Author Archives: somersetbatgroup
Hi fellow nocturnal people!
It is the batty time of year, with lots of bats out, and activities going on.
The group has successfully checked the Bat Boxes in Taunton and on the Avalon Marshes, with young Natterers pups again been found in a Box on Catcott. Photos here: – https://somersetbat.group/2019/05/26/cattcot-may19/. Adel also led another great Bat walk at Darshill, Shepton, with many locals and Lesser Horseshoe and Serotines putting on a good show.
In this newsletter we have lots of information (copied belo)w from the BCT:
- A exciting opportunity for us in the SW to take part in the second pilot of the brand new British Bat Survey. With only 40 places available throughout the SW, let’s get our requests in early and make sure Somerset is well represented!
- The latest Bat Group Bulletin, with lots of survey information
- A update on the National Bat Monitoring Program
If interested in the technology behind the British Bat Survey, you might like to know that the Audiomoth recorder which is being used is now available to buy (for another 25 days) in another round of collective buying. The device has limitations currently, but shows promise, and best of all is only $65 USD delivered
Our next newsletter will have more details of the Field Surveys that start in July, until then good batting!
Membership Sec. Somerset Bat Group
Web link = https://somersetbat.group/bats/nbmp/bbs/
From: British Bat Survey <BritishBatSurvey@bats.org.uk>
Subject: British Bat Survey – We need you!
Dear Bat Group,
BCT are excited to announce the launch of a new citizen science survey, the British Bat Survey! https://www.bats.org.uk/our-work/national-bat-monitoring-programme/british-bat-survey
The British Bat Survey utilises the latest developments in bat detector design, automated call recognition and interactive volunteer feedback to provide an unparalleled level of detail about our resident bat species. This is already revolutionising our ability to monitor and conserve bats.
This year we will be trialling the survey in SW Britain and to make this survey a success we need your help. The method is simple, we would like you to use an AudioMoth detector to survey a single location for as many non-consecutive nights as possible between the 1st July and 11th August 2019. All you will need is a computer. BCT will provide you with an AudioMoth, will process your recordings, and at the end of the survey we will send you a list of all the bat passes and species that you have detected.
This is a great opportunity to borrow an AudioMoth for the summer, find out more about the bat species using a location near you, and help shape the development of a world leading citizen science survey.
As only 40 AudioMoths are available we would like to like to invite bat group members to take part before we open up participation to the wider public next week, so please act quickly to secure an AudioMoth.
Click here for more information and to sign up. https://www.bats.org.uk/our-work/national-bat-monitoring-programme/british-bat-survey/take-part
Any questions? Please contact us at email@example.com.
Sonia Reveley, Project Officer
Web link – https://somersetbat.group/about/bct-info/
Dear bat group member.
Welcome to the May Bat Group Bulletin.
1. Pete Guest Award – Nominations2. Kate Barlow Award Winner 20193. National Bats in Churches Survey4. VOGAB Bat Group Crowdfunding Appeal5. Alderney Bat Week 20-27th July6. URGENT NBMP Volunteers wanted for unallocated sites7. Bat walk leaders wanted by the National Trust8. The Time is NOW – Mass Lobbying event in London9. Call for Donations of Bat Research Equipment10. The Use of Netting around Potential Roosts11. Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) Checks12. BCT Training Courses. ABST. QGIS. Bearing Witness for Wildlife13. National Bat Helpline – Out of Hours Service.14. Animal Friends Insurance supporting the National Bat Helpline – Thank you!15. Bat Research Papers, Reports & Other Batty Media16. Key Dates for Your Diary
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. We announced, via an
email to bat groups last week that nominations are now being taken for the award in 2019. Full
details of how to nominate and the previous winners are on the BCT website at:
The Kate Barlow Award was established in memory of the late Dr Kate Barlow, former Head of
Monitoring with BCT, and in honour of her contribution to bat conservation. The 2019 winner of the
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). You can read more about
Benneth’s work on the BCT website at: https://bit.ly/2QzXzUP
The Bats in Churches project are organising two citizen science surveys and the first – the National
Bats in Churches Study – launches this June. We’ve randomly selected 1000 churches for this study
and aim to survey as many as possible over the next four years (2019-2022) but we need your help
to achieve it! If you join and choose a church, you’ll complete a one-off survey, comprising of a
questionnaire with church representatives and a daytime bat evidence survey. You’ll also collect
droppings for DNA analysis and place a static detector in the church for a few nights.
