These underground sites include both natural and man-made structures and in 2013 a pilot survey was undertaken to search for evidence of autumn swarming. Following that survey we decided to move the Derbyshire Underground Sites Project into a new phase - Phase II. As such, we submitted a project licence application to Natural England to enable a core team within the bat group to undertake trapping in the bat autumn swarming season and we are delighted that the licence has been granted.
The project has three main aims. These are:
At least 5 species of bat make use of underground sites during the winter hibernation period in Derbyshire. Part of the project aim is to establish the presence of Alcathoe's bat within the county (as yet unconfirmed). Recent discoveries by Leeds University have found this new species of bat Myotis alcathoe residing in the UK in Yorkshire and Sussex. This species is very similar to Brandt's and whiskered bat (both present within Derbyshire) and it is not possible to identify this species by visual identification methods. All bats are released unharmed following capture and processing at the site.
Survey results following the trapping each year have been made available to other UK bat researchers to aid in future research work. Records are also entered into the DBCG records database, a unique conservation resource for Derbyshire's bats.