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Welcome to the 2nd edition of our new and improved e-bulletin. We hope you are enjoying taking part in the NBMP surveys and that those of you taking part in the Waterway Survey are ready to get started! 

This edition has a Scottish theme in honour of our new Scottish Bat Officer Elisabeth Ferrell. Elisabeth was an NBMP intern a couple of years ago so it is great to have her back at BCT. Elisabeth was kind enough to answer some questions about her experience as a NBMP volunteer, you can read her answers in section 2. 

For those of you who have been busy carrying out Roost Counts and Field Surveys we hope you have had a good time and ask that you remember to submit the data you collected - you can either do it yourself online here or by posting the form back to us. 

Contents

1. Exciting developments in the National Bat Monitoring Programme: British Bat Survey
2. Q&A with an NBMP volunteer
3. Regional spotlight: Scotland
4. Waterway Survey starting soon
5. Upcoming NBMP workshops 
6. More dates for your diary
7. How your data contributes to bat conservation: How pipistrelles respond to increasing urbanisation
8. Other research: Bat activity in artificial light spectra
9. Pete Guest Award - voting now open
10. UK Awards for Biological Recording and Information Sharing - nominations now open

Exciting developments in the National Bat Monitoring Programme: British Bat Survey

We’re delighted to announce that a collaboration between the Bat Conservation Trust and researchers from University College London, the University of Oxford and the British Trust for Ornithology has been awarded funding from the National Environment Research Council to develop a new citizen-science bat survey for the NBMP. This survey, which we are calling the British Bat Survey, will incorporate the latest developments in monitoring technology and analysis. This will represent a major step forward for the NBMP.
 
We will be developing and piloting this survey in 2017 and 2018. Some work that is already underway:
  • A small-scale pilot in Southern Scotland, jointly run by BCT and the BTO, to test a new way for volunteers to share recordings of bat calls with us. If this pilot is successful we’ll open it up to other volunteers across Scotland.  
  • Testing a new sub-£40 full spectrum bat detector in urban and woodland habitats, to see how suited it would be to a large-scale bat monitoring programme.  
  • Developing an interactive online results system to allow volunteers to view and explore results from the survey. 
Look out for future updates in the Bat Monitoring Post.
 
Q&A with an NBMP volunteer
 
In this week's feature we talk to the BCT's new Scottish Bat Officer, Elisabeth Ferrell.

What do you do for a living?
I joined BCT as their Scottish Bat Officer in July 2017. I have just finished my first week in post! So all very exciting.

How did you first get interested in bats?
I have had an interest in all wildlife from a young age but I became really interested in bats after seeing a large roost emergence during a family holiday in Wales in 2011. It was the fact that even though I was so close, they were still so mysterious and inaccessible. This made me instantly want to learn more about these fascinating animals. 

Which is your favourite bat species and why?
Oh this is a hard question! My favourite bat that you find in Scotland is the Nathusius’ pipistrelle. The distance of some individuals' migrations are impressive. I am excited for more research to be done around their distribution in the UK. I also have to say the white-winged vampire. Specialising on feeding on bird blood - pretty cool bat! 
 
Which NBMP surveys do you take part in?
The field survey, waterway and roost count survey in the past.

What is your favourite or most memorable moment when doing a survey?
Undertaking a soprano pipistrelle roost survey in Galloway forest. I had a juvenile pip crash land on my head! He was subsequently put back into the roost to practise his flying skills again!

What are the highs and lows of doing NBMP surveys?
Getting outdoors and seeing all kinds of nature, not just bats, is always a great way to unwind from a day at work. I often see foxes and occasionally hedgehogs. Lows? I’m Scottish – the weather! Trying to get high temperatures, low wind speed and dry weather in Scotland can be surprisingly difficult in the summer! Having said this, our bats are pretty hardy.

What would you say to someone thinking about doing NBMP surveys?
They are a fantastic way to feel more connected to the wildlife and green spaces in your area. I never get bored of hearing bats on a detector. Also there is a survey for everyone so check out our website.

