Search from here

Monday, 13 December 2010

Hibernation Results


Well over the weekend we visited 15 hibernation sites across Bedfordshire, Saturday saw Danny, Jonathan, Bob, Chris and Martin visit four sites, with a total of 76 bats, with 17 Barbestelles in one, which nearly equalled last years 20.

Sunday saw Bob, Jonathan and Aidan visit the remaining sites and have 42 bats in total, with a new record for the artificial site built over 20 years ago, 5 BLE bats.

For the first time, the number of bats found on the December survey has exceeded 100. We found 118 bats over the weekend:

59 Natterer's
23 Daubenton's
17 Brown Long-Eareds
17 Barbastelles
1 Common Pip
1 unidentified
Thanks goes to those which helped out over the weekend.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Kent Bat Box update


Danny at Priory Park has been experimenting with the Kent Bat box (as reported earlier), he has now been playing with the design of the box and added a further rear chamber. The idea is to see if one: the bats are only using the chamber nearest the tree and Two: to help stop woodpeckers making holes in the first and second chamber. The addition of a third chamber may help stop the woody's getting into at least one chamber therefore making the box use-able.

The pictures right, shows the original box on the left and the new super box on the right

He has also added a tin plate over the first chamber to protect it from the woody's.

When bats are using the boxes again, I'll update everyone.

It is also the first of the hibernation checks this weekend, I'll be leading on Saturday and Bob will be leading on Sunday, I'll report the findings here next week, but if last winters results are anything to go by, I'm expecting good numbers in our largest hibernation site, last year when the weather turned we had 20+ Barbastelles, our best count.


Tuesday, 23 November 2010


If you’re not familiar with sonograms, they are simply graphs of the sounds made by bats with the frequency of the sound on the vertical axis and time on the horizontal axis. To produce a sonogram, you need to make a recording from a frequency division or time expansion detector and feed the recording into suitable software. The sonograms below were made from the Bat Group’s newly acquired Batbox Griffin detector in time expansion mode. The frequencies were reduced by a factor of 10 and the times increased by a factor of 10. The software was Adobe Audition.

The first sonogram shows just over half a second of sound from the social calls which Martin referred to, made at the Luton Hoo hibernaculum last month. There is a rapid series of calls lasting about one tenth of a second (remember to divide the times on the scale by 10 to get the true times), and the series is repeated several times. The bat may have been stationary because the volume of the calls does not vary, and there’s no sign of any echolocation calls. The second sonogram shows one series of calls (the third series from the first sonogram), on a bigger time scale.
The question is: which species? We know there were Natterer’s bats around at the time, but we can’t be sure that this was a Natterer’s calling

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


Well Danny up in the north of the county has been busy checking the kent bat box design against other designs. the picture right shows four pip's using one of the boxes.

He has also been using a design from the vincent trust and this was occupied within 18 days!!

There is one problem with wooden boxes though, woodpeckers!! they love to hammer them.

Danny's solution is to put a thin piece of metal over the hole to protect it, anything thats laying around can be used, in this case a old sign, for now this is protecting the box.

Danny has had some good results with the boxes and is constantly looking for new designs to try, I have come up with a design, that once I have made a few hope to test with Danny's help. Hopefully it will be successful and we can give out the instructions for making them.


Friday, 29 October 2010

Back at the beinging of the month, myself and 3 other members went to see if there were any bats swarming around Luton Hoo's artifical Hibernation site. We heard lots of bats including myotis, BLEB, both pip species and Noctule.

A couple of weeks later 5 members went back to confirm the site was being used, this time armed with a harp trap and mist nets, we spent an age waiting and hearing nothing but around 11.00pm we heard a myotis bat.

Not two minutes later he flew into the net, a male natterers in breeding condition, a further three males were netted all of which were in breeding condition.

We can now reveal that this is the first confirmed autunm swarming site in Bedfordshire, which considering the hibernation site has only been in place for around 4 years is an important discovery. Luton Hoo estate (Elite Hotels, Richard Biffen) are very happy about this and are continuing to support our work here, so a big thankyou to Richard for the access permission and continued interest in the bat activity at Luton Hoo.

Recently the group has installed some hibernnation boxes in the largest wooded area in Bedfordshire (Kingswood NNR). The Greensand Trust and Natural England allowed the group to put up two very large boxes and one smaller one.
These will be checked this winter and are in known bat hotspots, but will be monitored every so often, I'll report back the results after the first check, although we are not expecting them to be used for a while.

Thursday, 28 October 2010


We ran a bat care course last weekend, 10 members attended and it looks like the care team is expanding.
I have also been helping out the Dormouse group of late (see picture further down) they are still about and seem to be doing Ok.

Have not posted for sometime now!!

The noctule hasn't been back, however mum is doing well and gaining some weight.

