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Bat Group Bulletin No. 145

Bat Group Bulletin No. 145: 15th June 2017 

  1. NBMP Annual Report – latest species population trends now available
  2. NBMP Surveys – find the right survey for you
  3. NBMP Survey sites up for grabs!
  4. NBMP “baton-passing” scheme
  5. NBMP Coordinators within bat groups
  6. NBMP Training and Workshops 
  7. NBMP Technologies for Bioacoustic Monitoring (FuSe) Project
  8. BCT Monitoring & Survey Manager (Maternity Cover) Vacancy
  9. EMT2 Bat Detector - Special Offer from Wildcare
  10. Posters to advertise International Bat Night 2017
  11. Bat Research Papers & Reports
  12. Key Dates for Your Diary

1. NBMP Annual Report – latest species population trends now available

In May we published the NBMP Annual Report presenting species population trends up to 2016. In 2016 960 volunteers surveyed 1,984 sites (equating to approximately 17,700 hours). It is thanks to these volunteers and the many volunteers who have taken part in previous years that we are able to present these findings for 11 of Great Britain's 17 resident bat species.

Of 11 species surveyed, all are considered to have been stable or to have increased in comparison to the baseline year of monitoring (1999 for most species). It should be remembered that these trends reflect relatively recent changes in bat populations. It is generally considered that prior to this there were significant historical declines in bat populations dating back to at least the start of the 20th century. This suggests that current legislation and conservation action to protect and conserve bats is being successful, and it is vitally important that this continues.

To read the full report please go to the NBMP web pages.

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2. NBMP Surveys – Find the right survey for you

Our surveys are carefully designed so that anybody can take part in monitoring these fascinating mammals. As well as being of great value to bat conservation, the surveys are a fun and rewarding way to connect with the wildlife in your area.  They usually involve visiting a roost or monitoring activity in the field on two evenings in the summer.

For all surveys you can enter your data online. You can also view all data you have submitted previously (Roost Count and Hibernation Survey) and draw your survey routes using online mapping tools (Field Survey and Waterway Survey).

There are more details on each survey (and you can also sign up) online

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3. NBMP Survey sites up for grabs!

We have several sites that need repeat visits for the Field Survey and Waterway Survey. Please email the NBMP team if you would like to survey any of these sites and we can sign you up. If you wish we will send you a survey pack in the post closer to the survey period or you can download the survey materials online.

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4. NBMP “baton-passing” scheme

This scheme is all about passing on experience rather than detectors (Batbox Batons or otherwise!). The aim is to enable new volunteers taking on repeat Field Survey and Waterway Survey sites to be accompanied on their first survey by the previous volunteer who surveyed the site.

This will help the new volunteer get started at the site through assistance with finding their way around the survey route and getting tips on the survey and species ID methods. It should result in more new volunteers feeling confident enough to complete their surveys and return data.

We have had a great response from existing volunteers who are willing to assist new volunteers. The sites in the scheme are indicated in the lists of unallocated sites mentioned in section 3 (see the links above).

If you can take on one of these sites then please email the NBMP team and let us know if you would like to request help in getting started from the previous volunteer.

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5. NBMP Coordinators within bat groups

A number of bat groups around the UK have an NBMP bat group coordinator who takes on the role of promoting NBMP participation within the group. This can range from simply emailing round a list of unallocated sites in your bat groups area to giving a presentation to your bat group about the NBMP. This role is supported by the NBMP Projects Manager, Philip Briggs, who sends e-bulletins throughout the year with guidance on the different ways coordinators can get involved and help. We are keen to have NBMP bat group coordinators within as many bat groups as possible as we are aware of the brilliant work carried out by bat groups in monitoring bats in the local area.

If you are interested in taking on this role within your bat group then please email Philip Briggs.

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6. NBMP Training and workshops

Each year we organise a programme of NBMP workshops in order to train new volunteers and refresh the skills of existing volunteers. These include introductory bat detector workshops and also workshops that focus on the survey and species ID techniques needed to take part in specific surveys (Field Survey and Waterway Survey).  We have several events now confirmed and bookings are open with full details on the NBMP web pages.

These workshops are ideal for beginners and also more experienced volunteers who wish to refresh their skills. Each introductory bat detector workshop involves an evening classroom session followed by a practical field session starting around dusk.

This year we are running a new “Level 1” NBMP survey workshop aimed at people who are relatively new to bat detecting or would like to brush up their skills for taking part in the Waterway Survey. The aim is to provide attendees with some basic skills that they will then feel confident in applying in the field, e.g. through taking part in the Waterway Survey.

If your group would like us to run a workshop for you (in any part of the UK) then please email Philip Briggs.

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7. NBMP Technologies for Bioacoustic Monitoring (FuSe) Project

BCT are working with researchers at University College London, Oxford University and the BTO to explore new ways of developing the National Bat Monitoring Programme to incorporate the latest advances technology and analysis. We are keen to get feedback from bat groups and NBMP volunteers for this work. Keep your eyes peeled for a consultation coming soon.

