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Bat Group Bulletin No. 141

Bat Group Bulletin No. 141: 06 February 2017

  1. Vacancies at BCT
  2. Out of Hours Helpline Volunteers
  3. New BCT Training & Conferences Manager
  4. South West England Bat Conference
  5. Swarming Conference
  6. HS2 Update
  7. Built Environment Project News
  8. NBN Gateway & NBN Atlas
  9. Charter for Trees, Woods & People
  10. Bat-E-Cards for Your Valentine
  11. Bat Research Papers, Reports & Other Relevant Publications
  12. Key Dates for Your Diary

1. Vacancies at BCT

We are currently recruiting for the following posts at BCT:

  • Bat Mitigation Project Officer - Bearing Witness for Wildlife Project (deadline for applications is 9am on Monday 13th February 2017)
  • Bat Mitigation Project Field Assistant - Bearing Witness for Wildlife Project (deadline for applications is 9am on Monday 27th February)
  • Seasonal Helpline Officers (deadline for applications is 9am on Monday 6th March)
  • Communications Intern (deadline for applications is 2pm Friday 24th February)

Full details about all of the roles and the application process (including interview dates) can be found on the BCT website.

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2. Out of Hours Helpline Volunteers 

During the busy summer months (May to September) BCT runs an Out Of Hours (OOH) helpline, where volunteers answer emergency calls from the public in the evenings and over the weekends. Volunteers receive training in answering calls before the season begins, as well as full support from BCT staff throughout the season.

Common calls involve grounded or injured bats found by the public, bats trapped in people’s houses, newly-discovered roosts and planning and development queries. The OOH helpline can sometimes be challenging but also very rewarding. It would not be possible to run such a service without the volunteers and their help is hugely appreciated.

We are now recruiting for the 2017 season. Please note that all participants will need to attend one of the Out of Hours training days: 8th April 2017 (London) or 29th April 2017 (Manchester).

There is a likely to be a third training session in May (subject to budget) with those volunteers joining the service in June. Please register your interest by getting in touch with the OOH Coordinator on 0345 1300 228 or by emailing the Helpline. (Also attached to this Bulletin is a promotional poster about the OOH service. Please do share this with people you think might be interested.)

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3. New BCT Training & Conferences Manager

We are pleased to welcome Naomi Webster to BCT as our new Training & Conferences Manager. Naomi is responsible for all the in-house and commissioned training as well as overseeing the organization of various conferences each year. Prior to joining BCT, Naomi worked in education for the Wellcome Trust and the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. During her 10 years in Jersey with Durrell, she gave more fruit bat talks than she cares to remember and always managed to mention their smaller local cousins as well.

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4. South West England Bat Conference

Bookings are now open for the 2017 South West England Bat Conference, taking place on Saturday 25th March at the Tiverton Campus of Petroc College. The delegate rate is £35 for BCT members and £40 for non-members. For more information or to book your place, please see the South West Conference web page.

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5. Swarming Conference

Plans are well underway for the first Swarming Conference, this event is being organised by Steve Roe of Derbyshire Bat Group, Anita Glover of the Vincent Wildlife Trust and Naomi Webster at BCT. The conference will take place over the weekend of 1st to 3rd September at the Hayes Conference Centre, Swanwick, Derbyshire. The weekend will include practical field work on the Saturday night. If you would like to be notified when more information is available and when bookings open please email Naomi.

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6. HS2 Update

Back in December the House of Lord’s Select Committee published their report on HS2. BCT, the Woodland Trust and other organisations have concerns about the treatment of Ancient Woodland and evidence relating to this in the report, including impacts on bats, especially Bechstein’s bat. For more information (including a link to the Select Committee report) see the BCT news pages.

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7. Built Environment Project News

BCT’s built environment officer Jo Ferguson attended her first industry show of the year at the National Self Build and Renovation Centre last month. Feedback was largely positive with a number of self-builders keen to learn about how they could incorporate features for bats into their project or enhance their new green space for wildlife!

The Centre also offers a number of exciting opportunities for ‘Bats for Building Professionals’ training on site with its life size demonstration houses and roof sections (see below). Promotion of the first ‘Bats for Building Professionals’ course to be held on Weds 15th March 2017 was a focus of the show.  