This year we’re starting gently, and only promoting the survey to bat groups and current NBMP
volunteers. If you’d be keen to take part this summer and be among the first to trial the survey,
lease register your interest with Claire Boothby (firstname.lastname@example.org), who’ll let you know as soon
as registration is live.
4. The Vale of Glamorgan and Bridgend Bat Group – Crowdfunding Appeal.
The VOGAB are trying to raise some much needed funds towards equipment to catch bats for their
new and exciting woodland Myotis project and Nathusius’ pipistrelle project. The more kit they can
get the more surveys they can do and the more volunteers they can take out and train on these
projects. The cost of the equipment they are looking to raise is £1800. They are already over a third
of the way there, thanks to some very generous donations from their members as well as the
general public. Any amount you can contribute towards this goal would be much appreciated. Follow
this link to their Just Giving page with more details about the project: https://bit.ly/2VbXION
The Alderney Wildlife Trust (AWT) are delighted to host the Alderney Bat Week 20-27th July 2019,
with Annyctalus Ecology in collaboration with UK based bat researchers and training providers. The
aim of the week will be to substantially grow our knowledge of the resident bat population here on
Alderney which, thanks to Ani Binet, Mariko Whyte, Anna Sutcliffe and the Jersey Bat Group
amongst others, is rapidly expanding. Since 2016 the species list for Alderney has increased by a
further five potential species to give us the list of common soprano, Nathusius’ and potentially Kuhl’s
pipistrelle, as well as grey long-eared, Natterer’s, whiskered and possibly Brandt’s bats and a
confirmed barbastelle: https://bit.ly/2KcheJ9
6. NBMP Field Survey. Volunteers wanted for unallocated sites.
We are looking for more volunteers to help with the NBMP Field Survey. Could you use your bat
detecting skills to help us monitor summer activity of our bat populations? By taking part in this
survey you can help us find out how noctule, serotine, common pipistrelle and soprano
pipistrelle are faring across the UK. You can sign-up here: https://bit.ly/2Ibi6Lu
You will need a heterodyne (tunable) bat detector and experience of identifying the target species:
https://bit.ly/2WdwoV6 Please scroll down the web page and you’ll find a list of sites in your area
that are available to survey.
7. Bat Walk Leaders wanted by The National Trust.
The National Trust at Penrose (Cornwall) would like help with bat walks for the South West Outdoor
Festival on the 27th and 28th of September (See ‘Key Notes’ for your diary). Penrose is a fantastic
property for bats and if you would like to help then please contact Rick Payne (Cornwall Bat Group)
for more details email: email@example.com
On 26th June thousands of people are gathering at Westminster, central London, to call on
politicians to set the foundations for a brighter, greener and safer world. BCT will have a stall there
and we want to encourage as many people as possible to attend the lobby on the day. As many of
you may know, BCT is a supporter of Greener UK, and has been working with them and the Wildlife
and Countryside Link to encourage the government to strengthen the Environment Bill, and ensure
that our wildlife is protected as and when we leave the EU. The main part of the lobby on the day
will be between 1pm and 4pm, further details are available from: https://bit.ly/2TMvSgv If you
are interested in attending, please email firstname.lastname@example.org , so we can see how many people are
planning to come.
