Somerset Bat Group July newsletter – Surveys underway ….

Hi Bat Group Members,
The survey season is now well underway, the National Bat Monitoring Program (NBMP) Roost emergence surveys have just finished, while the Field Surveys are just starting.
A new exciting survey has just started, the SW pilot of the British Bat survey.  This innovative project eventually aims to  launch  nationally. To enable this the project team are developing an automated, end-to-end system for monitoring bats. This system will include a low-cost full spectrum bat detector, an app that allows volunteers to send audio recordings to a central server for processing, a suite of software algorithms that automatically detect and classify bat calls to species and a portal to feed the results back to volunteers.
Of the 40 pilot Audiomoth devices now deployed in the South West, 5 have been allocated to Somerset:
  • Four are in the north of the county in a line from Ham Wall, throught, Wells and Oakhill to Frome.
  • The fifth is in the south of Somerset, in wellington.
For this pilot the Audiomoths are deployed on non consecutive nights, with the recordings been returned to the BCT in the post on micro SD cards.   As the Audiomoths currently produce about 28Gb of recordings a night, the full end to end systems may not be possible until until the onboard software can trigger recording on detecting bats.   But overall this new tech. shows great promise.

Copied below is also the latest information form the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT)

  1. June edition of the Bat Group Bulletin
  2. Can you help with the Bats in Churches Study?
  3. Survey dates for the NBMP Field Surveys
  4. NBMP Bat Monitoring Post – June 2019
Hope you are all enjoying the insect filled nights!
Kind regards
Andy Avery
Membership Secretary

Somerset Bat Group
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June edition of the Bat Group Bulletin
Dear bat group member.
Welcome to the June edition of the Bat Group Bulletin. With everyone being so busy at this time of year you’ll be delighted to know it isn’t too long. Two very important Award deadlines have been extended, so please send in your nominations soon. There are some very interesting Batty Papers, Dates for your Diary and Training Events towards the bottom of the Bulletin that you might like to look at?
1. The Pete Guest Award. Nomination date deadline extended to 8th July.
2. Bats in Churches Study goes live!
3. The Vincent Weir Scientific Award. Nomination date deadline extended to 5th July.
4. Update on Modern Roofing Materials.
5. Update on The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018.
6. National shortage of Mealworms.
7. International Bat Night, posters available.
8. Bat Research Papers, Reports & Other Batty Media.
9. Key Dates for Your Diary.

1. The Pete Guest Award. Nomination date deadline extended to 8th July.

The Pete Guest Award is presented annually to individuals (or joint nominations) who have made
outstanding contributions to bat conservation. The award is presented in memory of Pete Guest,
who was an inspirational figure in bat conservation for more than 20 years. Full details of how to
nominate and the previous winners are on the BCT website at: https://bit.ly/1q2ZvVG
2. Bats in Churches Study goes live – England only.
We are glad to say that we’ve just opened our brand new Bats in Churches Study and we hope that
many of you will take part! You can find out more and join the survey here. We’d really appreciate
your help in surveying churches this July for the National Bats in Churches Study, and over the
following three summer seasons (June and July). This is the first year of the survey and we would
welcome your feedback. Please get in if you have any questions (churches@bats.org.uk).
3. The Vincent Weir Scientific Award. Nomination date deadline extended to 5th July.
The Vincent Weir Scientific Award aims to reward and encourage research on the conservation
biology of bats by new researchers, and to recognize the late Hon. Vincent Weir’s major
contributions to bat conservation over many years. The prize was first presented at the National Bat
Conference in 2010 and has been awarded in each year since. For details of how to submit a
nomination see: https://bit.ly/2KLix3J

