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You can contact Stuart Spray Wildlife Consultant at the following addresses:

England: SSWC, 9 Basford Road, Manchester M16 0FT

Scotland: SSWC. Laundry Cottage, Clarencefield, Dumfries, DG1 4NA

Phone: 07894 081164

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Bird Surveys

Stuart Spray Wildlife Consultancy provides specialist services in bird surveys, mitigation, training and research for seabirds, raptors, waterfowl and upland birds.

All wilds birds, their nests and their young are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, as amended by the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 in Scotland and the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CRoW) in England, while they are building their nests or while they are near the nest when it contains young or eggs.

Stuart Spray Wildlife Consultancy carries out breeding bird surveys, raptor and birds of prey surveys and wind farm vantage point surveys.

Breeding Bird Surveys

Stuart Spray Wildlife Consultancy’s Breeding bird surveys are conducted in suitable habitat within 500m of the site boundary using a modified version of the BTO/JNCC Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) to record the number and species of all adult birds on the survey site. The site is visited on a minimum of four occasions, three at dawn and one at dusk.

  • On each visit a predetermined transect is walked at slow pace and all birds encountered on the transect are identified by sight or by sound and marked on a location map using the standard BTO codes;
  • Notes are made on details such as sex, age (juvenile or adult) and activity. Where possible birds are not recorded more than once;
  • Any nests located during the course of the survey are marked on the map; and
  • Weather conditions are monitored to ensure that it is not too windy or rainy during the survey.

Raptors and Birds of Prey

Suitable habitat, such as thinned European larch on an incline for goshawk or upland heath for hen harrier, is surveyed on foot looking for evidence of breeding birds of prey including:

  • Displaying adults;
  • Nests;
  • Droppings;
  • Feeding remains around the base of trees;
  • Plucking stations; and
  • Fresh kills.

Suitable habitat is also observed from vantage points looking for displaying birds and migrating adults. Potential nesting sites for barn owls such as hollow trees, outbuildings, derelict farm cottages and farm steadings are searched during daylight hours looking for evidence of breeding including:

  • Droppings;
  • Owl pellets;
  • Feathers; and
  • Eggshells.

Wind Farm Vantage Point Surveys

Whilst making a valuable contribution to the energy needs of the UK, wind farms also pose potential threats to a variety of bird species migrating and foraging in the vicinity of turbines. The main risks to bird populations in the vicinity of wind turbines are:

  • Habitat loss;
  • Death through collision with turbine blades; and
  • Habitat fragmentation.

An assessment of the potential impact of the proposed wind farm on the ornithological interest of the site is a vital part of the EIA.

Stuart Spray Wildlife Consultancy is experienced in carrying out vantage point surveys following standard methodology recommended by NatureScot in its publication Recommended bird survey methods to inform impact assessment of onshore windfarms paper.