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8. BCT Monitoring & Survey Manager (Maternity Cover) Vacancy

We are seeking a motivated scientist and programme manager, committed to bat conservation, to develop and manage our monitoring and science programmes. The post is responsible for the delivery of the National Bat Monitoring Programme and for developing our science collaborations. The full job description and application form are on the BCT website and the deadline for applications is 9am on Monday 19th June.

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9. EMT2 Bat Detector - Special Offer from Wildcare

We have been asked to share details of this special offer from Wildcare just for bat group members:

Get £ 10 off the new Echo Meter Touch 2 with Wildcare’s introductory discount, available only to Bat Group Members. Just use Discount Code WILDCARE4BATS when you checkout on Wildcare’s web site at: link to This special introductory offer is only available until the end of July.

Why buy the Echo Meter Touch 2? Intuitive to use, the EMT2 lets you listen to, record and identify bats using your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. You can view bat calls displayed live on the screen while you listen, and the calls can be recorded for you to review at your leisure. The app suggests the most likely species flying overhead and contains links to further information.

  • Detect and identity bats using your iPhone or iPad. 
  • Listen the calls of bats flying overhead and watch them on-screen
  • Save calls to look at in detail later
  • Appreciate the full complexity of bat calls by listening with Real Time Expansion technology
  • Easily create maps showing where you have recorded bats
  • Share your recordings with friends and colleagues
  • Download the Echo Meter Touch app for free to try before you buy
  • A professional quality bat detector at an affordable price

The Echo Meter Touch 2 is available to buy now.

Discount code: WILDCARE4BATS

Valid to: 31/07/17

Standard price: £ 199.98 including VAT

Bat Groups Discounted Price: £ 189.98

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10. Posters for International Bat Night

The International Bat Night takes place – as always – on the last full weekend in August; this year it is 26th to 27th August. If you wish to announce your event with a EUROBATS poster, please send EUROBATS your order (details below) and they will ship the posters at the end of July and beginning of August.

The posters and the delivery are free of charge. Posters will be available in A2 and A3 size. Please let EUROBATS know how many posters of which size you wish to receive. Please send them a postal address, the posters cannot be sent to a PO Box. Please be aware that that orders are limited due to the costs for printing and shipment.

The order form is online. First on the page you can register your event and at the bottom of the page you will find the order form for the posters.

Please send your orders for no later than 17th July to enable EUROBATS to send the posters in time for advertising your events.  

Don’t forget you can also promote your events for International Bat Night, or other batty activities, via the events listings page on the BCT website

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11. Bat Research Papers & Reports

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 web page:

  • Global patterns in coronavirus diversity – research by Anthony et al published in the journal Virus Evolution this month investigates the role of bats as the main reservoirs of coronaviruses. 
  • In an effort to provide balance to the reporting of this research in relation to conservation of bats, Bat Conservation International have released a statement on their website, co-signed by the Bat Conservation Trust
  • There is also a statement on the EcoHealth Alliance website
  • Migratory bats respond to artificial green light with positive phototaxis – This research by Voigt et al  published in PLoS ONE at the end of last month considers how Nathusius’ pipistrelle and soprano pipistrelle respond to artificial light at night. From their results the researchers infer that the two species were not attracted to artificial light because of increased availability of insects but instead by positive phototaxis (attraction to the light itself). Importantly they conclude that artificial light at night may potentially impact bat migration in a yet unrecognized way. In addition to the full paper, there is also a summary article online
  • ThermalTracker: The Secret Lives of Bats and Birds RevealedNot a journal paper but an interesting article from the US Department of Energy Pacific Northwest National Laboratory about methods for monitoring off-shore wind farms for birds and bats using thermal video. The project has included development of open source software, which is freely available.

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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:

BCT Events

  • 01-03 September – Swarming Conference. This event is fully booked but to go on the waiting please email Naomi Webster
  • 18 November – Scottish Bat Conference **SAVE THE DATE** More details are available on the web page for the event.

Other Events

  • 29 June-01 July – 2nd International Symposium on Infectious Diseases of Bats, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. For more information see the event web page.
  • 01-05 August  – 14th European Bat Research Symposium, Donostia, Spain. For more details please see the event website
  • 05-09 August – 10th European Bat Detector Workshop, Bidarrai, France. (This event is being held after the European Bat Research Symposium in the Basque country and is only 76 km away from Donostia.) Full details can be found at:
  • 26-27 August – International Bat Night. For more information see the BCT website (please do share details of your events to mark this annual celebration of bats!)
  • 05-09 August – 10th European Bat Detector Workshop, Bidarrai, France. (This event is being held after the European Bat Research Symposium in the Basque country and is only 76 km away from Donostia.) Full details can be found on the organiser's website. (Thank you to Martyn Cooke & Keith Cohen for sending in details of this event).
  • 16-17 November – NBN Conference 2017, National Museum Cardiff. See the NBN website for more information.

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