4. Update on Modern Roofing Materials.

BCT, the SNCOs (NE, NRW and SNH) met with Emmanuel Essah of University of Reading on 15th May
in a bid to move forward on the question of what constitutes a roofing membrane safe to use where
bats are or could be present. Plans are underway to publish a methods paper that will allow the
independent testing of membranes for this function. https://bit.ly/31Cgcwo
5. Update on the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018.
We’ve recently received a question about the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving
Animals) (England) Regulations 2018, which came into force last October: https://bit.ly/2MVFFNZ
A carer wanted to know whether it meant a licence would be required to show education bats at
public events. On reading the legislation, it appears it only applies to commercial enterprises, so bat
carers shouldn’t be affected. However, it wouldn’t hurt to double-check with your local authority to
ensure they interpret the law the same way. If you do find that your local authority tries to make
you apply for a licence, please let me know: cmorris@bats.org.uk.
6. National Shortage of Mealworms.
The UK is once again facing a major mealworm shortage. Livefoods Direct (the suppliers) are still
selling the worms, but have limited the quantity each customer can have. BCT is very happy to put
carers who have surplus mealworms in touch with those who don’t have enough. If you can offer
mealworms or are in need of them, please e-mail batcare@bats.org.uk with full details and we will
do our best to help.
7. International Bat Night.
This annual celebration of bats will be taking place over the weekend of 24-25 August. More details
are on the BCT website at: https://bit.ly/2XVHfR7 If you are organising a bat walk, talk or other
event to celebrate the event please do email comms@bats.org.uk with details of your event.
If you wish to announce your event with a EUROBATS poster, please send EUROBATS your order and
they will ship the posters at the end of July/beginning of August. The posters and the delivery are
free of charge https://bit.ly/2ZAelqY
8. Bat Research Papers, Reports & Other Batty Media.
Please note we normally only include bat related articles, reports and blogs in this section where
they are available to read online or to download without charge.

  • Glow-in-the-dark vampire bats could help curtail rabies. American Scientist Streicker and other researchers have found culling reduces bat bite on humans and livestock but is inadequate for rabies prevention. https://bit.ly/31FpYxT
  • Thousands of flying foxes killed in Cairns’ heatwave. Thousands of flying foxes that died in the Far North’s heatwave have been highlighted in a documentary by Sir David Attenborough as being a symptom of climate change (8 minutes and 17 seconds in). https://bbc.in/2UGbLRk
  • Bat Pass Duration Measurement. An Indirect Measure of Distance of Detection.  https://bit.ly/2WOcXyl
  • Maternal mouth-to-mouth feeding behaviour in flower-visiting bats.  https://bit.ly/2IZWemT
  • Spending two hours a week in nature is linked to better health and well-being. Going out doing ’batty things’ is not only great fun, it’s good for you. The idea that spending recreational time in natural settings is good for our health and wellbeing is hardly new. Parents have been telling their kids to “go play outside, it’s good for you” for generations. https://bit.ly/2x78TPc
  • Bat overpasses. A potential solution to restore habitat connectivity across roads. https://bit.ly/2ZI4sGQ
  • Journal of Bat Research & Conservation. Is an annual peer-review scientific journal,  managed and distributed by SECEMU, that provides a platform to publish studies on bats covering all possible perspectives and author interests. Sign-up for the free Newsletter.  https://bit.ly/2J1hUiu
  • Farmers and conservationists on the same page about a brighter farming future.  https://bit.ly/2Xhmwet

9. Key Dates for Your Diary.
Watch this space for dates and reminders of conferences, BCT training and other events you may be
interested in. Please don’t forget you can get some extra publicity for your events by getting the
details added to the BCT website, see online for more information.

BCT Events.

  • 06 September 2019 – Conservation & Technology Conference. University of Nottingham. For more information or to book your place: https://bit.ly/2UaTLT
  • 06-08 September 2019 – National Bat Conference. University of Nottingham. For more information or to book your place see the BCT website at: https://bit.ly/2DFW2I9
  • 09 November 2019 – Scottish Bat Workers Conference. Battleby. For more information:  https://bit.ly/2vjCS5H

BCT Training.

