The purpose of this report is to provide a review of the bird and marine mammal observation data for the EMEC Billia Croo wave test site from 2009 to 2011. The primary aim was to explore any relationships between site usage and environmental variables.
This report can assist in understanding the spatial and temporal distribution of wildlife at the test site, and specifically enable identification of where and when particular species are more likely to encounter test devices or related deployment activity. It provides information on how the most frequently occurring bird and marine mammal species use Billia Croo wave test site. This included: common eider, red-throated diver, northern fulmar, northern gannet, European shag, great skua, gull species, black-legged kittiwake, tern species, common guillemot, razorbill, black guillemot and Atlantic puffin, as well as grey and common seals, and harbour porpoise.
- Almost all species showed spatial variation in their use of the Billia Croo site. There are slight differences in the locations of hotspots and the extent to which different species used the wave test site. However, for a number of species (e.g. shag, auks and eider), sightings were concentrated between the Black Craig observation Tower and/or off Breck Ness.
- Many species also showed seasonal variation in their use of the site, which reflected the breeding and wintering habits that are typical for the species. Fulmar, gannet, Arctic tern, black guillemot and puffin, were found to vary in their usage of the site throughout the day.
- Encounter rates for some species were found to vary with tidal state and also under different environmental conditions, including wind strength, direction and glare extent.