Southern Ecological Solutions (SES) have a wealth of experienced ecologists that have conducted nesting bird, breeding bird and wintering bird surveys using a number of techniques. SES also has a specialist in house implementation team that has created wetland habitat as part of mitigation scheme’s within SSSI’s, SPA’s and SAC’s.
Habitat and Ecology of UK Birds
The habitat requirement of birds varies drastically and there is almost no habitat where birds will not be found. The ecological survey technique and rational will vary depending on the location of the development site (e.g. is it inner city, or near an SPA) and the development proposals.
Legal Status and Protection of Bird species in UK
All wild bird species in the UK are protected from killing, injury and taking under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). In addition this legislation makes it an offence to take, damage or destroy a nest while in use or being built, and to take or destroy the eggs of any nesting bird.
Also certain species are listed on Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as amended). This makes it an additional offence to intentionally or recklessly disturb the adults while they are in and around their nest or intentionally or recklessly disturb their dependent young.
Species listed on Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) include barn owl, kingfisher, red kite and greenshank. Such species are considered to be in greater need of legal protection or of high nature conservation priority.
Birds of conservation concern are also included on the Red and Amber lists.
Birds on the Red list are those of high conservation concern and include common and widespread species such as the house sparrow, starling and skylark
Birds on the Amber list are of medium conservation concern and include the dunnock and kestrel.
Some birds of conservation concern are priority species on the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UKBAP). Priority species in the UKBAP are also Species of Principal Importance for the Conservation of Biodiversity in England under Section 41 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (NERC). Also section 40 of the NERC Act requires every public body in the exercising of its functions to ‘have regard, so far as is consistent with the proper exercise of those functions, to the purpose of conserving biodiversity’. In addition, local authority planning departments should also meet the requirements of chapter 11: Conserving and enhancing the natural environment, of the Nation Planning Policy Framework; which requires planners not only to protect biodiversity, but where possible to enhance it.
SES has carried out a range of surveys of breeding birds using methodologies such as the Common Bird Census (CBC) and Breeding Bird Survey (BBS). We also carry out surveys for a range of specific species of bird, such as barn owls. In addition we undertake surveys for wintering and non-breeding species based on methodologies such as the Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS).
British Bird Mitigation
The SES Implementations (link to implementations page) team in conjunction with SES ecologists have carried out extensive habitat creation works including the creation of 750m of new wetland habitats within the Medway Estuary and Marshes SPA.