  • 21-23 August – Advanced Bat Survey Techniques. Swanage, Dorset. Over three days and two nights, attendees will be given theoretical and practical experiences of acoustic lures, harp traps, mist nets (including triple-high) and radio tracking. Places are limited so book now to avoid disappointment. For more information: https://bit.ly/2MgOWjE
  • 25 September – Thermal-Aided Bat Surveys. Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve, near Coventry.  This one-day course is designed for those with bat survey experience who would like to add thermal imaging techniques to aid them in their bat survey work. This is a classroom-based course with an optional practical element led by Dr Kayleigh Fawcett-Williams: https://bit.ly/2X1K7dU
  • 15 October – Surveying trees for bats. Nature Discovery Centre, Thatcham, Berks. This one day course builds on participants’ existing knowledge and provides an understanding of trees and the techniques needed to survey them effectively. The course combines theoretical classroom sessions with a practical exercise outside: https://bit.ly/2ZIIyTP26
  • 26 October – QGIS for Bat Groups. NSBRC, Swindon. This one-day hands-on workshop will provide an introduction to what the QGIS software can offer and how to use it. For more information: https://bit.ly/2YIGKtz
  • 13 November – Bearing Witness for Wildlife. Rugeley, Staffordshire. This one day course is for anyone wanting to improve their skills in recognising and reporting wildlife crime or when acting as a witness. For more information: https://bit.ly/2EtgnjK

For more information about training events please see the BCT website: https://bit.ly/2WvkTIx

Other Events.
  • 28 July – 01 August 2019 – 18th International Bat Research Conference. The Slate, Phuket, Thailand. For more information see the event website: https://www.ibrc2019.com/. There are travel grants available for this conference, a BCI grant aimed specifically for developing countries but also an open grant for anyone who meets the criteria – (see the IBRC 2019 website for more details): https://bit.ly/2XHLTle
  • 09-11 August – The London Wildlife Festival: For more details: https://bit.ly/2FrkRXN
  • 24 August – International Bat Night 2019: To register your event and order your free Poster to publicise your event, please visit: https://bit.ly/2ZAelqY
  • 31 August – 05 September 2019 – XXVII International Bioacoustics Congress. University of Sussex, Brighton. For more information: http://www.2019.ibac.info/
  • 12-13 November 2019 – Communicate. Bristol Zoo. The UK’s conference for environmental communicators. For more information: https://bit.ly/2PyJfeQ

Save the Date.

Back issues of the bulletin (a rolling 12-months) are available on the BCT website at https://bit.ly/2GGoYRK and following requests from bat groups we are now adding the latest bulletin on the day it is circulated to bat groups.

Best wishes,

Colin.

Colin Morris
Bat Groups Officer
Bat Conservation Trust, Quadrant House, 250 Kennington Lane, London SE11 5RD
Direct line: 020 7820 7193
National Bat Helpline: 0345 1300 228 (hours of service are 09.30 to 16.30, Monday to Friday)
There are dedicated Bat Group pages on the BCT website at:  https://www.bats.org.uk/resources/resources-for-bat-groups
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Can you help us with the Bats in Churches Study?

Lisa Worledge
Thu, 27 Jun, 17:51 (9 days ago)

Dear all,

We were in touch with you last month about the start of the five year Bats in Churches Project and provided information about the churches involved that are in you bat group’s area.   https://batsinchurches.bats.org.uk/

Thank you for your fantastic responses.

In that email we mentioned an upcoming citizen science survey, which will enable us to get really useful, national data on how bats use churches and the perspectives of those caring for these historic buildings. We are glad to say that the Bats in Churches Study is now live on the website and we hope that many of you will take part. We do have a maximum number of equipment kits to loan out for the survey, so please join soon and select a church to survey to avoid disappointment!

