Category Archives: Bat News

BCT Info – Bat Workers Forum19 & e-Bulletin – August 2019

Dear bat group member,

Hope you’re having  a batty summer!  Latest info from the BCT is below.

1/ BCT Bat e-Bulletin – Issue 78 – August 2019 can be viewed on this link

2/ Bat Workers Forum 2019 – Bookings Now Open

The 2019 Bat Workers Forum will be taking place at 8pm on Friday 6th September at the University of Nottingham. Please see attached for the draft agenda for 2019. Further details about the Forum, including the minutes from 2018 and the terms of reference for the meeting are on the BCT website at:

If you would like to attend please let me know (either email: or call 020 7820 7193). Advanced booking is preferred so that we can send out documentation in advance and to ensure we have enough teas and coffees for everyone.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if there is an issue, question or comment that you would like raised during the Forum or if you have any questions about the meeting (you do not have to be attending the conference to attend the Forum). The deadline to get items formally added to the agenda is 5.00pm on Monday 26th August.

3/ Pete Guest Award 2019 – Voting

Voting for the Pete Guest Award is still open so if you haven’t voted yet there’s still just enough time: (voting closes at 5.30 on the 23rd August).

The winner will be announced at the Bat Worker Forum and the award presented at the National Bat Conference on Sunday 8th September.


NBMP Intro Bat Detector Workshop, Weymouth, Dorset – 12July19

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 ( as new workshops are added on a regular basis.

For full details and a booking form please go to:

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.

Kind regards,

Victoria Mercier
NBMP Survey Assistant

Alcathoe in Cave near Bradford on Avon

Well done to Wilts Bat group, a great record!  Nice write up in in the Wilts Times here:

Alcathoe bat found in Cave near Bradford on Avon

Alcathoe bat found in Cave near Bradford on Avon

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.”

Alcathoe and whiskered bats found in Cave near Bradford on Avon

Alcathoe and whiskered bats found in Cave near Bradford on Avon

Noctule bats reveal mothers guide juveniles to roosts but not food

New German research published this week in Biology Letters, using Proximity sensors on common Noctule bats has show evidence that Nocule mothers guide juvenile bats use to suitable roosts, but not food patches:

Abstract copied below:

Female bats of temperate zones often communally rear their young, which creates ideal conditions for naive juveniles to find or learn about resources via informed adults. However, studying social information transfer in elusive and small-bodied animals in the wild is difficult with traditional tracking techniques. We used a novel ‘next-generation’ proximity sensor system (BATS) to investigate if and how juvenile bats use social information in acquiring access to two crucial resources: suitable roosts and food patches. By tracking juvenile–adult associations during roost switching and foraging, we found evidence for mother-to-offspring information transfer while switching roosts but not during foraging. Spatial and temporal patterns of encounters suggested that mothers guided juveniles between the juvenile and the target roost. This roost-switching behaviour provides evidence for maternal guidance in bats, a form of maternal care that has long been assumed, but never documented. We did not find evidence that mothers guide the offspring to foraging sites. Foraging bats reported brief infrequent meetings with other tagged bats that were best explained by local enhancement. Our study illustrates how this recent advance in automated biologging provides researchers with new insights into longstanding questions in behavioural biology.

Deaf moth evolves to outwit Bats

Interesting new paper published by University of Bristol today:

A genus of deaf moth has evolved to develop an extraordinary sound-producing structure in its wings to evade its primary predator the bat. The finding, made by researchers from the University of Bristol and Natural History Museum, is described in Scientific Reports today.

More info:

A ermine moth (Yponomeuta evonymella). The arrows indicate the tymbals. Image Credit: David Agassiz, Natural History Museum

A ermine moth (Yponomeuta evonymella). The arrows indicate the tymbals. Image Credit: David Agassiz, Natural History Museum

Rare Barbastelle bat found at Yeovil Country Park

Some superb positive publicity for Bats on the BBC website today.   Well done to the Park Rangers and volunteers at Ninesprings Park in Yeovil!

The Barbastelle bat is rarely recorded in Somerset, according to park rangers

The Barbastelle bat is rarely recorded in Somerset, according to park rangers


Rare Grey long-eared bat in the news

Super write up about group member and RSPCA worker India Long, and her care for probable grey long-eared bat.

Rare ping pong ball sized bat was close to death before rescue

“Merri” is believed to be a grey long-eared bat, a species among the rarest mammals in England

A dedicated RSPCA worker is providing round-the-clock care to a bat thought to be one of the rarest mammals in England.

Merri, believed to be a grey long-eared bat, was rescued by the RSPCA on Monday (14 August) after being found grounded in Merriott, Somerset.

She was taken in by the charity’s West Hatch Wildlife Centre, in nearby Taunton, where staff member and bat expert India Long has taken the tiny 5g mammal under her wing.

India - a bat carer and wildlife assistant at West Hatch - has been caring for "Merri" around the clock

India – a bat carer and wildlife assistant at West Hatch – has been caring for “Merri” around the clock