In the last decade, Ecology surveying techniques have moved forwards, incorporating several innovative technological advances, including the use of thermography and infrared techniques. These methods aid a more accurate and efficient collection of data for a variety of work areas such as; bat surveys, tree inspections, bird surveys and Ecological Clerk of Works (ECoW).
Bats in trees are particularly hard to assess with many potential emergences precautionarily recorded due to lack of visibility and are therefore creating a large number of trees that need further surveys and/or licensing. In these situations, a survey with either infrared or thermal imaging capabilities would have either confirmed or eliminated the tree as a roost. It also allows bats to be more accurately pinpointed in buildings, often showing them emerging from areas that may not have been visible during inspections.
Once on site clearing vegetation, ECoW becomes the focus. In these situations, thermal imaging can again play a large part in improving efficiency and protecting clients from unintentional harm or death to protected species. With specific applications with birds, thermal imaging and IR can play a huge role in accurately recording what is on site. For example, surveys in Scotland showed that when identifying nightjar breeding locations, comparing thermal images using a drone to human surveying on foot via transect, the thermal imaging picked up 50% more nesting areas.