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Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Another Barbastelle

We have been monitoring Stockgrove Country Park regularly for the past twenty five years. In recent years we have heard occasional barbastelles, but on Monday night we tried harp trapping there and found ourselves in the middle of  a high level of barbastelle activity, and much to our delight one, a  non breeding female, graced the harp trap with her presence.
Barbastelle, Photo by Bob Cornes
Barbastelle, Photo by Bob Cornes
Some people think these are ugly bats as there eyes are difficult to spot but we have a soft spot for them.
barbastelle fur One of their nicest features is silver tipped fur

Saturday, 27 July 2013

New Project

Phil Brown (University of Bristol) is carrying out two surveys in Bedfordshire

This is part of his university project looking at Whiskered/Alcathoe/Brandt's (WAB)

Further details to follow once the surveys have been completed.

Bat Box Project updated

When fixing dates for the monthly box surveys we deliberately put the June check early in the month and the July one later.

We found nothing but birds on the June one and had heard that people were finding new born Brown long eared bats in boxes in other counties recently.

It was decided to go ahead with the check but not to disturb any boxes that held brown long eared bats.

Almost the first box that was checked appeared empty,  but on being opened had a very young juvenile in it.

There was no sign of its mother. The box was closed immediately and for the rest of the check, boxes containing Brown Long Eared bats were not opened.(Their long ears are, fortunately, pretty visible.)
Brown long eared bat Bob Cornes
Brown long eared bat Bob Cornes (photo taken last year)

This meant that the check was quite speedy as no boxes contained anything other than brown long eared bats. The questions has to be – where were the pipistrelles.

Further Woodland Surveys

With the good weather the bat group has been able to go out a lot.

On Tuesday Aidan, Bob and Dave headed to Kings Wood Heath and Reach and tried netting in a woodland block.
Griffins were set up at high and low level.

There were no echolocation calls but we picked up some interesting social calls. Alarmingly Jude failed to provide any cake.

This alarming event caused great concern so on Friday when we went to resurvey a wood we had visited with Lia Gilmour last year, everybody brought cake, so that some came home at the end of the evening.

When we were there last year the temperature was 4 degrees centigrade. It was very different last night. A juvenile noctule, several Daubenton’s and a soprano pipistrelle were caught, but there were still no Natterer’s.

A Response to the Westminster Hall Bats and Churchs Debate


Photo Jon Dawson
Photo Jon Dawson

There has continued to be lots of comments about Sir Tim Baldry’s  recent speech at Westminster Hall.  .

Dr Kirsty Park of Stirling University has just posted a comment on her blog . (Kirsty’s PhD was bat related and she knows of what she speaks).

I should point out to those of a nervous disposition that these are not real bats  and that the bats living in our churches are not this size.

They are made by greensmith (someone who works with copper). I stole this photo from

Barbastelle tracking

No posts for a while and you may have thought we had gone into torpor!!

Far from it, we have had a radio tag on a non pregnant female (obviously) barbastelle and have so  far found 5 roost trees, and got some good film footage. Once the tag  stops working I will try to update what has been happening. If interested , in the meantime have a look at our facebook page where Jude has been posting regular updates.

Quick update – found a 6th roost. Tag must be nearing end of its life soon – then we can catch up on (a) sleep and (b) this blog. She escaped vigilant eyes again last night Think we may rename her “Stealth”

The tag lasted fourteen days and has now expired. This means some of us are busy catching up on sleep but we will have more to say about this.

 Right until the end our little lady continued to guide us to new roosts. We found 7 in total.

Barbastelle in hibernation, normally this is as close as we get!!