Do you take part in other citizen science projects? If so, which and why?
I have taken part in a few but the main one is the RSPB’s Big Garden Bird Watch which I have undertaken for over 10 years now. I love setting an hour aside with a cup of tea to relax and watch the birds in the garden – I don’t often get the time to do this on a regular basis!


If you would like to take part in a future Q&A please contact us at nbmp@bats.org.uk.
Regional Spotlight: Scotland

Each edition of the Bat Monitoring Post will look at interesting facts and figures from each region and country in the UK. Here we take a look at Scotland.

Click here to read the full summary. A few highlights are presented below.

Survey coverage
An impressive
307 10km squares have been surveyed in the Scotland on at least one of the four NBMP surveys which contribute to species population trends (Roost, Hibernation, Field and Waterway), 131 of which have been surveyed within the last 3 years.
Species recorded
In Scotland, NBMP volunteers have recorded
8 of the 17 breeding species of bat within the UK: Daubenton’s bat, Natterer’s bat, Nathusius’ pipistrelle, common pipistrelle, soprano pipistrelle, noctule, brown long-eared bat, and whiskered/Brandt's.

Peak counts
Waterway survey starting soon

If you are taking part in the Waterway Survey you should have received your survey pack in the post, or if you chose to print off your own survey materials from the BCT website then you should have received an email with instructions. If your survey pack or email has not yet arrived then please contact us at nbmp@bats.org.uk and we will resend it to you.

The survey periods are as follows:

First survey: 1st August - 15th August
Second survey: 16th August - 30th August


A list of waterway sites still up for grabs can be found here - it's not too late to sign up! 
Click here to found out more information about our surveys
Daubenton's bat - the Waterway Survey monitors this species of bat, which has a distinctive flight pattern skimming low over water. Photo Kevin Durose.
Upcoming NBMP Workshops

Fife (Fri 1st September 2017)

Click here for full details and to book online. 
More dates for your diary

Events:
International Bat Weekend   26th Aug - 27th Aug 2017
Swarming Conference    2nd-3rd Sept 2017
Scottish bat conference + AGM    18th Nov 2017


Click here for more event details

Training Courses:
Arboriculture and Bats – Scoping Surveys for Arborists   11th Sept (Clumber Park, Notts)

Arboriculture and Bats – Scoping Surveys for Arborists   21st Sept (Margam Park, South Wales)
Sound Analysis and Species Identification   6th Oct (ARUP Ofiice, London)
Arboriculture and Bats – Scoping Surveys for Arborists   12th Oct (Richmond Park, Surrey)


Click here for more training course details

How your data contributes to bat conservation: How pipistrelles respond to increasing urbanisation
 

There are many ways in which the data you collect makes a big difference to bat conservation and our knowledge of how species are faring.

In a world of rapid urbanisation and changes in land use, native species of relatively common animals such as bats have experienced alarming declines in population. Lintott et al. have analysed data collected from NBMP surveys to assess how two morphologically similar bat species respond to urban landscapes. They compared the relative prevalence of soprano pipistrelle and common pipistrelle within urban environments, studying whether the different species respond similarly to the composition of the landscape and how the distribution of these relatively common species of bat is influenced by urbanisation on a country-wide scale. They also wanted to evaluate the conservation implications of this distribution.

The authors found that despite the perceived tolerance and abundance of pipistrelle species in man-made environments, numbers of both the soprano and common pipistrelle decline with increasing amounts of urbanisation. Data analysis revealed that soprano pipistrelles were more commonly found in urban landscapes with a higher density of rivers and lakes. Common pipistrelles contrastingly were found in landscapes that contained large amounts of green space (e.g. parklands). Therefore despite the fact that these two species of pipistrelle are morphologically similar, their distribution reveals differential habitat use, suggesting that the species may respond differently to further human disruption.

They surmise that in order to attempt to prevent further decline of the common and soprano pipistrelle, there should be an increase of conservation funds dedicated to bat conservation that would be used to develop and implement landscape-scale environmental improvement programs such as effective urban green space schemes.