You can find out more (and hopefully join the survey) here. https://www.bats.org.uk/our-work/national-bat-monitoring-programme/surveys/bats-in-churches-study

This National Bats in Churches Study aims to survey a random stratified sample of 1000 churches in England over four years. We’d really appreciate your bat group’s help in surveying churches this July as part of the study, and over the following three summer seasons (June and July). Before you join the survey you can see a map of the local the churches near you.

When you select a church you’ll undertake a one-off survey, which will take approximately 2-3 hours to complete. You’ll talk to church representatives, look for evidence of bats in churches, take dropping samples for DNA analysis and put out a static bat detector for a couple of nights.

As this is the first year of the survey we would particularly welcome your feedback and suggestions.

If you need help with the survey, or have any questions about the survey or the Bats in Churches project, please get in touch with Claire Boothby at churches@bats.org.uk.

Kind regards,

Lisa Worledge

Head of Conservation Services
Bat Conservation Trust, Quadrant House, 250 Kennington Lane, London SE11 5RD
Direct line: 020 7820 7176

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From: NBMP Team <nbmp@bats.org.uk>
Sent: Friday, June 28, 2019 1:47:54 PM
To: andy@nettlebridge.com
Subject: This year’s Field Survey is about to begin!

The National Bat Monitoring Programme.

It’s time for this year’s Field Survey!
July is nearly upon us, so please make sure you’re prepared and have everything you need for the Field Survey. If you haven’t downloaded your resource pack yet, it’s quick and easy to do – you can click the button below or download them from your account here.

Download Resource Pack
The survey periods are:

Period 1 – between 1st and 15th July
Period 2 – between 16th and 30th July

Please don’t hesitate to contact us at nbmp@bats.org.uk if you have any questions or if you’d prefer to receive a pre-printed survey pack by post.

Thank you very much for your help and we hope you enjoy your surveys!

NBMP Team
Bat Conservation Trust
Email: nbmp@bats.org.uk
Phone: 020 7820 7166

————————————————————-
From: National Bat Monitoring Programme Team <nbmp@bats.org.uk>
Sent: Friday, June 21, 2019 5:42:25 PM
Subject: Bat Monitoring Post – June 2019

Welcome to the June edition of the Bat Monitoring Post!

Over the past couple of weeks many parts of the country have endured thunderstorms and torrential rain which can only mean one thing – the Great British Summer is here! We hope all your bat surveys go well this year, whether you are already busy with the Roost Count and Sunset/Sunrise Survey, or are preparing to take part in the Field Survey or Waterway Survey. If you’re not signed up to take part in specific surveys yet, it’s not too late to do so! You can find out more about the different surveys on our website and volunteer for them on your online account. If you need any advice on taking part then please do contact us at nbmp@bats.org.uk.

Contents

  1. NBMP Annual Report
  2. Bat Tales
  3. Roost Count
  4. Preparing for the Field Survey
  5. Available Survey Sites
  6. Sunset/Sunrise Survey
  7. Regional Spotlight
  8. Winner of the Kate Barlow Award 2019
  9. Impact of Hedgerow Management on Bats
  10. The Vincent Weir Scientific Award for Bat Research
  11. More Dates for your Diary

1. NBMP Annual Report
The NBMP Annual Report has now been published, covering the latest bat species population trends up to 2018. This wouldn’t be possible without all of your amazing efforts, so we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who contributes data to the NBMP!
To read the full report click here. https://www.bats.org.uk/our-work/national-bat-monitoring-programme/reports/nbmp-annual-report

2. Bat Tales
Bat Tales is our new regular feature! At the BCT head offices we often recite tales of our bat surveys, whether it’s a memorable moment, a funny incident or interesting observations about our local bats. We thought it would be great to hear some of your own stories. Over the coming months we will be asking questions on the NBMP Facebook Group and publishing a selection of the best answers. Look out for our next question in a few weeks’ time.

“What’s the most memorable reaction you’ve had from passers by when you’re doing a bat survey?”

“Whilst doing a dusk survey at a church, a guy kept walking back and forth, he eventually asked a colleague what was going on and had he seen the ghost….me……not everyday you spot a ghost sat in a camping chair in a grave yard.”