9. Call for Donations of Bat Research Equipment.
Have you got any Bat Research Equipment you no longer need/use? Discover the Mammals of
Europe https://discovermammals.org/ is an initiative of the Habitat Foundation, in partnership with
the Dutch Mammal Society and the European Mammal Society. The campaign aims at supporting
organisations and people working on research, management and conservation of the mammals and
their habitats in Europe. Increasing Research and Conservation capacities among mammal biologists
in Eastern Europe is vital for the sustainable conservation of mammal diversity there, and in Europe
as a whole. The bat research equipment you donate will be given as gifts to the mammal
conservationists and researchers in Eastern Europe, who currently lack funds to afford it.
You can send your equipment to: Wildzang 64, Huissen 6852 JR – NL. Since mailing outside the EU is
more expensive and sometimes uncertain if it will ever reach the receiver, they will discuss and find
the best ways to ensure the equipment gets to the place it’s meant to. When/if you send equipment
please let them know by email: email@example.com
There has been quite a lot of coverage on Social Media about the use of netting around potential
roost sites. At BCT we are concerned that the use of netting could have an impact on bats and other
wildlife. Although the use of netting is itself not illegal, it would be unlawful if as a result of its use,
the netting either prevented bats from entering or exiting an existing roost or injured or killed bats.
BCT’s Position Statement can be found here: https://bit.ly/2EsGh7l
Alongside the BCT Safeguarding Policy, we have produced a guidance document for Disclosure and
Barring Service (DBS) checks. In addition we would recommend bat groups reading the DBS
Eligibility ‘Handiguide’ from SAFEcic UK. If your group is undertaking a project or activities where
you meet the criteria for a DBS check please see the relevant page on the GOV.UK website for details
of how to organise one. Further details, including the guidance document, can be found on the BCT
12. BCT Training Courses. ABST. QGIS. Bearing Witness for Wildlife.
We offer a wide range of training courses for anyone interested in developing their skills and
knowledge of bats, from novice volunteers and professional ecologists to building professionals and
tree surgeons. Details of these and all our Training Events can be found at: https://bit.ly/2WvkTIx
(also in BCT TRAINING)
13. The National Bat Helpline Out of Hours Service.
The National Bat Helpline Out of Hours Service started operation on Friday 24th of May 2019. Just in
time too, since we heard about the first wild born pup recently. Between 24th May and 30th
September 2019, the Out of Hours Service will be open from 6-10 pm Monday-Friday, and from 10
am till 10 pm on weekends and bank holidays. This service is for people who have found grounded or
injured bats, or those wanting to report a bat crime that is in progress at the time of the call.
For other enquiries, please phone during normal office hours.
One of the organisations that have lent their support to the work done by the National Bat Helpline
is Animal Friends Insurance who have very generously donated £10,000 toward the bat care aspect
of the work done by the Helpline: https://bit.ly/2HAn2uc
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. For more information about how to
access journal papers (including details of a variety of relevant open access journals) see the BCT
website at: https://bit.ly/2WvkTIx
- The latest NBMP Trends published. For the full picture please follow this link:
- Managing hedgerows for nocturnal wildlife. Do bats and their insect prey benefit from
- targeted Agri‐environment schemes? https://bit.ly/2VZHQ2p If you would like a full copy
- (pdf) of this Paper please email Katherine Boughey: KBoughey@bats.org.uk
- Considering adaptive genetic variation in climate change vulnerability assessment reduces
- species range loss projections: https://bit.ly/30W6mVJ
- Genetic adaptation to climate change: https://bit.ly/2Y9H6sV
- Neonicotinoid Insecticides and Bats: An assessment of the direct and indirect risks.
- Bats evolved diverse skull shapes due to echolocation and diet: https://bit.ly/2MgI8Cv
- Signatures of echolocation and dietary ecology in the adaptive evolution of skull shape in
- bats: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-09951-y
16. 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.
