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Archived News & Events

This page contains archived items from 2015.

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Merry Christmas

Batty Christmas

Spooky goings-on

Four members took the bat group stand to Elvaston Castle to spread the good word about bats at their Halloween event. The stand was really popular with the visiting families with children getting involved in making batty objects and learning about bats in general. Thanks to Marian, Ian, Helen & Ean for manning the stand and making it so successful.
Bat group stand at Elvaston Castle

Bat group stall at Elvaston Castle

Group reaches caving community

On the last weekend of September, DBCG had its inaugral visit to Hidden Earth, the UK's National Caving Conference. Member's Jess & Steve each gave a lecture on the Saturday morning on bats underground and our autumn swarming project.
Both talks recieved lots of questions and raised several discussions about bats underground. We disseminated some of the results from the current dataset.
We also had a bat group stand present at the event with lots of free information available for the 300 or so caving delegates at the event including bat cookies baked by Jess!

Derbyshire bat group at Hidden Earth caving conference
Above: Our stand at the National Caving Conference, Hidden Earth.

Reflections Magazine Article

We've got a piece about our work in the current edition of Reflections Magazine. Click the image below to download and read - we're on page 34.
Reflections Magazine

Hospitalised bat

One of our members was called to collect a grounded bat from the Royal Derby Hospital. This Brandt's bat was found on the 5th floor in the cafe! It appears to be healthy and is being fed up on mealworms and we're hoping to release it in the next day or two.
Brandt's bat collected from Royal Derby Hospital

New Video

Watch our new video of Leisler's bats emerging from a bat box recorded this week. DBCG Bat Videos.

Group buys second harp trap

DBCG bought their first harp trap in 2001 which made up 58% of our expenditure that year. As time has progressed, our survey and research work has increased. Last year we borrowed a second harp trap to enable us to undertake further work on our underground sites project. The committee made the decision to purchase a second trap a few weeks ago and we've just received it. We're looking forward to undertaking more research this autumn.
Harp trap outside Derbyshire cave

22nd February - New Record

NBMP hibernation surveys continue with record numbers of bats found in two of our sites.
Bat group members survey Derbyshire mine for hibernating bats

15th February - Wellies and Wells

11 members met to undertake another NBMP survey for hibernating bats in south Derbyshire. Find out what happened.
Bat group members slide down a rope to a dripping well

Merry Christmas

Batty Christmas

Spooky goings-on

Four members took the bat group stand to Elvaston Castle to spread the good word about bats at their Halloween event. The stand was really popular with the visiting families with children getting involved in making batty objects and learning about bats in general. Thanks to Marian, Ian, Helen & Ean for manning the stand and making it so successful.
Bat group stand at Elvaston Castle

Bat group stall at Elvaston Castle

Group reaches caving community

On the last weekend of September, DBCG had its inaugral visit to Hidden Earth, the UK's National Caving Conference. Member's Jess & Steve each gave a lecture on the Saturday morning on bats underground and our autumn swarming project.
Both talks recieved lots of questions and raised several discussions about bats underground. We disseminated some of the results from the current dataset.
We also had a bat group stand present at the event with lots of free information available for the 300 or so caving delegates at the event including bat cookies baked by Jess!

Derbyshire bat group at Hidden Earth caving conference
Above: Our stand at the National Caving Conference, Hidden Earth.

Reflections Magazine Article

We've got a piece about our work in the current edition of Reflections Magazine. Click the image below to download and read - we're on page 34.
Reflections Magazine

Hospitalised bat

One of our members was called to collect a grounded bat from the Royal Derby Hospital. This Brandt's bat was found on the 5th floor in the cafe! It appears to be healthy and is being fed up on mealworms and we're hoping to release it in the next day or two.
Brandt's bat collected from Royal Derby Hospital

New Video

Watch our new video of Leisler's bats emerging from a bat box recorded this week. DBCG Bat Videos.