The group has been fairly busy with the Luton project and other things going on around the town, so far we have made some 50 plus bat boxes to go up in the Luton parks and finally looks like we will be able to do this over winter.

Things are slowing down now (end of season) but we will keep busy finishing off the Luton project and planning projects for next year!!!


Friday, 3 September 2010

This is an image of one of the pups droppings, there is a wing clearly vi sable in the centre of the picture.

I have several others with antenna fragments and mandibles fragements.


Thursday, 2 September 2010


I have been through several droppings and found wings in all of them so far. This means that he was feeding himself in the wild, as mealworms don't have wings.

He has not returned for some time now, however the box will remain in place just in case he returns over the autunm and winter.

Monday, 16 August 2010


Having been away for the 2 weeks, my eldest was left in charge of looking after the baby. She feed and watered him every day up until the 9th of August. After this date he has not returned which means that he has either found a roost or disappeared, however we see this as a success as the whole idea was to have him leave as and when ready.

I still have several droppings to go through but early signs show that he had been feeding himself.


Wednesday, 28 July 2010


I finally got around to looking at the droppings last night before heading of to Wrest park. Although I didn't look at them very closely (waiting on microscope) I used a 10x and 20x hand lens and found wing fragments in the droppings. As mealworms don't have wings this means he is feeding himself to a point, meaning that cutting the mealworms down slowly seems to be working.

For the following two weeks I won't be about so there will not be any updates (Sorry)


Tuesday, 27 July 2010


Looks like the tag has finally failed, which is a shame as the plan was to track him on Wednesday
We are still giving him extra food but slowly reducing the amount, making him feed himself, I expect him to continue using the box for some time, but we will see as the food slowly drops.


Monday, 26 July 2010

Last night was a bit of a waste of time, after an hour of him leaving it started raining hard and he was back in the box by 11pm, probably got more sense than us!!!

will be trying to track him again on Wednesday (hopefully).

Sunday, 25 July 2010


He has been coming and going as he pleases, he has lost a little weight but not enough to worry about. Friday morning(23rd) he didn't come back, so Bob and I tried to find him with the car tracking equipment, but no luck, Saturday morning however he was back in the box provided, as well as Sunday morning. Simon and I are going to track him tonight and see where he is going (probably Luton Hoo).

We are slowly cutting down the number of mealworms left for him in the box, which is probably why he is losing a little weight and he is flying every night as well adding to the weight loss.

I have collected some of his droppings when I have been able, but as yet have not looked at them closely. They do however look different to the ones which were just mealworm and I am pretty sure he is feeding, but will check the droppings to be sure, when I get a spare day.

Thursday, 22 July 2010


Ther noctule is now coming and going at will, I have started to collect the droppings daily to analysis at a later date, that way we can see what he has been eating.

Last night after a couple of circles around the house he headed off in the direction of Luton Hoo again. I didn't get round to tracking him via the car and I am away tonight, but will try on Friday, assuming this cold I have eases off.


Wednesday, 21 July 2010


Well after he left on the Sunday night, Monday morning saw hm return. He struggled to get into the box provided, so have had to adapt it slightly.

The Monday he didn't go anywhere, we are thinking he was tried from the two previous nights outings.

Last night he went just before 10pm, some of the group where mist netting at Luton Hoo estate. It was a rubbish night netting but after we packed up (midnight) Bob and I got the radio tracking gear out. Bob picked him up immediately and we followed him for about half and hour.

If he goes tonight I will try a car tracking and see if I can follow him.


Monday, 19 July 2010


Well, saturday the 17th saw 8 of the group spend the night with the pup in the tunnel all night.
He flew well for extended periods and got a little tried around 2am.

On the sunday, we gathered at the house for the soft release. at 10.55pm he left and we tracked him for about 10 minutes and then lost the signal. myself and Tanya checked every few hours and at 2am had a contact with him, Tanya saw him and I heard him.

Tanya stayed up and at 5am he was flying around the garden, struggling to get into the box, so when he landed she helped him in. He had some mealworms and is still in there this morning.

The soft release seems to be working at the moment.


Wednesday, 14 July 2010

This is the noctule pup, well not some much an pup anymore, he is flying really well now.
everything is set for Saturday with a number of members offering help, and the weather looks good for Sunday and the release.
Hopefully all will go well and the hard work put in by so many will be paid off.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Having weighed the pup last night he is maintaining a weight of 28grams even after flying for up to an hour each night. We also took mum up last night and although she tried to fly it was more of a flop to the ground. the shoulder is twisted and she can't fully open the wing, it is still good exercise for her though.

will try and get some more photos tonight and post tomorrow.

Saturday night will be an all nighter to prepare him for releasse on Sunday.