- 06 September 2019 – Conservation & Technology Conference, University of Nottingham. For more information or to book your place see: 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. **SAVE THE DATE**. For more information see: https://bit.ly/2vjCS5H
- 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. Book now to avoid disappointment. More info: https://bit.ly/2MgOWjE
- 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. More info: https://bit.ly/2YIGKtz
- 13 November – Bearing Witness for Wildlife – nr 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. More info: https://bit.ly/2EtgnjK
- 28 July – 01 August 2019 – 18th International Bat Research Conference (18th IBRC), 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
- 9-11 August – The London Wildlife Festival: https://bit.ly/2FrkRXN for more details.
- 24 August – International Bat Night 2019: https://bit.ly/2ZAelqY
- 31 August – 05 September 2019 XXVII International Bioacoustics Congress, University of Sussex, Brighton. For more information see: http://www.2019.ibac.info/
- 27-28 September. South-West Outdoor Festival. The National Trust at Penrose (Cornwall): https://bit.ly/2c6wKTi
- 12–13 November 2019 – Communicate, Bristol Zoo. The UK’s conference for environmental communicators. For more information see: https://bit.ly/2PyJfeQ
“The National Bat Monitoring Programme (NBMP) survey season is up and running with the Roost Count starting earlier this week. The Roost Count is an emergence survey which requires no previous experience to take part in. If you know of a new roost which you would like to monitor you can do this by signing up to the NBMP at https://nbmp.bats.org.uk/Surveys.aspx, volunteering for the Roost Count and adding a new roost.
Volunteers who have already signed up for the Roost Count should have either received an email instructing them to download their survey materials online, or have received their survey packs in the post. You should contact BCT at firstname.lastname@example.org if this is not the case. If you would like assistance counting bats at a roost or identifying the species then let me know and I can try to arrange this.
Over the last couple of days BCT have also been sending out survey materials to volunteers signed up for the Field Survey. There is still time to sign up to this transect survey which helps monitor pipistrelle, noctule and serotine populations. You can either select a site near you to survey or have one randomly allocated to you. More information can be found at http://www.bats.org.uk/our-work/national-bat-monitoring-programme/surveys/field-survey.”
I hope this is useful – I was hoping to get this email out before the survey period started, but as I’m sure is the case with many of you, May and the start of June have been quite busy!
If you have any queries please do let me know.
NBMP Survey Co-ordinator
Bat Conservation Trust
Quadrant House, 250 Kennington Lane, London SE11 5RD
Direct Line: 020 7820 7166
We received the following invitation from the BCT today:
Dear NBMP volunteer,
We are running an introductory bat detector workshop in Weymouth, Dorset on Friday July 12th. The workshop is suitable for beginners and also those with some experience who would like a refresher.
Depending on your location, this workshop may be too far to travel for you. Please keep checking our website (https://www.bats.org.uk/our-work/national-bat-monitoring-programme/workshops) as new workshops are added on a regular basis.
For full details and a booking form please go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/nbmp-introductory-bat-detector-workshop-dorset-12th-july-2019-tickets-62139877045
NBMP volunteers will receive a £10 discount using code ‘NBMP’ when ordering a ticket. Paid up SBG members will receive a £5 discount using code ‘Concession ’
Thank you for all your hard work as a NBMP volunteer.
NBMP Survey Assistant
Great day at Westhay, Shapwick and Catcott reserves today, and it would seem we have some news … more early natterer’s pups!
Basil Stow the National Trust Area Ranger for the Holnicote estate on Exmoor, has been in touch to ask for bat group members help with an exciting bat survey this summer. In Basils own words:
The Holnicote estate has large and varied roosting and feeding opportunities for a wide range of bat species. Over the last couple of years I have started a monitoring programme, hoping to gain a better understanding of how bat species are using the estate, and how our management can be beneficial for bats and their wider habitats.
I am hoping to expand this monitoring project, and the main thing we need additional volunteers for is walking a series of transect routes, monitoring for bat activity. Along with conducting emergence counts at some of our maternity roosts.