To reach organisations or individuals you think would benefit from finding out more about this training course, please do circulate the BCT webpage for Building Professionals.

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8. NBN Gateway & NBN Atlas

The National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Gateway is to be replaced by the NBN Atlas at the end of March (the Gateway will close on 31st March 2017). More information about this change can be found on the NBN website.

This change has already occurred in Scotland with the NBN Atlas Scotland.

We will be in touch with bat groups about what this means in terms of data sharing from BCT (e.g. National Bat Monitoring Programme data and roost visit data in England) in due course and Natural England will be contacting all of their Volunteer Bat Roost Visitors with further information about how this will affect them.

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9. Charter for Trees, Woods & People

2017 is the big year for the new Charter for Trees, Woods and People, with 6th November 2017 marking both the 800th anniversary of the original  Charter of the Forest and the launch of the new Tree Charter. BCT is part of the Professional Steering Group for the Tree Charter. One of the things the tree charter project has been doing is collecting stories and statements, revealing people’s everyday relationship with trees and woods. They have collected 40,000 stories so far and these will be used inform the wording of the Tree Charter.

The 28th February 2017 marks the end of the story gathering period. If you or any of your friends, families or contacts want to contribute to this please share the link to the Tree Charter. The length and focus of the story is entirely up to you but there is a definite lack of stories with a narrative about why trees are so important to bats! (But see the blog Helen Miller wrote last year whilst she was still BCT’s Woodland Officer.)

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10. Bats-E-Cards for Your Valentine

The creative folk at BCT are batting away on some fab e-cards for Valentine’s Day next week. Some new designs will be added shortly so please do take a look at our e-card selection on the website (and remember bats aren’t just for Valentine’s day!)

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11. Bat Research Papers, Reports & Other Relevant 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:

