-gb/what-we-do/on-the-seabed/energy/offshore-wind-potential-new-leasing/ ).

MacArthur Green Support 4 PhD Studentships on Marine Renewables and Sea Birds

We are passionate about marine renewables and sea birds, and we are delighted to announce that MacArthur Green is now supporting four PhD studentships in this area. Each of these students are aiming to advance knowledge in this area, and reduce uncertainty for future marine renewable developments. 

We are working with an number of key partners to deliver this research including; Glasgow University, Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), MASTS, UHI (ERI Thurso), Leeds University and Vattenfall.

We thought it was about time that we let everyone know a bit more about our PhD team, and what they are going to be looking at:

  1. Glasgow University Scholarship; Alex RobbinsMarine wet renewables and seabirds.’ University supervisor Dr David Bailey.
  2. NERC CASE Studentship, Glasgow University; Julie MillerModelling populations of seabirds affected by marine developments.’ University supervisor Professor Jason Matthiopoulos.
  3. SNH/MASTS Scholarship, UHI (ERI Thurso); Daniel JohnstonEcology of black guillemots in relation to Marine Protected Areas and tidal stream arrays.’ University supervisor Dr Liz Masden.
  4. NERC CASE Studentship, Leeds University (with Vattenfall as 2nd CASE partner); student to be appointed ‘Demography of gannets on Bass Rock in relation to offshore wind farms.’ University supervisor Professor Keith Hamer.

Professor Robert Furness and Mark Trinder are working hard to support each of these students as they wade their way through these important topics. Watch this space for updates from our PhD team!

MacArthur Green Auk research project selected by Vattenfall backed EOWDC

MacArthur Green’s auk research project has been selected as part of a multi-million pound research programme based in Aberdeen Bay. 

Funded by the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre, run by Vattenfall, these projects will put Scotland at the forefront of research and development in the industry.

Bob Furness and Mark Trinder will be measuring connectivity between auk special protection area populations and offshore wind farms, and tracking the non-breeding season movements of adult auks. The project aims to demonstrate that this could reduce future uncertainty in impact assessments and improve understanding of how auks engage and co-exist with Offshore Wind Farms. This project will fund a PhD student to work with the research team.

Professor Furness (Principal Ornithologist at MacArthur Green) said,

‘It is very exciting to be able to deploy tags on guillemots and razorbills to learn about their migration routes and wintering areas. Until now, our knowledge of their migrations has mainly come from recoveries of ringed birds found dead on beaches in winter, which can give a very biased picture. This project will allow us to track the routes used by birds, and which areas they spend time in throughout the winter.

We are particularly interested to find out if these migrations differ between birds from different colonies, and whether individuals use different areas from year to year or consistently go back to favourite locations. That knowledge will not only help in assessment of the impacts of offshore wind farms but will also help us understand how best to conserve these internationally important seabird populations that are an iconic part of Scotland’s wildlife heritage’.

 

T in the Park Osprey Chicks Successfully Fledge!

MacArthur Green has had a busy summer supporting DF concerts and Bluewind Consulting with ornithology clerk of works for the Osprey nesting at the T in the Park site in Strathallan, Perthshire.

As well as monitoring the Osprey, MacArthur Green carried out the terrestrial ecology surveys and post event monitoring for the T in the Park site at Strathallan in Perthshire.

A Wee Bit About The Ospreys From Our Very Own Joyce Reid

The Scottish Osprey population is only about 180-200* pairs, so these birds are still twice as rare as Golden Eagles in the UK. This fragile population is protected by law so careful monitoring was in place at T in the Park to ensure the construction works and noise from the Festival did not cause the breeding attempt to fail.

Osprey's feet are specially adapted, with short spines covering the foot pads and long sharp talons to help grip wet fish. Ospreys can hunt 10 miles from the nest, catching a variety of fish species.

Incubation was shared by both adults, starting in late April and after about 40 days. On the 2nd or 3rd June, the first egg hatched. The male was observed taking prey to his mate on the nest where she fed small pieces to the chick. The 2nd egg hatched a couple of days later.

The number of feeds increased rapidly as the chicks grew, with between two and four fish being brought to the nest each day. The chicks could perch and look out the nest by July and were fully feathered against the rain.

During the T in the Park festival weekend the nesting behaviour and feeding continued as normal, with the birds watching the comings and goings of the festival goers.

By the middle of July the chicks were practicing flapping their wings to strengthen muscles needed for the long migration back to Africa.

In August they were flying around and eating fish unaided, they just need to learn to catch them now!

The UK's Ospreys winter mostly in Senegal, The Gambia or Mauritania and they fly south in late August. The adults will migrate several weeks before the young, who have to find their own way back to Africa.

Our thanks to Joyce Reid for the article and photos. Thanks also to Sarah Sanders for her photos. 

(*The Birds of Scotland SOC 2007)

Adult Osprey devours its fish!

 

Fledged junior Osprey July 2016

 

Adult Osprey enjoys tree top view!