To see the whole paper, click
here.


Reference: Lintott, P., Barlow, K., Bunnefeld, N., Briggs, P., Gajas Roig, C. and Park, K. (2016). Differential responses of cryptic bat species to the urban landscape. Ecology and Evolution, 6(7), pp.2044-2052.
Common pipistrelle - one of the species researched using data collected by our NBMP volunteers. Photo Hugh Clark.
Other research: Bat activity in artificial light spectra
 
A recently published study by Spoelstra et al. looks at the response of bats to three different colours of artificial light – white, green and red. Bats are strongly affected by artificial night at light, which has become increasingly common. The study measured the activity of three bat species groups at eight field sites in the Netherlands, and found that bat activity in red light was most similar to that in the dark. There was no difference in response to light spectrum in Nyctalus and Eptesicus species, but there was a strong spectrum-dependant response in Myotis, Plecotus and Pipistrellus species. Both Myotis and Plecotus species avoided the white and green light, but were found in equal numbers in dark areas and red light areas. Pipistrellus species were more abundant in areas lit by white and green light, but again were found in equal numbers in dark and red light areas.
The study concluded that bat activity in areas with red light is most similar to their natural activity in the dark, while white and green light can have adverse effects. The paper suggests that where illumination is necessary in areas of natural habitat - e.g. streetlights along roads - red light could be used instead of white or green in order to mitigate the consequences of artificial light (although the best lighting for bats is no lighting!).

Read the full research paper here.


Reference: Spoelstra, K., van Grunsven, R., Ramakers, J., Ferguson, K., Raap, T., Donners, M., Veenendaal, E. and Visser, M. (2017). Response of bats to light with different spectra: light-shy and agile bat presence is affected by white and green, but not red light. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 284(1855), p.20170075.
Pete Guest Award - voting now open

In the previous bulletin we talked about the Pete Guest Award, which is presented annually to individuals who have made an outstanding practical contribution to bat conservation. The award is presented in memory of Pete Guest, who was an inspirational figure in bat conservation for more than 20 years.

Thank you to everyone who provided nominations this year. It's now time for you to vote for your favourite bat worker! We have a total of 12 candidates (inc. three joint nominations) for you to vote for this year. You can read all about the nominees and why you should vote for them here.

How to vote: You can vote either by email or by post (see details here). Please remember you can only vote once.

Deadline for voting: 17:30, Monday 21st August 2017

The award winner will be formally announced by Friday 25th August. 

If you have any questions about the voting process, please don’t hesitate to get in touch (email 
lworledge@bats.org.uk or call 020 7820 7176)

 
UK Awards for Biological Recording and Information Sharing - nominations now open

The UK awards for Biological Recording and Information Sharing are organised by the National Biodiversity Network (NBN). They are presented annually to celebrate outstanding contributions to biological recording and improving our understanding of the natural world in the UK.

There are six award categories: 
  • Gilbert White Youth Award for terrestrial and freshwater wildlife
  • Gilbert White Adult Award for terrestrial and freshwater wildlife
  • David Robertson Youth Award for marine and coastal wildlife
  • David Robertson Adult Award for marine and coastal wildlife
  • Lynne Farrell Group Award for wildlife recording
  • Adult Newcomer Award
You can nominate individuals, groups of people, organisations or even yourself.
 
How to nominate someone for the 2017 awards:  Visit the website
here and complete the nomination form explaining how your nominee is making an exceptional contribution in the world of UK biological recording.  
 
Deadline for nominations: Monday 31st July 2017

Announcement of results: The five short-listed nominees from each award category will be announced on 29th September 2017, and the final winners will be announced at a special ceremony on 16th November 2017 as part of the National Biodiversity Network's annual conference, held this year in Cardiff.

If you have any questions about the nomination or voting process, please contact the NBN (email:
support@nbn.org.uk or call 0115 924 7133).
Copyright © 2017 Bat Conservation Trust, All rights reserved.


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