Scottish Rural College Protected Species Surveys
Practecology undertook bat and badger surveys on land owned by the SRUC to determine impacts to protected species prior to a programme of ground works.
Badger surveys commenced in April 2016 before vegetation had begun to grow and when it was much easier to find setts, latrines and tracks. All hedge boundaries, areas of woodland and gorse, tracks and stream banks which fell within a 500m radius of the proposed works were thoroughly searched.
A number of setts were found which ranged in size and level of use. Some showed evidence of having bedding being taken below ground, others had very large latrines at the entrance suggesting that there was more than one badger in occupation, whereas others appeared to to be disused. Tracks used by badgers, and likely a range of other species, were common and very useful in locating setts and territorial boundaries. Remote sensing cameras were also used to determine whether some of the active setts were used for breeding and rearing cubs.
Latrine at sett entrance
Subsidiary sett with limited signs of badger activity
Badger entering sett
Badger path with several latrines
Bat surveys were undertaken in line with the BCT Guidelines http://www.bats.org.uk/pages/guidanceforprofessionals.html with one dawn and two dusk surveys completed between April and July. A total of four buildings were surveyed which had gaps under roofing felt and in soffit boxes which may have allowed bats to enter the structure. Our surveyors used BatBox duet recorders and Roland MP3 Players so that any calls could be analysed later using BatSound Software. Although no bat roosts were identified some soprano pipistrelles were found to be using adjacent trees as a feeding area.