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How to join the BCT…

Bats are utterly unique but often overlooked and underloved making them vulnerable to persecution and habitat loss.

By becoming a member you’ll be adding your voice to ours in speaking up for bats and helping us to help bats by:

·         Running the Bat Helpline, saving thousands of bats each year

·         Monitoring bat populations, to inform our conservation work

·         Lobbying decision-makers to safeguard bats and their habitats

·         Educating a wide range of people about bats through publications, events and the media

A BCT membership also makes for a wonderful gift! Click HERE to know more about the different types of membership we offer.

 

Tattershall Church Cleaning

Many thanks to those that helped with the church clean on Saturday, we managed to get a lot done, though there is still a bit to do.  With this in mind I am hoping to organise another day (it may only need to be a half-day) to finish the odd bits off we didn’t get round to.  This will be on Tuesday 22nd.  If you are able to help, can you please let Ian know,

Ian.nixon99@btconnect.com

Bat Research Papers, Reports and Other Publications

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. Exceptionally we do include details of papers or other items where we think they will be of particular interest but where only abstracts or summary information is available, but we will include a note of that in the text about the article.  For more information about how to access journal papers see the BCT website at: http://www.bats.org.uk/pages/accessing_journal_papers.html

Experimentally comparing the attractiveness of domestic lights to insects: Do LEDs attract fewer insects than conventional light types?  – Published in Ecology and Evolution, the full paper can be read or downloaded at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ece3.2527/epdf

Environmental and spatial drivers of taxonomic, functional, and phylogenetic characteristics of bat communities in human-modified landscapes – investigating aspects of bat communities in a human-modified landscape in Costa Rica, this paper by Cisneros et al is available at: https://peerj.com/articles/2551/

Using bats to monitor invasive insects – not a paper yet but an interesting article and TED talk from researchers in the US, looking at DNA from bat droppings to identify invasive insects. Article can be read at:

http://granitegeek.concordmonitor.com/2016/03/22/looking-for-invasive-bugs-check-your-local-pile-of-bat-guano/ and the TED talk is online at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzW4YjY_7l4

Unveiling the Hidden Bat Diversity of a Neotropical Montane Forest – Chaverri et al studied bats in mountain regions of Central America, areas under threat from climate change but where bat species had been poorly studied. The full paper is available online at: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0162712

First Direct Evidence of Long-distance Seasonal Movements and Hibernation in a Migratory Bat – study investigating the movements of hoary bats (Lasiurus cinereus) in North America using GPS tags and data loggers. The full paper is available at: http://www.nature.com/articles/srep34585

Activity pattern and fat accumulation strategy of the Natterer’s bat (Vespertilionidae, Chiroptera) swarming population indicate the exact time of male mating effort – Kohyt et al  studied Natterer’s bats in Poland, investigating the interactions between the sexes and fat accumulation for hibernation. Read the full paper online at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13364-016-0285-x

Guidelines for Rescue Centres – not bat specific but the British Veterinary Zoological Society has published guidelines aimed at offering support to veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses and wildlife rehabilitators, in order to promote and achieve the best possible care and welfare for indigenous British wild animals in accordance with UK law. The Guidelines can be found at: http://www.bvzs.org/images/uploads/BVZS_Good_Practice_Guidelines_for_Wildlife_Centres_011016_.pdf

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Wildlife Detection and Observation Technologies at a Solar Power Tower Facility – Solar power towers produce electrical energy from sunlight at an industrial scale. Little is known about the effects of this technology on flying animals (inc. bats). The paper in PLOS ONE by Diehl et al is available online at http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/asset?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0158115.PDF

MMU Blog Post – the Bat Research Group at Manchester Metropolitan University have written a blog based on their attendance at the National Bat Conference this year. They are also still calling for bat carers to send photos of wing tears and receive swab kits. Read the full blog at: http://bat-research-mmu.weebly.com/our-news

Bat Bridge Blog Post – NEXT Architects have written a blog for us about their bridge for people and bats in the Netherlands. You can read the full blog at: http://batconservationtrust.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/a-unique-bridge-for-bats-by-next.html

DAUBENTON’S BAT SURVEYS UPDATE

First of all a very, very big thank you to all the people who have turned out, in some cases, weekend after weekend, to take part in this increasingly interesting and important voyage of discovery.  If you remember, at the start I said no-one has surveyed like this before, and certainly no-one has surveyed the Lincolnshire waterways at all, apart from a few consultancy one-offs and surveys for the National Bat Monitoring Programme, which is simply recording presence or absence of Daubenton’s over the same 1 km of watercourse over many years, to see whether the population stays the same or shows an increase or decline.  There are only a handful of recorders across the county doing this, and not even evenly spaced, making for a very unrepresentative sample of Lincolnshire’s Daubernton’s population if we want to use the data at local level.

At the start the aims were all rather vague.  With the exception of Tattershall church and castle, as far as we know Daubenton’s don’t roost in buildings, so we had very few roost records for what is a common species.  Would recording what time Daubenton’s turned up at bridges tell us anything about how close to a roost they might be?  And if this worked then what else did we want to know?  Did we want to survey as many drains and rivers as possible (given that there are literally hundreds of miles of them in Lincs) – or did we want to home in on some of our findings?  The truth of the matter, of course, was that I wanted to do both!  But were people up for simply going to a bridge with a bat detector and a watch/ timing device and then sending the result back to me, several times over the summer?  And a lot of people have been.