Here is a bit more background from Basil about the main monitoring project:
“We walk transects on three or four nights of the year (June-Sep). I hope to send the dates out next week. These four nights are the main commitment, however it isn’t necessary to attend every one. On each night there are 6 transects being walked simultaneously. These are in varied locations across the estate, and aim to give us an idea about which species of bat are present and how they use the habitats. Each transect is walked by a pair, and is about 2 km long (each way), taking about an hour and a half.
We use bat detectors in connection with a recording device, allowing the results to be analysed at a later date. However I do encourage people to make notes and observations while they are about. Full training and equipment will be provided, although I imagine your members already have a good idea about Bat ecology etc.
There are also opportunities to assist with maternity roost monitoring, however we don’t need as many people for this.”
“I appreciate that we are in the far west of Somerset, and this project may not be local to many of your group. However if it is achievable for some of the group to get to us, we would love to have them. We would also be able to offer some fuel expenses to those travelling to us.”
Basil is happy for people to contact him directly by email, for more information
Dear Bat Group Members,
Hope everyone’s enjoying the warmer nights and longer evenings, our local bats certainly seem to be doing so! Lots to cover in the newsletter, so getting straight to the point:
1/ Bat Group Events
Our first events of the year are coming up, would be great to see lots of group members there:
- Bat Box checks in Taunton – Sat 18th May 2019
- Avalon Marshes Bat Box checks – Sat 25th May 2019
- Shepton Mallet Bat walk – Fri 31st May 2019
Details of how to get involved on our website: https://somersetbat.group/events/
2/ Somerset Bat Group Annual General Meeting (AGM)
Many thanks to all those that attended and contributed! We covered the usual AGM business of accounts, reports, electing Committee for 2019 and revising our constitution. But we also discussed potential plans for 2019 with potential surveys for the National Trust on Exmoor, and the Woodland Trust, perhaps on Blackdowns.
The AGM minutes can be found here: https://somersetbat.group/about/meet/
If you last paid your SBG subs in 2018, now the AGM has gone, it is time to renew your membership. You can now do this easily online: https://somersetbat.group/join/
As Cath said recently on Facebook “it’s now so much easier to join Somerset Bat group using the online form”.
The eagle eyed may have noticed we have a new shorter address for the website (the old addresses still work), and as we have upgraded, it no longer has those annoying adverts! https://somersetbat.group
5/ BCT Update
There is lots happening at the moment, so we’ll shortly be in touch again with details of the upcoming National Bat Monitoring Programs.
Membership Secretary for Somerset Bat Group
Come find about our plans for 2019, and have a say in the running of the group.
- Saturday 27th April 2019, 2 to 4:30 PM,
- Callow Rock SWT offices, Cheddar. BS27 3DQ.
- Our guest speaker is Dan Hargreaves who will be talking about the Nathusius’ Pipistrelle Project.
- 2PM Somerset Bat Group AGM 2019 – Agenda
- Apologies & members present
- Minutes of the last AGM for approval
- Matters arising from last AGM
- Chairs 2018/9 Report – Paul Kennedy
- Acting Treasurers 2018/9 Report – Adel Avery
- Secretary’s 2018/9 Report – Adel Avery
- Election of Officers & new 2019/20 Committee
- AOB and AGM 2018/9 Questions.
- Formal AGM close
- 2:40pm – Update on NBMP County performance 2018 – Pete Gulliver
- 2:45pm – Changes to BCT Bat Care Network – Pete Gulliver
- 2.50pm – 2019 SBG Program and events – Paul Kennedy
- 3pm – Tea & coffee
- 3.20pm – Nathusius’ Pipistrelle Project – Dan Hargreaves
- 3:50pm – Final Group discussion and questions for 2019
- 4pm – Meeting close
You can find details of our past AGMs here.
The groups new set of Bat Detectors arrived today. Thanks to Adel who got the group a good discount at the Bat conference this weekend!