“One time a small group of us were doing a walked transect all carrying bat detectors. A bunch of teenagers were approaching and we wondered how they would react. As they walked past they shouted “Ghostbusters!!”

“The police stopped one evening as I was sat by a roadside surveying, and said they were shocked to see the mannequin moving…they were informed that we were “Dummies” put out by the contractors to add to security!”

“I was sitting using my single red LED to see to write on the survey sheet. A jovial passer by asked what I was doing so I told him I was “(insert town name)’s smallest and most unsuccessful red light district.”

“I knew someone was rough sleeping at the far end of the churchyard. I had the darkest survey spot. I saw someone coming across the grass and I moved towards the dark area so I wouldn’t be seen. He shouted “Don’t worry Miss. I’m Nigel, I sleep down here, and I’ll look out for you till you’re all finished.” Apparently the vicar had warned him so he wouldn’t be frightened of us.”

3. Roost Count 
Thank you to everyone who has taken part in the Roost Count so far this year, we hope it has been a successful year for you all and that you’ve managed to get your counts in despite the terrible weather some areas of the country have faced!

The survey is still ongoing and you should aim to carry out your second survey anytime from now until 25th June (for all species other than horseshoe bats) – however counts made up to 29th June can be used for species population trends. Equally the lesser horseshoe core survey period continues until 27th June, but counts up to 1st July can be used for the trends.

If there are any more roosts out there currently going uncounted, or not included as part of the NBMP, then we’re always keen to hear about them. Simply add them to the Roost Count section of your online account or contact us at nbmp@bats.org.uk we can make sure they’re included.

4. Preparing for the Field Survey
If you take part in the Field Survey then you should have received your survey packs by now, either in the form of an email linking to the online resources or a printed pack in the post. If you are expecting a Field Survey pack and haven’t yet received one then please contact us at nbmp@bats.org.uk. The online versions of the survey materials can be found on your online account.

The survey periods are:

  • First Survey Period – Between 1st and 15th July
  • Second Survey Period – Between 16th and 30th July

Please remember that low or zero counts are just as important as high counts, so please do take part and send in your results no matter how many bats are present at the site you survey.

To brush up on your species ID skills have a go at our species ID quiz.

5. Available Field Survey and Waterway Survey Sites
We have several sites in need of repeat visits which are listed here for the Field Survey and here for the Waterway Survey (lists can be found at the bottom of the page). Please contact us at nbmp@bats.org.uk if you would like to survey any of these sites and we can sign you up. You can download the survey materials from your online account or, if you prefer, we can send you a survey pack in the post closer to the survey period.

If you would like to take part, but there are no suitable sites near you, then let us know and we can send you a list of new sites to choose from.

The Field Survey and Waterway Survey are supported by the generous sponsorship of Wildlife Acoustics.

6. Sunset/Sunrise Survey
The Sunset/Sunrise Survey runs until the end of September. This is a great opportunity to get involved with bat surveying and discover wildlife in your local area. You don’t need any previous experience or special skills to take part, just a healthy dose of enthusiasm! Invite your friends or family and spend an hour looking out for bats in your chosen location, whether it be your garden or a local green space.

If you’re interested, download the Sunset/Sunrise Survey form and instructions from our website and send us your results when you’re done. If you’re lucky enough to find a bat roost, you could then go a step further by taking part in the Roost Count in June, helping us learn even more about bats!

7. Regional Spotlight: South West
In each edition of the Bat Monitoring Post we look at interesting facts and figures from each region and country in the UK. Here we take another look at the South West.

Click here to read the full summary.   https://gallery.mailchimp.com/74f9f582daeaaab236cc1ebf0/files/ced5a67a-08f2-4ced-a35c-6122c5561de7/Regional_focus_South_West.pdf

8. Winner of the Kate Barlow Award 2019

The Kate Barlow Award honours the late Dr. Kate Barlow’s contribution to bat conservation. The award aims to encourage postgraduate students to conduct a substantive bat research project.