Group buys second harp trap

DBCG bought their first harp trap in 2001 which made up 58% of our expenditure that year. As time has progressed, our survey and research work has increased. Last year we borrowed a second harp trap to enable us to undertake further work on our underground sites project. The committee made the decision to purchase a second trap a few weeks ago and we've just received it. We're looking forward to undertaking more research this autumn.
Harp trap outside Derbyshire cave

25th April 2015 - Spring wood bat box check

We undertook our annual check of the bat boxes in Spring wood Derbyshire Wildlife Trust nature reserve. A new record was set - 134 bats were found - this is the largest number of bats found during any of our bat box checks in over 30 years! All bats were soprano pipistrelles with the exception of two noctule bats. One bat box contained an estimated 60 soprano pipistrelles but it was impossible to count them, so member Steve Roe went back in the evening to count them emerging and 84 emerged! 50% of the boxes had been used by bats in the past year, 33% were occupied by bats on the day.
One of the boxes had a nuthatch nesting inside it and it had reduced the size of the hole with mud!
noctule bat found in a Derbyshire bat box 15 soprano pipistrelles in a tanglewood wedge bat box
Above, a noctule bat being processed and a box of 15 soprano pipistrelles in a tanglewood wedge bat box. Below, Steve checks a bat box in Spring wood nature reserve.
Steve Roe checks a bat box in Derbyshire

19th April 2015 - South wood bat box check

We undertook our annual check of the bat boxes on the Calke estate in south Derbyshire. We checked 52 boxes and found 42 bats. All of them were soprano pipistrelles apart from two which were identified as common pipistrelles. 15% of the boxes were occupied by bats on the day with 40% of the boxes being used in the past year.
Members check bat boxes Checking bat box in Derbyshire

12th April 2015 Ė Training

We've quite a lot of survey work ahead of us this year so we spent Sunday morning training some members how to use radio tracking equipment in the classroom before heading out in the afternoon to find a radio tag hidden somewhere in Calke Abbey. Whilst one team were out honing their tracking skills, the other team were learning how to correctly assemble, set and dismantle harp traps, including our new triple trap. Watch a timelapse of the harp trap training on our videos page.
Harp Trap Training Radio Tracking Training

11th April 2015 - Findern Footpaths Group Bat Box Check

We went to help Findern Footpaths Group to check their bat boxes which are located on the edge of the village next to the Trent and Mersey Canal. The site is now showing signs of a well-established scheme. 2 soprano pipistrelles (below) were found on the day and 28% of the boxes had evidence of being used by bats.

soprano pipistrelle at Findern

3rd April 2015 Ė Guest Speaker

We were treated to a fantastic talk by Dr Kate Barlow from the Bat Conservation Trust at our April meeting. Kate spoke about her pioneering work in differentiating common and soprano pipistrelles back in 1994. Her research eventually led to the scientific world officially acknowledging them as separate species. This merged nicely with an update to the Nathusius' pipistrelle project that we were involved with last year. The preliminary results from the project suggest that many of the UK Nathusius' pipistrelles are arriving from mainland Europe.
Dr Kate Barlow speaks about her pipistrelle research

21st March 2015 Ė BAWC Conference

We were invited to speak at the Birderís Against Wildlife Crime first ever Wildlife Crime Conference. As a bat group we have come across several bat crime cases in the county and so we decided to get the message across on how important it was to record bat sightings, especially bat roosts. If we donít know about them, we canít help with any future investigations.

As the groupís recorder, Malcolm offered to speak. Malcís talk was well received and generated lots of questions at our stand in the coffee breaks. Other speakers included wildlife presenter Chris Packham, conservation campaigner Mark Avery and Derbyshire's Police Crime Commissioner, Alan Charles. There are hopefully lots more people who now know how easy it can be for bat crimes to be committed, often unintentionally and that submitting records of bat roosts is a good starting point Ė if we donít know about a bat roost, we canít help conserve it. Find out more on the BCT Bat Crime Investigations page.
During the day our Twitter account had nearly 300 interactions and so the number of people reached will have extended far-beyond just those conference delegates.
We will be creating a bat crime page in the coming days with further information and we will keep you updated.

Birders Against Wildlife Crime Conference

Above: Delegates at the conference with Henry the Hen Harrier.
Below: Malcolm speaks with Chris Packham about bats and Marian is interviewed by BAWC.

