In this message we have:
- We are back to doing regular bat box checks. Come along to possibly see some bats!
- Reports on recent events, bat walks and box checks
- Final update this year on our new community project the Big Bat Count.
- A request from the BCT for feedback on their new strategy
- The latest Bat Group Bulletin includes the update on breathable roofing membranes and a survey request from the IUCN on Field hygiene best practices for fieldwork with bats.
1/ Bat Box checks – Upcoming EVENTS
It seems like a long time since we were last able to check most of the Somerset bat boxes, and possibly see some bats!
- Sat 1st Oct – Taunton Parks
- Harridge Woods – postponed until spring23
- Sat 15th Oct – Great Breach Woods and Ham Wall
While we still have to be aware of the risk of spreading Covid-19 to bats, and take the sensible precautions promoted by the IUCN, now that the community Covid-19 rate has declined we have moved down to Green protection measures.
2/ Recent SBG events
It’s been a busy few weeks for the bat group. Both Dave and Adel have been leading walks, and we have done our first bat box checks.
On 10th Sept, Adel led a group of around 25 on a bat walk in Collet Park, for the Shepton Mallet Walking festival. An early noctule gave a great pre-sunset display, then many pips and a serotine made a wall of bat noise by the boating lake.
Another successful bat walk was led for Frome FROGS, and this was preceded by a bat box building workshop funded by Frome town council. Soprano pipistrelle and serotines put on a great display, circling over people’s heads for many minutes.
This Thursday Dave lead a walk for The Bishops Palace in Wells.
Last weekend (24th) we had a great turnout for the bat box checks on the levels. We started at Canada farm with soprano pipistrelles, then onto Ham Wall, and finishing at Cattcott with “loads” of Natterer’s in one box.
3/ Somerset Big Bat Counts
Our new community bat mapping project the Big Bat Count, has been a huge success. Around 120 people took part across 5 big bat counts this autumn, adding about 650 bat flight records to iNaturalist (including 75 in BANES).
We are already taking bookings for next year. So if you are part of, or know of a community group, that you think would like to find out about their local bats, then please ask them to get in touch (email@example.com), and send them the link below:
Weds 14TH SEPT 2022 – GREYFIELD WOODS
A great turnout of over 20 from the High Littleton and Hallatrow Environmental Group, saw three groups log 75 bat records. Our first foray outside Somerset, this was a joint Big Bat Count with Avon Bat Group, and we were pleased the welcome their ex. chair Dave back to the bat world!
Noctules were seen straight after sunset, with common and soprano pipistrelle also frequent. Daubenton’s were also seen near the Cam Brooke.
TUes 20th Sept 2022 – Wiveliscombe
After several postponements due to rain, we finally got a dry night. Seventeen people in 7 teams recorded 106 bats.
- a new common pipistrelle roost was found
- and a rescued brown long-eared bat released itself!
Common pipistrelle was by far the most abundant, but also recorded were soprano pipistrelles, serotine, myotis (species) and one faint lesser horseshoe recorded by the old brewery.
BCT requests strategy feedback
The group received the request below for feedback from BCT on their new strategy. This time you can reply as an interested individual member of a group, and we can also send a group response.
Hence please feel free to reply individually, and/or send us your comments and we will collate on behalf of the group – firstname.lastname@example.org
“Dear Partner Bat Group Member,
We are in the process of developing a new strategy for BCT (this has been a little delayed due to COVID). The strategy will shape the direction of the work we do over the next few years. As part of this process, we are asking for feedback from a wide range of stakeholders, and of course a key stakeholder group for us is our partner bat groups and their members. We would therefore very much value your input.
Some of you may have been partner bat group members when we developed our last strategy, but we are changing the process in two key ways:
- Last time we did a bat group consultation towards the end of the process, once we had already launched a draft of the strategy. This time we are taking a different approach, and asking for your feedback at a much earlier stage so we can take it into account in the development of the strategy.
- Following feedback from groups last time we are also changing the way that we do the survey. Last time we asked for one reply per group: this proved challenging for many groups as they were not able to get feedback from members, and/or there wasn’t consensus on the answers. Therefore, we will be providing a tick box so you can state whether you are representing the views of the group as a whole, or whether you are replying as an interested individual member of a group. We welcome both.
We have developed a short online survey for partner bat groups or members of partner bat groups to complete. We have attached a PDF of the questions for your reference but please respond via the SurveyMonkey link below by 14th October.
We look forward to hearing from many of you via the SurveyMonkey form. If you are not able to access the survey online or if you have any questions about the process, please contact me at email@example.com
Thank you very much in advance for your help in developing our strategy.
Kit Stoner (she/her), Chief Executive, Bat Conservation Trust”