In this email we have:
- Renew your SBG membership now!
- Early news of our exciting new community engagement project launching in Taunton – The Big Bat Count
- A report on recent bat box checks in Taunton
- An update on recent SBG bat walks
- News and Somerset results from the Bats in Churches project
- Nominations are open for the Pete Guest award
- Details of the Bat Workers Forum and National Bat Conference 2022
- The latest bat group bulletin, includes news about a new EBLV-1 serotine in Dorset
Renew your Membership now!
Please renew your SBG membership now, if you last paid or renewed in 2020 or 2021. It costs just £5 per household to stay a member of SBG, and is free for students or unwaged.
Full details are on this page of our website: https://somersetbat.group/join/
- Please complete the membership form
- Then transfer £5 to our account via bank transfer
- ACCOUNT NAME : Somerset Bat Group
- SORT CODE: 30 98 97
- ACCT NO: 85186668
The Big Bat Count
As part of the Great Somerset Wildlife Count, the bat group is planning to help people to count the bats of their local area with a community mapping project.
The launch event is planned for central Taunton on 26th August 2022, and lots of help from bat group members would be very welcome. More details on our website.
The Somerset Bat Group is grateful to the Somerset Environmental Records Centre (SERC) for funding ten new Echo Meter Touch2 Mics and tablets, to be used in the Counts, and for help with mapping.
Batty Box Check at Comeytrowe and Longrun Meadow, Taunton
Cath Shellswell writes:
“In 2018, Somerset Wildlife Trust and Somerset Bat Group were fortunate to find some funding to install 20 bat boxes in two of Taunton’s parks. Ten boxes were placed in Comeytrowe and another 10 in Longrun Meadow. The boxes were checked in 2019, and a male Soprano Pipistrelle was found in one of the boxes at Longrun Meadow. Due to the pandemic, the boxes haven’t been checked since, and we were eager to find out if they had been used, and what was using them!
On 21st May, a small group of people helped to check the boxes. This involves carting a ladder to the boxes and climbing up. As bats are protected, they require delicate handling (if they are being handled at all), and so a licensed bat surveyor was doing the checks. Also, as the incidence of covid was still high, meaning that the UK is still on the IUCN’s amber alert status, any bats were not going to be handled and all the checkers looking into boxes wore masks and gloves. This prevents any incidence of passing covid onto the wild bat population.
8 of the 10 boxes were checked at Comeytrowe – the 1 box left unchecked had a hornet sitting at the bottom of the box and so was left alone and a box that had fallen down in 2020 was replaced on a tree! Most of the boxes had old birds next, which were thankfully empty meaning that any chicks would have fledged. The empty nests were removed to enable bats to start to use the boxes later in the summer. There was also a large quantity of slugs, which was a surprise that they had taken to tree-dwelling!
9 of the 10 boxes at Longrun Meadow were checked – a box had also fallen down during 2020 and was re-erected on a tree so that the number of boxes is back up to 10. All of the boxes had bird nests, some a tower of nests built into the woodcrete boxes! Fortunately, it appears that all of the birds had fledged successfully. The empty nests were removed so that bats can enjoy the boxes later in the year.
So, no bats on this occasion, and the next check will be end of September / beginning of October.”
Recent SBG bat walks
Just a brief update on two very successful bat walks held recently:
- Dave and Nigel lead a walk for 20 people from Farrington Ladies Organising Rewilding Activities (FLORA) at the Golf club. FLORA is planning the put up Kent bat boxes here, and Nigel has offered to help them with the monitoring. Thank you!
- Dave also led a very successful walk for 12 RSPB members at Ham Wall. After a slow start, it turned into a bat fest, with up to 4 species at once on a EMT screen. The two Pips were both abundant, but Noctule and Serotine were also heard, along with Daubenton’s. Auto ID had a “field day” picking up Nathusius’s pip (possible but not verifiable) and other Myotis including a couple of very unlikely Alcathoe.
