URGENT! Please write to your MP to save bats & Lots of bat events – 1Sept22

In this message we have:

  1. An urgent request from the BCT. Write to your MP now to save bats!
  2. Updates for our new community project the Big Bat Count.
  3. Lots of upcoming events, big bat counts and bat box checks.
  4. Can you help us with … requests for youth bat walks?
  5. Final news from the Bats in Churches project
  6. The latest Bat Group Bulletin includes news of another EBLV-1 case in Dorset

1/ Urgent Call for Help – the Laws Protecting Bats are Under Threat Again

The BCT has sent the request below in the bulletin, and we urge everyone who cares about bats to write to their MP now.

“The government is considering undermining one of the few conservation successes it has been involved with to date, as it looks at repealing or weakening legislation protecting bats and other wildlife, namely the Habitats Regulations. We need your help to make sure that the new prime minister and the government understand why removing the protection of the Habitats Regulation would be disastrous for bats and other wildlife. Please contact your MP, by either asking for a face-to-face meeting, phoning them, emailing, or writing to them. We have created a template letter/email which you can use.”

You can look up your MP here. Our Somerset MPs are:

Please let BCT know if you have contacted your MP by emailing them: comms@bats.org.uk


Our new community engagement event, the Big Bat Count has launched and is proving to be a great success. Each count held so far wants to repeat it as a bigger event, and it seems one or two keen people from each count join the bat group.

We have run three events so far:

  • 13th August Castle Cary – Five teams, 11 people in total and 80 bat records added to iNaturalist. Plus a new Serotine roost was found.
  • 26th August Taunton – The public launch event was our part of the Great Somerset Wildlife Count. Around 50 people attended. Eight groups surveyed areas of Tauton, while Adel and Bindi lead a guided survey in Longrun Meadow. 216 bat flight records were added on the night.
  • 30th August – Kingsdon – A very enthusiastic group with over 20 people in 8 survey teams who recorded 128 bat flight records.

You can find more details and photos about these events on our website.

The results are all in the iNaturalist database for all to see, and the final map is proving to be very popular at the close of each event:

We must stress that this is a community engagement project. The flight records in iNaturalist recorded on the night are “casual”, and unverifiable. Most folks on the default settings of iNaturalist will not see them, and they will never get anywhere near a records centre.

However, as the Bat Group own the devices used, we also have all the recordings. So you can see we have trial uploaded some verifiable records (NeedsID) with spectrograms and wav files. If these are verified by 2 people then they turn into “Research grade” records and will get exported to iRecord, and eventually the record centres.

We are currently working with the Somerset Environmental Records Centre (SERC) and Biological Records Centre (BRC) on the best way to upload verified bat flight records to their databases via iNaturalist, and hope to be able to say more about this before next season.

Big Bat Count

Upcoming Big Bat Counts

  • Thurs 8th Sept – Big Bat Count – Wiveliscombe
  • Tues 13th Sept – Big Bat Count – Greyfield Woods. Joint event with Avon Bat Group

Help from bat group members would be very welcome. Contact us, if you would like to.

Want to know more about our Big Bat Count project?

If you are part of a community group or just a group of local friends, then we can put on a Big Bat Count for you in your local area:

3/ All Upcoming bat group events

The busy bat season continues with lots of events planned:

  • Thurs 8th Sept – Big Bat Count – Wiveliscombe
  • Sat 10th Sept – Shepton Mallet Bat Walk
  • Tues 13th Sept – Big Bat Count – Greyfield Woods. Joint event with Avon Bat Group
  • Sat 17th Sept – Frome Bat Walk, and bat box making workshop beforehand.
  • Sat 24th Sept – Bat Box Checks on the levels
  • Thurs 29th Sept – Bat Walk – Bishops Palace Wells
  • Sun 9th Oct (TBC) – Bat Box Checking – Harridge Woods
  • Sat in Oct (TBC) – Bat Box Check Taunton

More details of all events are on our website: https://somersetbat.group/events/upcoming/

Help from bat group members would be very welcome at all these events,  contact us, if you would like to help out.

4/ Can you help us with …?

This month we have had a couple of requests for Bat walks from youth groups. If anyone fancies helping us out with these then get in contact and we will pass on the details:

  • Central Taunton Scouts
  • Bridgwater brownies and guides (and adults)

5/ Bats in Churches

We received a final update from this project:

After four summer seasons, we’ve now reached the end of the National Bats in Churches Study and Church Bat Detectives.

We’ve finished on a high, as this season has been by far the busiest and I am very happy to announce that we’ve had records submitted from 646 churches across England – thank you! We’ve recorded evidence of bats in just over half of these church interiors.

While I will miss the surveys, the exciting task of collating and analysing the data awaits and I look forward to sharing the findings with you in 2023.

Claire Boothby, Training and Survey Officer, Bats in Churches Project

6/ Bat Group Bulletin

The latest edition includes news about yet another new EBLV-1 case in Dorset.