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Archived News & Events

This page contains archived items from 2013.

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Boxing Day BLE:

A hibernating brown long-eared bat found on Boxing Day 2013 in south Derbyshire.
Hibernating brown long-eared bat

December 2013 - Christmas Meal

Bat group members enjoyed an agenda-free meeting, concentrating instead on good food, drinks and socialising. Thanks once again to Joelle Bryan for organising the Christmas quiz which kept us all entertained between courses.

Bat Group Christmas Meal

Season's Greetings:


November 2013 - Elvaston Castle Bat Box Check

11 members went to Elvaston Castle on Sunday 24th November to check this long-running scheme. They were rewarded with 36 bats; 31 soprano pipistrelles, 1 pipistrelle species, 3 noctules and 1 Leislerís. 26% of the boxes had been used by bats in the past year and occupation of boxes on the day was 23%.

Members check a bat box at Elvaston Box containing two noctule bats

Soprano pipistrelle being measured

November 2013 - Hilton Bat Box Check

A good turn-out for the Hilton bat box check was rewarded with sunny weather and 15 bats of three species. The resident colony of Natterer's bats was found in one of the last boxes to be checked - below right. Three noctules and a Leisler's bat completed a good morning with 40% of the boxes showing evidence of being used. The boxes were cleaned out and a new box was also put up.

Bat boxes at Hilton Nature Reserve Box of Natterers bats

Below: Leislers on the left and a noctule in a bat box at Hilton.

Leislers bat at Hilton Box containing noctule bat

October 2013 - Ogston Bat Box Check

We had a lot of helpers at the Ogston check and found 7 bats. 3 noctules, 3 soprano pipistrelles and one common pipistrelle. 37% of the boxes had evidence of use and 12% were occupied on the day. Below right Steve handles a noctule bat.

Volunteers check boxes bat box being checked

October 2013 - Findern Bat Box Check

Derbyshire bat group members Steve & Alan Roe checked the bat boxes maintained by the Findern Footpaths Group last weekend with some great results. Two new species of bat were recorded using the boxes: Nattererís and Daubentonís bats. Both of these species have been recorded in Findern before but not using the bat boxes. Identification was made by the droppings left in the box by the bats. Nattererís droppings are quite large and chunky (picture below) and Daubentonís bats, which feed primarily over water, have slightly slimy droppings which can be squashed between two fingers without crumbling into a fine powder. 5 pipistrelle bats were also found in the boxes on the day. Overall usage of the scheme by bats was 74%

Volunteers check boxes bat droppings

August 2013 - Joint Event with Staffordshire

A mixture of Derbyshire & Staffordshire bat group members joined together to search for the first Staffordshire record of Nathusius pipistrelle on Saturday 17th August. Nathusius pipistrelle has been recorded in the Dovedale area for the last two consecutive years just 70 metres from the Staffordshire border so they must be present! Despite no records of Nathusius being made on the evening, a good number of other bat species were recorded on both sides of the river and records have been sent to both county recorders.

Bat group members with bat detectors

August 2013 - Trapping at Kedleston

We have been invited by Phil Brown, an MSc student from the University of Bristol, to help out with harp trapping in several of Derbyshire's woodlands. Phil Brown is looking at the distribution of Alcathoe's bats in the UK, which have previously only been recorded on the south coast and in North Yorkshire - are they also present in between? Phil plans to use genetics to answer this question. We may soon have another species to add to our list here in Derbyshire! This brown long-eared was caught whilst trapping at Kedleston.

BLE caught in a harp trap at Kedleston

August 2013 - Members Bat Walk at Lathkill Dale

Our members were all invited to survey Lathkill Dale SSSI to discover what species of bats are using the Ash-wooded limestone valley. 6 species were detected and several recordings were made so this count may increase when they are analysed.

Members bat walk at Lathkill Dale

July 2013 - All-nighter at Haddon Hall

Every year we undertake an all night bat survey with a bbq in the early hours and this year 15 group members went to Haddon Hall (previous all-nighters have been held at locations such as Hardwick Hall and Calke Park). It was a novelty to see more than 100 soprano pipistrelles swarming within a chapel prior to emergence (see below). We also recorded a Nathusius' pipistrelle - our most northern record for this species. 5 people stayed the night and were rewarded by views of a brown long-eared feeding just above our heads in a barn and then noctules returning to their roost, although we weren't in the right place to pinpoint the roost location. Maybe next time.

