SBG newsletter late May 2020

We hope all members are keeping well and looking forward to hopefully some Bat group activities later in the year.

SomerBat @Home

In the meantime just a reminder that we can all take part in our own bat surveys at home and share your results in our Facebook group.

Latest Bat Group Bulletin from the BCT

The latest Bulletin contains a update on the relaxation of covid-19 restrictions and volunteer bat work.

National Bat Monitoring Program (NBMP) update

The BCT have sent out the following update:

NBMP Annual Report

We are pleased to let you know that the latest NBMP Annual Report is now available, presenting species population trends based on data up to summer 2019. Thank you to everyone who has submitted data to the NBMP. We wouldn’t be able to track how our bat species are faring without all your amazing survey efforts.  The report is available here.

Online bat detector workshops

While our usual programme of workshops is suspended we are running several online workshops over the coming weeks. Bookings are now open for two of our introductory bat detector workshops which we are running using the Zoom app. As these don’t include the usual practical field session we have halved the usual fees for attendees, meaning that NBMP volunteers can attend for the bargain price of £3! Full details and online booking forms can be found on our website.

COVID-19 update

Many of you will be eagerly awaiting updated guidance on taking part in NBMP surveys beyond your own home this year, particularly those of you who take part in the Roost Count which begins very shortly.  Apologies that this is taking a while but we are currently updating our advice in consultation with our government agency partners in each country. We’re aiming to publish the updated advice online next week and will let you know when this is available.

Road Verge Campaign

Finally a request from Plantlife to help bats by supporting their campaign to increase roadside wildflowers.

“Over 700 species of wild flower grow on the UK’s road verges – nearly 45% of our total flora. And where wild flowers lead, wildlife follows… a multitude of bats, butterflies, birds and bugs.

However, our road verges are under considerable pressure. Priorities for safety and access, alongside budget constraints, a desire for ‘neatness’ and difficulties with the collection of litter and grass clippings all mean that enhancing their wildlife value is often low on the list.

Our management guidelines can be summed up as ‘cut less, cut later’ and their adoption by councils and other highways authorities will significantly improve the health of our verges. We want flowers to be allowed to flower so pollinators can work their magic and seeds can ripen and fall to the ground. In this way, the floral display will become better and better every year.

Plantlife started this campaign in 2013 in response to protests from the public horrified by wild flowers being mown down. A few roadside nature reserves is not enough. We want to transform the entire network. There are nearly 500,000 kilometres of rural road verge in the UK. This is equal to half of our remaining flower-rich grasslands and meadows: their potential is enormous. With support from our partners and the public, we believe this will happen.”

Lend your voice to the campaign – sign the petition to councils here.

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