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May 2017


Swanton Novers Woodland Bat Project Community Day

On the 6th of May, we ran a community event called Wild about Swanton Community and Wildlife Day. The event was an opportunity for the project to raise awareness about Swanton Novers National Nature Reserve, its long history of management, the work we have been doing on the bat side of things and give wildlife enthusiasts the opportunity to showcase their work and hobbies to the local community. On the day we were lucky to have the Bat Conservation Trust, Tony Leech (Norfolk’s Fungi County Recorder), Norfolk Barbastelle Study Group, Dersingham Bog Hoppers, Natural England, Norfolk Moths, North East Norfolk Bird Club (NENBC), Welbeck Trust and the Swanton Novers History Group.

Community Day

Approximately 40 people came to the event and were able to take part in the various activities on offer. Throughout the day we sold tea, coffee and cakes to raise some money for the Swanton Novers Village Hall and we ran a raffle to raise money for the Swanton Novers Woodland Bat Project. In total, we raised £81.85 for the Swanton Novers Woodland Bat Project and £90.29 for the Swanton Novers Village Hall.A volunteer running a training session

Thank you to everyone who came on the day and supported the event. Thank you to the exhibitors for their time.  And finally thank you to all the volunteers who helped with the event, who all did a wonderful job. The event would not have been possible without their time and enthusiasm.

Some feedback from members of the community about the Community Day event:

“I had the most fascinating day on the 6th May at Swanton Novers Wildlife Seeing a bat close upday. To see fungi, moths, bats and harvest mice, one of which I had run up my arm with the knowledge of the participants was incredible. I found out all about these tiny mice and them to be up close to a bat and see the delicate, almost flimsy wings. I had no idea they had tails.

I came away with a sense of wonder and was so incensed with the enthusiasm of these people.”

                                                                                 Gillian Harman

“The day itself was dull and drizzly, and how cold!  I had put my name down for the Woodland Walk in an attempt to see the bluebells at the height of their flowering.  I was delighted to discover that the event – timed to last two hours – included talks about the many bat species to be found in the Great Wood. 

 Bats, to me, are one of the few remaining links with prehistoric creatures.  A flying mammal – what can be more fascinating?

The walk was led by Ash Murray together with an expert on bats ( I apologise for not remembering her name, and hereafter will call her the Bat Lady) so we were treated to a very informative couple of hours.

 We were informed as to the ecology of the area why The Great Wood is so unique with such a diversity of trees and flora.  And something I didn’t know was, that there may be a pingo in the wood.  Something I have seen further south of the county.  Pingos are perfectly round ponds and are relics of the ice age.  Not commonly seen. Amazing.Woodland walk

The Bat Lady talked of the different species inhabiting the woods and their various habitats, with their different feeding habits and behaviours.  We looked at a tree with peeling bark, a perfect roost for bats to use as a nursery whilst having their young.  We were treated to a demonstration of endoscopy which is used to look very carefully under the bark without disturbing the bats.  (Yes, I know that an endoscope has sinister medical connotations...)

The youngest member of the group – a boy of about 10 – was fascinated by this piece of equipment and was shown how to use it. Eventually, having to be peeled away from it.Using an endoscope

Of course, the two hours shot by even though the weather was a bit grim.

 What a fascinating couple of hours.  I could have stayed much longer. 

And I saw bluebells thickly carpeting the banks of the pingo pond.

Wonderful.  And all this for free!!”

                                                                          Val Hart


Photography Competition—1,2,3 Snap your Woodland

The project is currently running a photography competition called 1, 2, 3 Snap your Woodland. If you like the great outdoors and enjoy taking photographs of your surroundings, then this photography competition might tickle your fancy. 1, 2, 3 Snap your Woodland is a great way to share your love for our amazing woodlands and raise awareness about a special and unique habitat. The prize is a year’s membership to Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) or the Young Bat workers’ Club and the winning photographs will be uploaded onto the BCT website. The competition will close on Friday 28th of July and the winners will be announced on BCT’s social media in September.

So if you live in Norfolk or are visiting the area for a holiday, why not take a stroll into a woodland nearby and see what you can capture with your camera. We look forward to seeing your photographs. 

The Photography Competition PDF document can be downloaded from here.

Photography Competition

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