  • Brexit White Paper – This has now been published but there is no mention of the environment in the top 12 bullet points. However, the environment is referenced a few times later on, mainly in relation to agri-environment schemes and the Wales Environment Act. The most relevant paragraph (to be found on page 46) is probably: “The Government is committed to ensuring we become the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we found it. We will use the Great Repeal Bill to bring the current framework of environmental regulation into UK and devolved law. The UK’s climate action will continue to be underpinned by our climate targets as set out in the Climate Change Act 2008 and through our system of five-yearly carbon budgets, which in turn support our international work to drive climate ambition. We want to take this opportunity to develop over time a comprehensive approach to improving our environment in a way that is fit for our specific needs.
  • Potential for coupling the monitoring of bush-crickets with established large-scale acoustic monitoring of bats – Stuart Newson et al have looked at how the recordings made from static bat detectors during projects such as the Norfolk Bat Survey and the Southern Scotland Bat Survey can be used for another species group. 
  • 2016 National Bat Helpline Out of Hours Service Report2016 was our second busiest OOH season ever! BCT volunteers took 2,266 calls. A downloadable version of the 2016 report about this service can be found on our website at:  and it includes further information about the project and some stats and charts regarding what type of calls we dealt with and where the calls came from. A huge thank you to all of the volunteers that enable us to deliver this service.
  • Wildlife & Countryside Link Blog on Brexit - Link has published a blog written by Richard Benwell, Head of Government Affairs at Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust and Chair of Link’s 25 Year Plan Group.
  • Roost selection by synanthropic bats in rural Madagascar: what makes non-traditional structures so tempting?This paper by Lopez-Baucells et al. was published last month in Hystri.
  • Patterns of Bat Distribution and Foraging Activity in a Highly Urbanized Temperate Environment – This study by Krauel and LeBuhn looks at bats in the urban environment of San Francisco.
  • What Works in Conservation 2017an updated version of the 2015 publication, this book aims to provide practitioners with answers to many questions about practical conservation. It includes an assessment of the effectiveness of 763 conservation interventions based on summarized scientific evidence.
  • Sensory biology: Bats united by cochlear development – this article in Nature (News & Views section), by Fenton and Ratcliffe, considers the similar pattern of inner ear development in both bat species that echolocate using signals from their larynx and those that do not. A pattern which is distinct from other mammals and so implies a single evolutionary origin of laryngeal echolocation.
  • Recent extinctions disturb path to equilibrium diversity in Caribbean bats – This paper by Valente et al uses the well-preserved subfossil record of Caribbean bats to model diversity dynamics in an insular community (specifically the Greater Antilles).
  • Defra Review of Biodiversity Indicators JNCC has now published the results of the Defra reviews of the UK Biodiversity Indicators, together with their response to the recommendations. These are now all linked to at the bottom of the ‘background’ tab on the indicator website, so for example on the indicator for bats, click on the ‘background’ tab and scroll to the bottom of the web page.
  • Safe Bat Paths ProjectThis project, led by researchers at Aarhus University, Denmark, aims to elucidate the status and effectiveness of bat mitigation measures on roads. More information can be found on their web pages, which include some useful links to a variety of technical reports, guidelines and journal papers.  
  • A gap analysis for threatened bat populations on SardiniaThis paper by Bosso et al considers the protection afforded to the three Sardinian bat species, including the endemic Sardinian long-eared bat, through the network of protected areas on the island.
  • African Chiroptera Report 2016 This report is an annual publication that collates information about African bats. The 2016 edition of the report is now available. 
  • EUROBATS Publication Series No. 7: Common Names of European Bats Peter Lina has written a new publication for EUROBATS with a comprehensive listing of the common names of all 53 European bat species in multiple languages (not all bats will have a common name in all European languages of course). The publication includes a really nice section on the ‘Etymology of the word bat and taxonomic names’. 
  • Everyday bat vocalizations contain information about emitter, addressee, context, and behaviourthis study of Egyptian fruit bat vocalisations by Pratt et alI,found that bat vocalizations carry ample information about the identity of the bat making the call, the context of the call, the behavioural response to the call, and even the bat the call was aimed at. The Guardian also ran a story based on this publication back in December.
  • Uniting the efforts of Romanian bat conservation – The Warwickshire Bat Group responded to the request for support from Szilárd Bücs for this project aiming to improve education and knowledge about Romanian Bats. The main part of Szilárd’s project has now finished and included a National Bat Conference in Romania back in the autumn. A key output from the project is a new online resource about bats in Romania, which can be found at: http://lilieci.ro/en/
  • Fishing Technique of Long-Fingered Bats Was Developed from a Primary Reaction to Disappearing Target Stimuli – In this paper the researchers, Aizpurua et al, report on the fish eating habitats of an insectivorous bat, the long-fingered bat found in southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. 
  • Ecological outsourcing: a pitcher plant benefits from transferring pre-digestion of prey to a bat mutualist -bat droppings may help some carnivorous plants become less so according to this paper bySchöner et al. Whilst the full paper isn’t available there is a really nice (easy to digest!) article about it on the BES website.
  • Is the lesser horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros) exposed to causes that may have contributed to its decline? A non-invasive approach – Afonso et al studied 20 lesser horseshoe bat maternity colonies in eastern France, looking at habitat availability, genetic differentiation, exposure to chemical pollutants and the presence of a protozoan parasite. 

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12. Key Dates for Your Diary

Watch this space for dates and reminders of conferences and other events you may be interested in. Please don’t forget you can get some extra publicity for your events by adding the details to the BCT website events pages:

BCT Events

  • 26 March – South West Bat Conference. Bookings are now open!
  • 06 May – North of England Bat Conference **SAVE THE DATE**Please email Becky Wilson to be notified when more information about this event is available and when bookings open.
  • 01-03 September – Swarming Conference **SAVE THE DATE** Please email Naomi Webster to be notified when more information about this event is available and when bookings open.
  • 18 November – Scottish Bat Conference **SAVE THE DATE**

Other Events

  • 24-26 February – 5th International Berlin Bat Meeting: 'Are Bats Special?' For further details, information about abstract submissions and registration please see the 5th IBBM website.
  • 01-05 August  – 14th European Bat Research Symposium, Donostia, Spain. For more details please see the event website
  • 26 March–01 April – 2017 Bat Echolocation Symposium: Learning To Listen, Tuscon, Arizona. For more details see the Bat Survey Solutions website.
  • 31 March-02 April – Mammal Society 63rd Spring Conference, Cambridge. For more information see the Mammal Society website.

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