Our recorder Malcolm chats to Chris Packham about bats in Derbyshire Newsletter Editor Marian being interviewed to BAWC for future material

Committee member Marian was interviewed for future material to be used by the organisers Birder's Against Wildlife Crime 'BAWC'. You can listen to the interview at the link below. Marian is at 18 minutes in.https://soundcloud.com/bawc/vox-pops-eyes-in-the-field-buxton-march-2015
BAWC Vox Pop

March 2015 - Re-stringing Harps

Two lucky members who had excess holiday to take from work and a third who has that long-term break also known as retirement, decided to spend a weekday repairing broken strings on four harp traps used by the group. The two traps used in the Nathusiusí pipistrelle pilot project on loan from the Bat Conservation Trust and a further two traps used by the group in our swarming sites surveys each had a few string repairs required. One of those winter jobs that tends to be put off until slightly warmer weather due to the need to do it outside and the amount of time it takes. It took a couple of hours to do Ė itís quite a fiddly process Ė but they are now ready for the 2015 season.
Watch the Timelapse footage here!
re-stringing an Austbat harp trap re-stringing a harp trap

8th March 2015 - Carsington Water Bat Box Check

Last weekend, fifteen members met at Carsington Water to check the well-established bat box scheme in one of the woodlands opposite the visitor centre. The rain didn't put them off and they were rewarded with around 25 noctule bats in a single box (they only had a quick look since it was raining and weighed & measured one sat on the box lid). 23% of the boxes had evidence of use by bats and 6% were occupied on the day.
Bat Group members at Carsington Water Bat Group members checking a woodcrete bat box at Carsington Water

Above: Bat Group members check the Carsington Water bat boxes.
Below: Noctule bats tucked in a woodcrete bat box and a noctule bat having its forearm measured.

Noctule bats in a Schweglar woodcrete box Noctule bat having biometric measurements taken

28th February 2015 - National Trust caves survey

Six members were in the Dove and Manifold valleys surveying natural cave sites within the White Peak. We had been given permission to enter the caves to undertake the surveys by the National Trust.
We surveyed 3 caves and a mine entrance. Two of the caves had bats hibernating within them. 5 bats in the first (4 Daubentonís and 1 Natterer's) and 8 bats in the last (5 Natterer's, 1 Daubenton's and 2 whiskered/Brandt's). Records were submitted to the DBCG database, Staffs Ecological Records Centre, the PDNPA and National Trust. Find out more about Bats in Derbyshire Caves.
Derbyshire bat group members surveying caves in the Manifold Valley Bat Group members surveying caves in the Peak District National Park Caves owned by the National Trust

Above: Bat group members surveying caves in Dovedale and the Manifold valley of the Peak District National Park.

22nd February 2015 - NBMP Hibernation Survey

Four members were surveying two sites in the Via Gellia near Matlock in mid-Derbyshire. These two mines have been surveyed for over 10 years as part of the Bat Conservation Trustís NBMP.
This year we counted a record number of bats Ė 27 in total. We found 4 species (Nattererís, whiskered, Brandtís and brown long-eared. Interestingly we didnít find any Daubentonís bats this year.
Condensation droplets on a hibernating Brandt's bat Two hibernating Brandt's bats

Above: Condensation droplets on a Brandt's bat and a pair of Brandt's bats.
Below: Free hanging whiskered bat and a cluster of 4 whiskered/Brandt's in a crevice.

Free-hanging hibernating whiskered bat A cluster of 4 hibernating bats in Derbyshire

15th February 2015 - NBMP Hibernation Survey

11 members donned their wellies at Ticknall Limeyards on the edge of the Calke Abbey Estate owned by the National Trust. They were out to survey one of the NBMP site we visit each year. We had a collection of underground stuctures to inspect, all making up part of the limeyards. Tunnels, kilns, dripping wells and a powder store were all checked.
The structures are all small and we only ever find single numbers of bats, but this year was a good result with 4 bats of 3 species.
2 Natterer's
1 brown long-eared
1 Daubenton's
The results will be submitted to the National Bat Monitoring Programme.
Derbyshire bat group members on an NBMP hibernation survey Hibernating Natterer's bat in Derbyshire lime kiln

Above: Derbyshire Bat Group members outside a dripping well and a Natterer's bat.
Below: Hibernating brown long-eared (left) and hibernating Daubenton's bat (right).

Hibernating brown long-eared bat in Derbyshire Hibernating Daubenton's bat in dripping well

14th February 2015 - Spring Clean

The largest known brown long-eared bat roost that is monitored in the UK resides in Derbyshire. Over 250 bats can make quite a pile of droppings so two volunteers from the bat group helped the roost owner clear the growing pile of droppings from the roof void. Thin plastic sheeting laid throughout the void at the time of the last clean meant that the old polythene was bagged up and brand new sheeting laid within half an hour.
Below: one of the smaller areas of droppings before and after.
brown long-eared bat droppings from a large roost in a Derbyshire roof void New polythene plastic sheeting after the bat droppings were removed from the roof void

12th February 2015 - NBMP Hibernation Survey

9 members met after work mid-week to undertake an annual survey of a site in south Derbyshire. A quick walk across the fields and we disappeared into a woodland concealing a disused railway tunnel. A total of 10 bats were observed - 3 Natterer's, 2 Daubenton's (both below) and 4 unidentified Myotis species (identifying bats in hibernation can be really tricky).
The results will be submitted to the National Bat Monitoring Programme.
Natterer's bat in railway tunnel Daubenton's bat in railway tunnel

Above: Hibernating Natterer's bat (left) and hibernating Daubentonís bat, showing just how difficult it can be to identify bats deep in crevices (right).

8th February 2015 - Hibernation Survey

4 of us got up very early on Sunday 8th February and car-shared up to Ilam where we met 4 members of Staffordshire bat group. We had teamed up to survey a cluster of Staffordshire hibernation sites with records dating back to the 1970s. We split into two teams to cover the 8 underground structures. We found 5 species using the sites with a total of 26 bats found.
The results will be submitted to the National Bat Monitoring Programme and Staffordshire Records Centre.
Derbyshire and Staffordshire bat group members on an NBMP hibernation survey Hibernating brown long-eared bat in Staffordshire mine

Above: End of the day shot in the Manifold Valley and a brown long-eared bat.
Below: Hibernating whiskered bat (left) and hibernating Natterer's bat (right).
Note the longer slightly curved ears and the slightly red forearm colouration of the Natterer's.

Hibernating whiskered bat in Staffordshire mine Hibernating Natterer's bat in Staffordshire mine

22nd February - New Record

NBMP hibernation surveys continue with record numbers of bats found in two of our sites.
Bat group members survey Derbyshire mine for hibernating bats

15th February - Wellies and Wells

11 members met to undertake another NBMP survey for hibernating bats in south Derbyshire. Find out what happened.
Bat group members slide down a rope to a dripping well

25th January 2015 - Bat Box Check

On 25th we headed to the National Trustís Calke Abbey Estate in south Derbyshire to check the 52 or so boxes. There are a mix of boxes at this scheme with both wooden and woodcrete boxes present. Most of the bats we found were soprano pipistrelles but on the second to last box we found 5 Leislerís bats. A single common pipistrelle was identified. A total of 60 bats with 46% of the boxes having been used in the past year and 17% of the boxes containing bats on the day Ė a great result!
close up of a soprano pipistrelle found during a bat box check Leisler's bat found during a bat box check in Derbyshire

Above: Close up shots of a soprano pipistrelle (left) and Leisler's bat (right).
Below: A woodcrete bat box full of soprano pipistrelles.

a bat box full of soprano pipistrelles

24th January 2015 - Hibernation Survey

4 members braved some icy conditions on the roads up towards Buxton on Saturday 24th. They were headed for a cave which had been surveyed as part of the autumn swarming project but had never been surveyed for hibernating bats in the winter months. A far more technical cave than bat group members are accustomed to, meant two in our party were also experienced cavers and had all the kit we needed. Over 100m of passageways, chambers and crawls were explored with many beautiful formations discovered.

The complexity of the cave with high ceilings disappearing from view meant that hibernating bats were hard to find and just two were spotted, a Daubentonís and a brown long-eared (below). It is estimated that for hibernation surveys undertaken in cave systems, there are a further 9 bats not seen for each bat found so in theory there were at least 20 bats present.

bat group members in Derbyshire Owl Hole cave looking for hibernating bats Jess checks out formations in Derbyshire Owl Hole cave
bat group members descend a pitch into a chamber brown long-eared bat hibernating in Owl Hole Cave, Derbyshire 2015

18th January 2015 - Bat Box Check

Lots of bat group members enjoyed a crisp Sunday morning in woodland near Matlock to check one of our older bat box schemes. The cold weather meant a lots of smaller bats had been pushed deeper into deeper hibernation sites and so just 5 noctules were found (spread across 3 boxes). 22% of the boxes had evidence of being used by bats with 6% of the boxes occupied by bats on the day. A nice start to the year. Our next bat box check is this weekend. Check back here in a few days to see the results!
Members check a bat box in Derbyshire woodland Noctule bat found in bat box in Derbyshire woodland

Above: Members look on as a bat box is checked and a noctule bat.