- On 19th October 2018
- In Ecology, General
- By William Coulet
At the beginning of October, most people start to get ready for the winter months ahead and typically the idea of spending these days outside in typical British weather is rather off putting. Luck has struck though, and we spent several days in beautiful sunshine out on the saltmarshes and islands in the Blackwater and Colne Estuaries, collecting high resolution topographic data and aerial imagery of the sites for RSPB, Natural England and Essex Wildlife Trust. The state-of-the-art photogrammetry technique using a drone allows us to achieve a 2 cm resolution map, something previously unprecedented and leaps ahead of the frequently used satellite imagery maps.
The maps are used for an exciting new project, where Exo collaborates with RSPB to determine ideal nesting sites for endangered ground nesting birds such as the Little Tern; Sternula albifrons. By looking at the exact topography, we have identified sites which are at suitable nest elevation relative to the different tide levels, as well as considered future expected sea level rise and erosion patterns to see which sites are the most optimal. This identification will enable the RSPB to focus resources to help the birds where they are most likely to succeed and achieve a sustainable future for the iconic British birdlife.
Mark Nowers, RSPB Conservation Officer, said: “Exo-Environmental have been an integral part of the Essex Little Tern Group for several years now. Their innovation and expertise was pivotal in seeing little terns fledge young for the second time in three years at Old Hall this season. This new work takes us to the next, exciting level of restoring populations across the Essex estuaries.”
Watch this space to see some images of nesting success from next season!
The five-year EU LIFE+ Nature Little Tern Recovery Project will help and will be able to call on funds generously funded by the European Union and 50 per cent funded from contributions by the partners.