So what have we learnt?  To begin with I assumed (always dangerous: golden rule for every naturalist: never assume anything!) that Daubenton’s were found everywhere over watercourses above a certain size (and I deliberately excluded ponds and lakes from the start, as too many access problems to get a clear picture of what they were doing – I wanted to find where they were roosting), but this turns out to be not the case, even when the water course looks tailor-made for abundant activity, based on its plant, and therefore likely insect, communities.  The bats are totally reliant on suitable roost sites, we’ve come to realise, so no suitable bridge, tree hole or culvert within a requisite distance and there are no bats.

But we have found roosts – and all, except one, so far in modern concrete bridges, not picturesque brick humpbacked ones (which may explain why there are relatively few Daubenton’s on the Grantham Canal, for those of you who live in that area), some confirmed, some strongly suspected from emergence times.  The exception is on the River Ancholme at South Ferriby Sluice, where Julie Ellison’s persistence paid off, after two years’ worth of timing surveys showed there had to be a roost there somewhere.  With part of the structure being off limits to the public she could get no further – until work was needed on the sluice and she was able to go out with the consultant ecologists, when they found the roost, located in the stone wall on the tidal side of the sluice, and counted out 42 bats.

This year we have started off teams on three new sites, with some already interesting results, which I hope they will be able to follow up with more surveys next year.  Down in the south, where we’ve just completed our fourth year, we’ve had a look at the River Glen (which is so far totally confusing!) and moved up a level with the site we started at, got the local drainage board involved – and have found something really interesting, which I’ll talk about at the Christmas meeting.  Do come along!

Annette Faulkner

New Advanced bat survey techniques level 3 (field skills) course now open for bookings

This course is tutored by Ian Davidson-Watts (author of the newAdvanced bat survey techniques chapter of BCT’s Bat Surveys for Professional Ecologists: Good Practice Guidelines, 3rd edition).

This three day course is designed as a follow up to An introduction to advanced bat survey techniques and is aimed at ecological consultants involved in undertaking professional level bat surveys. The course introduces participants to the practical elements of advanced bat survey techniques such as trapping free flying bats and radio tracking mainly for the purposes of obtaining bat related data to inform development related projects and/or land management activities.

For more information please visit the course page 

Wildlife Mitigation Case Studies Forum

BCT’s Bats and the Built Environment programme will be running a mitigation case studies forum at end of 2016/start of 2017. There will be speakers presenting a range of case studies on mitigating the impacts of development on biodiversity in the built environment.

The aim is to share both successes and failures and therefore to emphasise the importance of monitoring in ensuring effective implementation and measuring the level of success. Please bear this in mind during the 2016 survey season and keep an eye out for the call for project examples. In the meantime, if you have any queries, please contact the Built Environment Project Officer, Jo Ferguson: jferguson@bats.org.uk.

National Wildlife Crime Unit Funding Secured

The Government has confirmed that it will fund the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) for at least the next four years.  Funding for the unit was due to expire at the end of March 2016 and it appeared to facing a very uncertain future. Thank you to everyone who signed the online petitions to save the NWCU. More details are on their website at: http://www.nwcu.police.uk/news/nwcu-police-press-releases/funding-secured-for-national-wildlife-crime-unit-until-2020/

Landmark Conviction for Bat Crime

Earlier this month in a case heard at Derby Crown Court a development company was fined and a confiscation order made under the Proceeds of Crime Act. It is BCT’s view that this case is the most significant conviction for bat crime ever recorded. Not only is it the first occasion where such a case has been heard in the Crown Court but to our knowledge it is the first time that a proceeds of crime application has been heard in relation any wildlife crime not involving the illegal trade in endangered species. A strong message is being sent to developers to the effect that they cannot, in future, expect to benefit from criminal behaviour. More details are available on the BCT website at: http://www.bats.org.uk/news.php/317/most_significant_conviction_for_bat_crime_ever_recorded

Daubenton’s Surveys

Daubenton’s bat surveys from bridges are now underway again and are suitable for beginners, as well as more experienced recorders, as training will be given. We have just done a very successful survey on the Kyme Eau at South Kyme, with one confirmed Daubenton’s roost and another present but not yet located. The team there will carry on with this on their own, with support where needed, but by the end of the summer will have learnt a great deal and hopefully even found where the other roost is. Other surveys are being carried out in the Sutton on Sea area – contact Annette if you want to know more about these and she will pass your details to the leader. Julie Ellison is also doing more surveys up in the north of the county too – contact her direct on julie@julieellison.co.uk if you would like to get involved there.
Down in the south Annette is organising a series of surveys on the Vernatt’s Drain complex and the River Glen, and the dates for these are as follows:
Sunday 10 July (Vernatt’s)
Friday or Saturday 15 or 16 July (R Glen)
Friday or Sunday 22 or 24 July (Vernatt’s)
Sunday 31 July (R Glen)
Friday 5 August (Vernatt’s)
Saturday or Sunday 13 or 14 August (Vernatt’s)

If you would like to come on any of these surveys please email her to get you name put down and you will be contacted with more details.

This is the fourth year of this project to try to find where Daubenton’s bats are roosting along our water courses, and we have learnt an enormous amount. We’ve even found roosts and now know which sorts of bridges Daubenton’s particularly like (answer: modern concrete!). We would love more members to join us. Do get in touch!

Annette Faulkner, annettefaulkner@btinternet.com