The group now has three sets of Detectors that we can use for public bat walks, and other group uses. One set is with Adel in the north of the county, with the other set with Ed at the bottom. So this set will probably be kept in the middle, but location yet to be agreed.
The detectors are for the groups use, hence if any members would like to use them for activities then please get in touch.
For info. the group also has a Anabat and a Petterson Detector that can be used for survey work.
Well done to Wilts Bat group, a great record! Nice write up in in the Wilts Times here:
ONE of the rarest mammals in Britain has been found in Bradford on Avon.
Previously, the Alcathoe bat has only been sighted in North Yorkshire and a small area of Sussex and Surrey despite being first found in Britain in 2010.
The discovery, made outside a cave near Bradford-on-Avon, has excited local bat lovers and scientists.
Professor Fiona Mathews, Professor of Environmental Biology at the University of Sussex, said: “It’s incredibly exciting for the Alcathoe bat to have been found at this site.
“It is one of the species in most urgent need of research. We quite literally know almost nothing about it.”
Keith Cohen and Danielle Linton, of Wiltshire Bat Group, said: “This bat looked distinctly different from those we usually catch, so it was very exciting in case it could be an Alcathoe bat.
“Luckily, we also caught a Whiskered bat, which is the species it looks most like, and could compare them side by side.”
The female bat had just finished breeding and was found at a swarming site in early autumn last year by workers who thought it looked unusual and sent dropping samples to Professor Mathews to test.
She explained: “Some types of bats go to swarming sites late at night after feeding. They’re almost like nightclubs for bats.
“Tens or even hundreds of bats can turn up but behaviour is very sporadic, so any given site could have hundreds of bats one night and absolutely none the next.
“We monitor these sites carefully and catch bats using mist nets, which are like large fishing nets. The bats are then removed by specially-licensed bat workers, checked and released unharmed.
“In this instance, workers thought the bat looked a bit unusual and sent dropping samples to me at Sussex where my company, Ecotype Genetics, confirmed the identity of the species using DNA analysis.”
There are 18 species of bats in the UK, of which 17 are known to breed here.
The population size of the common pipistrelle, which is found throughout the UK, is thought to be close to two million.
But the population of Alcathoe bats is likely to be just a few thousand individuals and breeding has been confirmed in only one small area in the south-east of England.
Professor Mathews said: “The Alcathoe bat looks very similar to two other related species, the whiskered and Brandt’s bat species, so it is possible that people misidentify it. Indeed it was only separated as a distinct species in Europe in 2001.
“The areas where it has been caught so far usually have old oak woodlands nearby, which is not the case with the bat we’ve just found.
“This only serves to illustrate exactly why we need to do more research about the species to understand its needs and how we can protect it.”
I’m planning on conducting a couple of (very!) late cave checks this Tuesday 12th March, unless our ‘cave guardians’ have to cancel. Any paid-up members are welcome to come along BUT you must have been caving before, and you must have your own equipment – so decent wellies (I recommend cheapo Mole Valley 12 quid jobs, really good grip), a proper helmet (not a hard hat!) and a decent headtorch. Oh and some overalls/cave suit/waterproofs – some are a bit wet and one is an old ochre mine so you also need gloves otherwise everything you touch will end up orange.
These are proper caves so I can’t help you if you are claustrophobic. I say all this because people have turned up with no torch, some ancient Hunter wellies with no grip, and then revealed they don’t like small spaces! Having said all that, the caves aren’t really horrible, just have a few smaller bits and are really good fun. Starting 10am in Axbridge, maybe going to Priddy, Wells and Oakhill to give you some idea of what we’ll be doing. You will be need to be a little bit fit too…
Let me know and sorry for the late notice but most of these caves are not open access and so are not easy to arrange well in advance. There will be a limit to how many we can take in but I’m not expecting hordes of people midweek. Hopefully the weather will be rubbish and there’ll still be some bats in there!