We are very pleased to announce that the third winner of the Kate Barlow Award is Benneth Obitte.
Benneth is using an innovative socio-ecological approach to evaluate the drivers of bat hunting and meat consumption in southern Nigerian localities where intense hunting is reported, particularly of the Egyptian fruit bat (Rousettus aegyptiacus). This species of fruit bat roosts in large numbers within caves and is an easy target for hunters and thus more vulnerable than other bat species. The research will help to shape conservation plans, implement effective conservation education and outreach programs as well as engaging other stakeholders on the importance of cave roost protection.

You can read more about Benneth’s award here and you can find out more about Benneth’s work here.   https://kingstonlab.org/people/benneth-obitte/

 
9. Impact of hedgerow management on bats
Fascinating new research, led by Jeremy Froidevaux, which investigates the effect of hedgerow management on bat activity and diversity has recently been published.

The study, which took place in the south-west of England, measured hedgerow characteristics, insect abundance and bat activity levels at 20 pastoral and mixed farms. The results show that the greater horseshoe bat as well as other non targeted species including the lesser horseshoe and long-eared bats all benefit from a delayed trimming regime. The abundance of insect prey was also enhanced suggesting that untrimmed hedgerows may harbour more prey. Untrimmed hedgerows also had a more prominent and complex structure than those trimmed yearly, meaning they could be better landmarks for commuting and foraging bats.

A summary of the study can be found here  https://www.bats.org.uk/news/2019/05/impact-of-hedgerow-management-on-bats   and you can access the full paper here.  https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1365-2664.13412

The Vincent Weir Scientific Award for Bat Research
It’s that time of year again – the Vincent Weir Scientific Award for bat research is now open and taking nominations.

The award aims to reward and encourage research on the conservation biology of bats by new researchers, and to recognise the late Hon. Vincent Weir’s major contributions to bat conservation over many years. Details of the award can be found on the BCT website here.

You can nominate a candidate for the award by contacting Jessica Taylor (jtaylor@bats.org.uk) with a 300 word justification of your nomination and supplying pdfs of the publications for which they are nominated – but be quick, the deadline for nominations is Friday 28th June.

More Dates for your Diary

Events:

  • 6 September 2019 – Conservation and Technology Conference. Venue – University of Nottingham, Nottinghamshire. For more details or to book your place click here.
  • 6-8 September 2019 – National Bat Conference. Venue – University of Nottingham, Nottinghamshire. For more details or to book your place click here.
  • 9 November 2019 – Scottish Bat Worker’s Conference *SAVE THE DATE*. For more information click here or email Liz Ferrell at eferrell@bats.org.uk.
  • 29 February 2020 –  National Bat Care Conference *SAVE THE DATE*. For more information click here or email Naomi Webster at nwebster@bats.org.uk.

Training Courses:

  • Multiple dates – NBMP bat detector workshops. Nationwide. These are designed to train new or inexperienced volunteers to use bat detectors and complete NBMP surveys. Click here for more info.
  • 21-23 August 2019 – Advanced Bat Survey Techniques. Over three days and two nights, attendees will be given theoretical and practical experiences of acoustic lures, harp traps, mist nets and radio tracking. Click here for more info.
  • 15 October 2019 – Surveying trees for bats. This one day course builds on participants’ existing knowledge and provides an understanding of trees and the techniques needed to survey them effectively. Click here for more info.
  • 13 November 2019 – Bearing Witness for Wildlife Training. This one day course is for anyone wanting to improve their skills in recognising and reporting wildlife crime or when acting as a witness. Click here for more info.

The Bat Monitoring Post Archive

Click here to access past issues of the Bat Monitoring Post and to look at reviews of Bat Detectors from previous editions.  https://www.bats.org.uk/our-work/national-bat-monitoring-programme/reports/e-bulletin-archive

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