Advanced Professional Training – Habitats Directive Annex II Bat Species

Dr Peter Shepherd of BSG Ecology, along with Dr Sandie Sowler and Dr Ian Davidson-Watts, recently delivered an advanced two day training course on the ecology of the four Habitats Directive Annex II bat species resident and breeding in the UK (barbastelle, Bechstein’s, lesser horseshoe and greater horseshoe). The course was conceived by Peter in 2013 in response to queries from more experienced bat consultants about advanced-level training to help them develop their knowledge and experience base beyond that covered by existing training courses and day to day work experience.

Chittering Leisler’s bats

BSG partner Dr Peter Shepherd has been closely involved with a bat box monitoring scheme in Sherwood Forest over the last 16 years.  Since monitoring began, the species recorded have regularly included  noctule,  Leisler’s, common and  soprano  pipistrelles ,  with occasional  brown  long-eared bat  and whiskered/Brandt’s bats being recorded.

Internal Training: Bat Identification and Survey Design

Bat identification is technically challenging, and to become proficient requires considerable experience and training.  Designing and undertaking robust bat surveys goes beyond identification, however, and requires an understanding of bat biology and ecology. For example, understanding the thermoregulatory needs of male, female or juvenile bats at different times of the year will enable a good surveyor to think about the sort of roosting conditions that bats will be seeking out at a given time. As such, a knowledgeable surveyor will adapt their survey to ensure all possible roost sites are considered.

BSG Ecology Bat Research in 2014

BSG Ecology has started work on a range of new research projects in 2014.  This article summarises progress to date on new bat research.

BCT Artificial Light and Wildlife Symposium 2014

Senior Ecologists Hannah Bilston and David Stiles attended the Artificial Light and Wildlife Symposium, organised by the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT), in March 2014. A wide range of professionals came together to discuss the impacts that humans have on wildlife by the increasing use of artificial light in the night time environment; to hear the latest research on the subject and to look at ways in which the impacts of lighting can be avoided or mitigated.

Maximising occupation of bat boxes

Since 2008 Hannah Bilston, a Senior Ecologist in our Oxford office, has been monitoring bat populations in Finemere Wood, an ancient woodland in Buckinghamshire. The project was initiated by the North Bucks Bat Group (NBBG) in 2003 and formed the study site for Hannah’s MSc research into factors affecting bat box selection within Finemere Wood between 2009 and 2011. More recently, Hannah has been investigating ways to maximise occupation rates of bat boxes by maternity roosts of woodland bats.

Portland Bat Migration Study

Between August and November 2013 BSG Ecology deployed a static bat detector at Portland Bird Observatory, Dorset.  The aim of this was to identify any patterns of bat activity that may suggest bat migration at this site. The study formed part of a wider bat migration project undertaken by BSG, in which six coastal locations were sampled in 2013.

The potential ecological impacts of ground-mounted photovoltaic solar panels in the UK

As the number of solar parks in the UK increases, there is growing interest in the interaction of wildlife with ground-mounted photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. To date, a relatively low number of research papers have formed the basis for considerable discussion on the subject, and in some cases these have informed guidance relating to PV solar parks in the UK.

Kent Bat Migration Research Report, 2013

In 2012 BSG Ecology completed a pilot bat migration study at Dungeness, Kent.  A bat detector was deployed at the Dungeness Bird Observatory to establish whether seasonal patterns of bat activity potentially indicative of migration were apparent.  The results were interesting, with increased activity noted in Nathusius’ pipistrelle in spring and autumn.  This species is known to be migrating within continental Europe at these times of year.

Bat Migration Talk at Sandwich Bay

Last night Laura Grant from  BSG Ecology’s Oxford office gave a talk entitled “An  Introduction to Bat Migration” to members of the Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory.

Spurn Bat Migration Study

Between August and November 2013 BSG Ecology deployed a static bat detector at Spurn Lighthouse, East Yorkshire.  The aim of this was to identify if there were pulses of bat activity recorded might suggest bat migration.