Monday, 12 July 2010

Still flying well, Simon and chris both filmed him last night, hopefully this will be up on the newsgroup soon.

we also took a pip in last night, but there was far to much damage to the wing for it to fly correctly, it did try but couldn't quite manage.


Sunday, 11 July 2010

The pup is doing better and better each night now, Bob recorded him last night in the tunnel and he is ecolocating well, but at around 27khz, it also sounds funny (like a lazer cannon off starwars, bobs description). This is probably because of the cluttered environment, there is also alot of background noise and we are sure the pulses are bouncing of the sides of the tunnel and reflecting all over the tunnel.

We will be filming him tonight and flying him everynight this week.

Saturday, 10 July 2010


The pup is becoming stronger and stronger now and flying in the tunnel is paying off, as of this week he will be flown every night with a potentail release date of the following weekend.

We are going to soft release from the house as he was born here and we can also supply food for him as well as a roost in the first instance.

We will probably radio track him as well so all in all its looking good for him at the moment.


Thursday, 8 July 2010

Took pup uo too the flight tunnel and he is still doing very well, flying for longer and turning well now.

Will be flying him almost every night as of next week, preparing him for release in hopefully a week or two.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

The pup is flying very well now and is able to turn in the tunnel, we also had a pip flying in there last night and it is ready now for release, spent a good 10 minutes flying around.

the pup is well on the way to being weaned and is readally taking mealworms every night without help, including the skins now, hopefully he will come off mums milk before to long.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Took the pup to the polytunnel on saturday, and he was flying quite well. he turned twice in the tunnel which I thought was good for the first time flying in a large space.

He will be flying agin tonight up there so hopefully he will be getting stronger and stronger.

Friday, 2 July 2010

The bats are still doing well with mum weighing a healthly 32g and pup and whooping 28g now, he is still exercising the wings and hopefully this saturday will be his first time in the polytunnel.

Went up and started to finish of the polytunnel, have put extra wieght on the side and held it down with some rope. heading up there saturday to put down white dust sheets and put the door on. In the evening will take both bats up and hopefully he will flywell in the large space.


Sunday, 27 June 2010


Well after a lot of swearing and a lot of sweating the tunnel is now up and will soon be ready for use, a couple of minor things to do but pretty much done, god it was hot!!!!

Thanks to all who helped.


Friday, 25 June 2010

Unfortunately the pip mum and baby died, I believe that the pup was slightly premature as the mum had been attaked by cat, which may of brought on the birth.

Noctule pup and mum are still doing very well and he is nearly the same size now. He is still taking mums milk but slowly moving on to mealworms more and more.

His flight is still weak, but getting better.

Hopefully the polytunnel will be up by the weekend and we can start flying him in a larger space.


Monday, 21 June 2010

Pup still doing well, weighs 25g at 25 days old,

Took in a pipistrlle yesterday, mum is rubbish and looks like we wil have to hand feed.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Weighed the pup last night, 22g at 20 days old, so he is still gaining weight.

The allotment plot has been prepared, kindly by Luton BC and the allotment chair. The polytunnel is on its way and we are hoping to get it up by the weekend.

Pup is now taking more and more mealworm guts.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010


Little one doing well and at 19days old weighs a whooping 20g, weight gain is slowing down, but thats to be expected as he gets bigger. He is excersing his wings more and more now, to the point where he propels himself forward a few inches.

He is now taking more and more mealworm guts and hopefully will not be long before he is off his mum's milk.


Monday, 14 June 2010


Have just heard that we have an area to place a temporary flight cage to fly the baby noctule,

A little bit of work needs to doing to prepare the site but all that needs doing now is to erect the large polytunnel that will act as the flight cage.


Saturday, 12 June 2010

The baby has been eating well and is getting the hang of the mealworm guts now, he has also been exercising his wing this evening.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Noctule baby starts to grow up

Well, just got back from Suffolk and had good views for BLE bats entering the Barn I was surveying, got in and check the Noctules.

we have just tried the little one on some mealworm guts and he seems to like them, will now keep giving him a little guts each night with a milk as a taster to get him going.

mum has just decided that she will bite Tanya (no blood) thank godness.


Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Mum and pup doing well, pup now weighs 18g at 13 days old.

getting very big and clinging to mums back, will have to start weaning very soon!!!

Well after lots of calls and discussions, the group has opted to by a massive polytunnel to use as a temporary flight cage. Hopefully this will be all sorted in the next week or so ready for the little one to start his flight career.

There is a big plan of how we go forward with this and I'll keep this updated as things progress, but it includes a soft release programme and perhaps some radio tracking when hes ready.


Tuesday, 8 June 2010

A baby is born


Having taken in a Noctule who had a broken wing, two months later we now have two, the baby now 10 days old is growing fast and weighs 15g about 2g heavier than it should.

The group are now in the process of sorting out a temporary flight cage and weaning is about to begin.