Bats swarming in Haddon Chapel prior to emergence

Update - A Watery Roost 2013:

In the May 2012 Newsletter we reported on the boathouse at Elvaston Castle which has a long history of a Daubentonís bat roost. Five group members undertook works in 2012 to exclude the pigeons from the building and it was noted at the time that further improvements could be made with the provision of bat boxes within the upper storey. This November Alan & Steve Roe went back to hang three bat boxes on nails already in place on the inside wall of the upper storey and to place a bat brick on one of the wooden rafters. We'll be going back in a year or two to see if they have been used.
Inside Elvaston Boathouse

Bat boxes inside the boathouse

Autumnal Surveying:

Members placed a remote recording bat detector into an underground hibernation site to monitor levels of autumnal swarming activity by bats in October 2013. The detector was left in place for a month before being collected and the data is currently being analysed. The results will be published in our annual report TRAGUS.
Alan positions the AnaBat

May 2013 - Whitwell Bat Box Check

As usual there was quite a large group of members at this bat box check, along with some students from the University of Sheffield. Whitwell is a lovely woodland and the fairly good weather encouraged people to join in. We found 8 soprano pipistrelles and 8 Leisler's (below) bats.

Leislers bat at Whitwell Whitwell Woods

April 2013 - South Wood Bat Box Check

Lots of members turned up on 14th April to help check the bat boxes at South Wood on the Calke Abbey Estate. A total of 41 bats of four species (noctule, common and soprano pipistrelles and Leisler's) were found with half the boxes having evidence of being used, along with a new species of bat confirmed for both the scheme and the woodland - a Leisler's bat (below).

A noctule bat Processing a bat

Afterwards, some members attended a sound analysis workshop run by Steve Roe to learn how to use computer software to analyse recorded bat calls captured in the wood over the previous week. Despite temperatures dipping to minus 1°C overnight, bats were still recorded flying in the evenings with soprano pipistrelle bats flying in temperatures of 0°C!

AnaLookW workshop

Providing new homes for bats:

April 2013. Members have placed bat bricks and bat boxes into the powder store/ice house at the site of the Carsington water bat box scheme to try and improve the number of hibernation opportunities for bats within the structure. The powder store/ice house had been deteriorating in condition over the past few years (although deterioration seems to have stabilised recently) and it is hoped that these new crevices will increase the number of places that bats can use. Nattererís and brown long-eared bats have been recorded hibernating by the bat group in the structure for several years now, which remains cooler than the outside temperature due to being sunk into the ground and having thick stone walls. The brown long-eared in the photo below was found hibernating in the roof in March 2013 during installation of the bricks and boxes. ĎBat bricksí are standard-sized bricks which are cast in a special mould to provide the holes as shown in the photo below.
Hibernating brown long-eared bat Installing bat bricks in the ice house at Carsington

March 2013 - Carsington Bat Box Check

There was a good turnout for this bat box check and the bats didn't disappoint either. Approximately 19 noctules were found in a single box (see below) and two pipistrelles were also found. 7% of boxes were occupied and 26% had been used since last year. An old powder store was serving as a winter respite for 2 Natterer's bats and a brown long-eared bat.

Checking a bat box A bat box full of noctules

February 2013 - Poker's Leys Bat Box Check

This bat box check was delayed due to snow earlier in the year, but a bit of rain didn't put everyone off this time. A group of members in wellies and waterproofs checked 58 bat boxes and found two Leisler's bats and thirty-two soprano pipistrelles, with one box containing an estimated 27 individuals. 38% of boxes had been used by bats over the past year and 9% were occupied on the day.

Checking a hibernation box A female Leisler's bat

February 2013 - Railway Tunnel Hibernation Survey

A group of DBCG members hopped over the border into Leicestershire to undertake a hibernation survey of a disused railway tunnel. We have been undertaking this survey for a few years now and bat numbers this year were similar to previous years. This year we found 14 bats of several species, including brown long-eared, Daubenton's, whiskered and several Natterer's bats as pictured below.

Natterer's bat in hibernation DBCG members preparing for a hibernation survey

February 2013 - DBCG Visit the University of Derby's Go Green Week

On 13th February 2013 Marian Mackinnon and Joelle Bryan from the bat group set up a table display at the University of Derby's Go Green week event at the city campus. It was well attended with a steady flow of passing interest from students and lecturers. Thank you to everyone who provided display material. The pots of poo went down especially well, but we were outshone by the presence of a live barn owl. If anyone would like to take on the challenge of putting together new display boards for future events it would be much appreciated, please get in touch.

DBCG Visit the University of Derby's Go Green Week