National Bats in Churches Study
The group received the following update from this project:
“I wanted to get in contact with you about the Bats in Churches citizen science research. This summer marks the final season of our study, and we hope to make it a successful one!
Over the winter we’ve contacted churches which have been randomly selected for our priority survey (National Bats in Churches Study). In your area one of these priority churches have been in touch to say that they’d like someone to survey the church for bats over the summer.
- Thornfalcon: Holy Cross, TA3 5NP ST283239 – The Church is unlocked 24/7
Would it be possible to share this church with the group, to see if anyone is interested in surveying? Everyone can take part, no matter their experience level, and they can find out more information about the surveys via our website, including e-learning resources to develop their skills.
Churches can be selected on our website by anyone with a Bats in Churches account. If anyone would be happy to commit to surveying a church, please email Giada at email@example.com and she will put you in touch with the relevant church representative. Please also let us know whether you’d agree to us sharing your email address with the church contact in an introductory email. The project would be happy to provide travel expenses to survey these churches.
Church Bat Detectives
If anyone in the group would like to take part but can’t see a church on this list that is close enough, there are other churches to select for another of our projects: the Church Bat Detectives survey. To see these churches please register online and go to My Churches. Please note that these churches have not been contacted in advance of the survey season, but we will provide template letters/emails to help you contact the church.
I am pleased that we are able to share the records from our surveys in Bath & Wells diocese between 2019-2021 for your information.
You can also find summary information of the study here, including a link to our methodology.
We also thought you may also be interested in free engagement resources created by the project including a challenge badge for use with schools and uniform groups available via our website.
Thank you so much for continued support of the project.
Best wishes, Claire,
Claire Boothby, Training and Survey Officer, Bats in Churches Project
To sign up, log in or provide records for the Bats in Churches Study visit: batsinchurches.bats.org.uk “
Pete Guest award 2022
The group received the following update from the BCT:
“We are delighted to let you know that we are now accepting nominations for the Pete Guest Award 2022.
The Pete Guest award is presented annually to individuals who have made an outstanding practical contribution 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. Details of the award are on the BCT website at: https://www.bats.org.uk/our-work/awards/pete-guest-award
The criteria for the award include dedication, innovation, enthusiasm and inspiration in making a difference, both to bats and to people, and helping make BCT’s vision become a reality. Previous winners can be seen on the webpage above.
Nominating someone for the 2022 award
If you would like to nominate a fellow bat worker for the 2022 award, please email their name, bat group or organisation and importantly a statement of support (see note below) to Abby Packham at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also include your name and bat group in the email.
Please note: Nominations cannot be accepted without a statement of at least 250 words on why you think the person deserves the award (relating back to the criteria stated above). Last year’s statements of support can be seen here as examples: https://bit.ly/3kdtURW.
Deadline for nominations: By 9am on Monday 27th June 2022.
Voting for a winner
A list of nominees and supporting statements will be circulated to all bat groups and posted on the BCT website by 5th July 2022. Voting will be done through an online form and is limited to one vote per person. Voting will close at 9am on Tuesday 30th August 2022.
Announcement of Winner
The award winner will be formally announced at the Bat Workers Forum on 13th September 2022.”
Bat Workers Forum and National Bat Conference 2022
The Bat Workers Forum and National Bat Conference will be held separately again this year. The Forum will take place on zoom, the Conference will be a hybrid event for the first time, with attendees welcome both in-person and online. Neither event is available to book just yet, but you can find further details at:
- Bat Workers Forum – evening of Tuesday 13th September 2022 (online)
https://www.bats.org.uk/our-work/conferences-symposia/national-bat-conference/annual-bat-workers-forum (including the minutes from previous forums, example agenda and terms of reference).
- National Bat Conference – 23rd – 25th September 2022 (hybrid)
Bat Group Bulletin
A link to the latest bat group bulletin includes news about a new EBLV-1 serotine in Dorset: