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Nathusius’ pipistrelle Pilot Project 2014

The most recent postings appear at the top of the page.


November 2014 - The pilot is now complete!

The weather has turned too cold to trap any further bats and so the Nathusius' pipistrelle pilot project has been completed for the year. We don't think we have caught any Nathusius' pipistrelles in Derbyshire this year but we have confirmed them at a new site. There was a single bat caught for which we are awaiting confirmation from DNA analysis.
There are a couple of data sets from the AnaBat Express detector yet to analyse which may give us additional information. This will be done over the winter. For now, we are waiting for the results of the DNA sample which was taken from the individual. After that we are waiting for the Bat Conservation Trust to publish the report from all the data collected from the bat groups which took part in the pilot study.
Once the report is available we will post a news item on our homepage. Project Leader's Bill and Matt have rounded up the results from the Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire Nathusius' pipistrelle project.

In Derbyshire, 25 surveys were undertaken over the summer, 28 people got involved in the surveys. 132 bats of 7 species were caught.

In Nottinghamshire, 39 surveys were undertaken with 44 people getting involved. 302 bats of 9 species were caught.

Nationwide 87 fur samples taken from Nathusius' pipistrelles have been submitted for stable isotope analysis.

October 2014 - Nathusius' Recorded at new site

Whilst we were trapping at Carsington Reservoir early in October, we placed the bat group's new AnaBat Express bat detector close to where we were trapping. We left it there for 3 nights. It was worthwhile, as we recorded the distinctive calls of Nathusius' pipistrelle!
Over the 3 nights, 6 passes were recorded and two of the recordings were made fairly on the evenings suggesting that a roost site isn't too far away. We'll be back to this site next spring to see if we can track these scarce bats any further.
Nathusius' pipistrelle echolocation calls

Some of the Nathusius' pipistrelle calls recorded at Carsington Reservoir.

October 2014 - Staunton Harold Reservoir

As this project comes to a close it is becoming harder to find suitable nights for trapping in this autumn weather. We gave it a go on Friday 19th October at Staunton Harold Reservoir. It started out as a promising night with a warm still evening and some pipistrelle activity around one of the traps. It didn't last long and the wind really picked up and as the rain set in we decided to pack up. Before that we caught a single Daubenton's bat (below) in the trap by the water's edge.
Daubenton's bat at Staunton Harold Reservoir

The Daubenton's bat we caught at Staunton Harold Reservoir.

October 2014 - Foremark Reservoir

We're in the last few days of trapping for this project and 4 members went to the southern end of Foremark reservoir into the Nature Reserve area. Two soprano pipistrelles were caught early on just after the traps were set up but following the early burst of activity there was barely any activity and no further bats caught as a result.
There are a couple more dates for trapping planned but we will have to see how the weather pans out. Watch this space.
Harp Trap in place at Foremark Reservoir

Daniel Hargreaves and Bill Cove set up Acoustic Lures at the Harp Traps in place at Carsington Reservoir.

October 2014 - Carsington Water

Following the recording of a Nathusius' pipistrelle less than 100m from the car on a bat detector by our Chairman at Carsington Reservoir last week, project leader Bill Cove headed out the next day to scope out the site for places to position the harp traps.
8 surveyors spent the first night of October positioned close to the shoreline on the visitor centre side of the reservoir. We were joined by project co-ordinator Daniel Hargreaves, who has been visiting each of the groups taking part in the project over the summer. Dan set up his own lure with a different sequence of recordings at one of the traps.
It was a strange night; hardly any pipistrelles were heard on the detector and despite playing Nathusius' social calls all night, we didn't catch a single pipistrelle!

We did however catch 31 Myotis bats! Mainly Natterer's but a good number of whiskered and a single Daubenton's.
A couple of the bats we caught had mud deposits on their wing membranes and ears which suggested they had been underground and may well have come from a swarming site. With the Via Gellia approximately 5km over the hill there is a strong possibility that these bats had been swarming earlier in the evening. A great night's catch (the largest number so far) but strange that no pipistrelles were caught. Not that we're complaining!!

Harp Trap in place at Carsington Reservoir Daniel Hargreaves sets up his Acoustic Lure at a Harp Trap

Daniel Hargreaves and Bill Cove set up Acoustic Lures at the Harp Traps in place at Carsington Reservoir.

September 2014 - Surveying at Serpentine

Bill Cove ventured out solo one evening this month to the Serpentine lake at Staunton Harold Hall to see if any Nathusius' were kicking about. A nice male noctule bat which was quite aggressive having just been caught in mid-flight was processed but no Nathusius'.
Harp Trap in place at Serpentine Lake A male noctule bat caught in one of the Harp Traps

Harp Trap in place at Serpentine Lake and a male noctule that was caught.

August 2014 - Our largest catch yet

On 14th August we were back at Staunton Harold Reservoir, this time on the northern edge close to the dam wall. 5 members ventured out on a really nice warm calm evening. We had high hopes when a soprano pipistrelle landed in one of the harp traps before the lure had been switched on. It turned out to be our largest catch yet with 18 bats of 3 species. A single whiskered (below), two common pipistrelles and the rest soprano pipistrelles including several juveniles. No sign of any Nathusius' passing through despite going until the early hours of the morning.
whiskered bat in the hand One of the Harp Traps in situ

The whiskered bat being processed and one of the Harp Traps in situ.

August 2014 - Getting excited about ratios

On 4th August 11 bats of 5 species were caught at Kedleston park just north of Derby City, including a bat which at first was thought to be a Nathusius' pipistrelle. However upon measuring the ratio between the 5th finger and forearm it was considered unlikely as the ratio came to 113.9%, well under the 125% that would have made it a Nathusius'. It will be interesting to see what the results from the DNA come back as!

July 2014 - Trapping Restarts

We have re-started trapping along with our co-team of Nottinghamshire Bat Group following the all-clear from the Bat Conservation Trust. During the two trapping sessions of the month in Derbyshire so far, we caught 17 bats of three species (mostly soprano pipistrelles with 2 Daubenton's and 1 common pipistrelle). Our next dates for trapping are in August. Watch this space for updates!

June 2014 - Trapping Takes A Break

The trapping of our sites has been paused for this month whilst female bats are giving birth to their young. We will be re-starting trapping later next month. In the meantime we are busy getting out and about with bat detectors and placing our new AnaBat Express bat detector to try and locate new records and new sites for Nathusius pipistrelle.

May 2014 - Nathusius' pipistrelle Pilot Project

Two members went to trap at Staunton Harold Reservoir on the 19th May.
Two new species of bat for the project were caught in the harp traps, a noctule and Natterer's. We also caught a Daubenton's and a soprano pipistrelle.

Noctule bat takes flight during release A Natterer's bat we caught in one of the Harp Traps

Bill releases the noctule bat and the Natterer's bat we caught.

May 2014 - First Nathusius' pipistrelle record of 2014

See bottom of page for the background to this project.
A Nathusius' pipistrelle was recorded on a handheld bat detector at Melbourne Pool on Sunday 11th May, which is one of our sites we are hoping to gain access to in order to undertake trapping. The pool has several records of foraging Nathusius' and we are hoping to use this site as one of our main two (Willington Gravel Pits being the other thanks to the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust).
The village of Melbourne's Pool

May 2014 - Nathusius' pipistrelle Pilot Project Survey 4

See bottom of page for the background to this project.
On Saturday 10th May, whilst the majority of Europe was sitting on dry indoor sofas taking in Eurovision, the fourth trapping session for Derbyshire was taking place, mainly in the rain. The net was located at Staunton Harold Reservoir. Despite the weather conditions being the worse of any of our trapping sessions, the team of 5 volunteers caught one soprano pipistrelle from which a fur sample was obtained. So far, none of our surveys have resulted in a zero catch rate!
The hunt for Nathusius pipistrelle continues.

Harp Trap at National Trust property Kedleston Hall

May 2014 - Nathusius' pipistrelle Pilot Project Survey 3

See bottom of page for the background to this project.
On Friday 9th May the third trapping session for Derbyshire took place. The net was located at National Trust property Kedleston Hall. Below Shirley checks the harp trap that was set up. The team of 4 volunteers caught three soprano pipistrelles and a Daubenton's bat.
The hunt for Nathusius pipistrelle continues.

Shirley checks the Harp Trap at National Trust property Kedleston Hall

April 2014 - Nathusius' pipistrelle Pilot Project Survey 2

On Wednesday 30th April the second trapping session for Derbyshire took place. Below Bill processes a pipistrelle bat we caught.

Harp Trap with Acoustic Lure in place

April 2014 - Nathusius' pipistrelle Pilot Project

DBCG are taking part in the Bat Conservation Trust's pilot project to survey for Nathusius' pipistrelle bats. Derbyshire is working alongside Nottinghamshire bat group at various sites in both counties.
On Monday 28th April the first trapping session for Derbyshire took place. The photos below show one of the harp traps in place with an acoustic lure, both used under licence from Natural England to help increase the chances of bats being caught in the nets and a Daubenton's bat we caught.

Harp Trap with Acoustic Lure in place A Daubenton's bat we caught in one of the Harp Traps

April 2014 - Nathusius' pipistrelle Pilot Project

The Nathusius’ pipistrelle survey is a pilot study taking place this year to assess status in trial areas with a view of trying to roll the study out to other areas (as long as funding allows) in future years with any changes and tweaks that this year’s study throws up included in the roll out. It is being co-ordinated by the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) and is a result of the National Nathusius’ pipistrelle conference which took place near Bristol last year.

Bat Groups involved are Kent Bat Group, Surrey Bat Group, South Lancashire Bat Group, Northumbria Bat Group and a joint venture by Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Bat Groups.

The survey is following a set methodology using 2 x harp traps and acoustic lures at 4 sites per county with (ideally) a survey at each of the main sites once a month through the summer. Any Nathusius’ pipistrelles caught are to be processed in a set way including taking fur clippings and attaching a forearm ring. The fur clip is to be sent for stable isotope analysis to see if that method can shed light on if the bat is a migrant or if it is part of a resident population. We will also be fur sampling a selection of common or soprano pips caught.
As its a joint venture by our groups that means we will have 2 main sites each but will be looking at trying to trap at other sites as time allows.
BCT are funding the training and the use of equipment from a grant from PTES for this specific project. Each group have 2 sets of harp traps and acoustic lures plus all the ancillary equipment needed.
BCT want the main sites to be where we have already had at least one positive Nathusius’ record and because of the logistics of doing the work, the two main sites are in the south of the county.

The training for the event co-ordinators was over the Easter weekend. During the weekend, over the two nights between 10 traps we caught 27 bats of 5 species, Natterer’s, whiskered, brown long-eared, soprano pipistrelles and more importantly 3 x Nathusius’. So the trap/lure combination does work, and when you realise that the temperatures dropped away quickly on both nights to the 6°C range, they were far from ideal conditions.

Harp Trap with Acoustic Lure in place
Harp Trap with Acoustic Lure in place.