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By Nic Faulks, Sep 12 2018 06:33PM

The last Bat Care Bulletin – Number 72 (September 2018) landed in my inbox a couple of weeks ago; on reading it, I realised there was a very familiar story, a call out on our turf, concerning a brown long eared bat and Sam Talbot. So reproduced below, for all to read, is the story as written by Sam!

Kielder Water & Forest Park is a popular tourist spot to get away from it all. It's a very rural and remote area that has excellent bat habitat, with square miles of woodland and wetland. The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) say the star-studded skies above Kielder are the darkest in England, so they're perfect for brown long-eared. The quantities and ferocity of midges in that area of the world are legendary. The only limiting factor to exponential population growth of bat species there is roost space (as the area is mostly plantation wood and there are very few structures). Barry the bat, as named by the workers who found her, thought she had found a perfect spot in a rusty Portakabin. Which it was ... right until it was relocated to the banks of the Tyne at Newcastle Business Park, fifty miles away!

The irony is most people from Newcastle have at some point taken a holiday to Kielder and stayed in temporary accommodation such as a lodge or Portakabin. Barry (or should it be Barri?) just did it the other way round! She is entirely fine and is going back home tonight, having spent 2 days resting up and eating waxworms in a box in my dining room.

By Nic Faulks, Aug 29 2018 07:06PM

On Sunday 5th August we trapped and fitted a tracking tag to a juvenile male Nathusius pipistrelle and were hopeful that we would be able to locate a roost but despite dedicating over 80 hours, between an enthusiastic team of volunteers; covering the whole of the Druridge Bay area from Shilbottle right down to Newbiggin, and being fooled by 8 electric fences, 2 pumping stations and numerous house alarms we were disappointed not to locate the day roost. The bat was located foraging over Cresswell Pond for the first two nights but then not heard again. It is possible that the tag failed prematurely or that the bat just left the area.

It has been an unpredictable year with the prolonged cold weather into late Spring and because of this we were unable to do much trapping before stopping for the maternity season break. We have monitored both of the sites where previously Nathusius pipistrelle colonies have formed during the summer but neither of them have had Nathusius using them this year; temperature data and remote detector data from the coast roost will be analysed and compared with last year's data to see if any conclusions can be drawn as to why this might have been.

The more encouraging news is that the coast "mating roost" is active and a male was recorded last night trying to attract females to his roost.

We are planning to carry out some more trapping sessions during the next few weeks concentrating primarily on migration. Proposed dates are:

Mon 3rd Sept

Fri 21st Sept

Sun 23rd Sept

Please let me (Hazel) know if you would like to help out on any of the above occasions. You can use the contact form on this website, or email me directly if you have my email address. Sites, depending on weather and access, will include Ladyburn Lake, River Wansbeck, Bolam Lake, Gosforth Park NR and QEII Country Park.

By Nic Faulks, Aug 15 2018 08:33PM

Sometimes you get lucky and get a roost visit close to home where you can build up a relationship over the years.

Somewhere near Rothbury, in an old house, a very nice roost owner with an excellent sense of humour reported bats in the kitchen regularly throughout the summer. I first went out under the roost visit scheme at the end of August 2016. The roost was obvious – droppings covered the walls of a small extension, and were noticeable inside around the loft hatch.

A long dark urine stain went down one kitchen wall.

We agreed to keep an eye on the situation and try to clean out the worst of the build up of droppings over the winter.

Nearly a year went by and then last Summer the bats were back and regularly joining the family for supper, including one night sitting on the roost owner’s husband’s shoulder whilst he ate.

With some cunning wall-top yoga I managed to block up most of the holes on the inside of the dining room, including above the Aga where some very mummified bats were found.

The front of the kitchen with roost entrances indicated
The front of the kitchen with roost entrances indicated

The season came and went, with nobody being overly keen to disturb whatever mound of poo was behind the loft hatch above the kitchen.

In April this year we took the plunge, and with Graeme’s appreciated help we crawled into a space measuring at most 1.5m high by 2m wide by 4m long to see what was happening in our roost.

The back of the kitchen with roost entrances indicated
The back of the kitchen with roost entrances indicated

By tinawiffen, Jul 26 2018 02:32PM

Friday was our annual bat emergence count at Brinkburn Priory in the Coquet valley, a lovely site cared for by English Heritage. The Priory is known to support at least five bat species.

It was a warm, still night when 17 bat group members, including some new members, met to carry out the count. As it is a big complicated site, lots of surveyors mean we can get a much better understanding of how bats are using the Priory and as we had so much help, the Manor House was surveyed too.

The total number of bats emerging from the Priory was 365, with Daubenton’s bat and soprano pipistrelle the most numerous. Natterer’s bat, common pipistrelle and brown long-eared bat were present too. We recorded new exit points in the door canopy and from the roof, so as always, added more to our knowledge of how bats use the church. This is the highest count we have recorded for Brinkburn Priory, the next highest count was 189 bats in June 2014.

The Manor House was surveyed too, with eight exit points found, with common pipistrelle, soprano pipistrelle and at least one Myotis bat species emerging, with a count of 16+ bats recorded.

Thanks to everyone who came and helped, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.


By Nic Faulks, Mar 19 2018 07:28PM

The AGM took place as usual at the Hancock or Great North Museum, Newcastle. The attendance was good with 16 members turning up (some from Durham Bat Group too). The evening started with coffee and biscuits and some socialising, followed by the AGM. The AGM minutes will be posted on the website in the Member’s Area, so will not be gone into detail here, but suffice it to say, the AGM agenda was covered quite quickly and the committee positions elected and filled. This year we have too new general committee members, so we would like to welcome Mandy and Jo to the committee.

Following the AGM bits, there was another short coffee break, followed by Hugh Watson’s talk on bats at sea. Hugh has had some SM2 detectors out on the islands of Coquet; Inner Farne, Brownsman (both part of the Farne Islands); and Holy Island. Over the years he has collated the data and has tried to answer a number of hypotheses. One being: does the Nathusius’ pipistrelle migrate across the North Sea to our coast, therefore will there be a significant increase in recordings of Nathusius on an easterly wind, which happens with migratory (or lost) birds. Ultimately however, he found that there was no obvious relationship between the number of Nathusius calls and wind direction, nor wind speed.

What was also interesting about his results were the species that he was recording out on these islands. Bat pass numbers were low, but it seems that some species, even myotis, may be flying out to sea to forage, on calm nights. Interesting also that the detector also recorded a Leisler’s bat, a species often hotly debated as to its residential status in Northumberland.

On a more global scale, Hugh also talked about the likely migration route of Nathusius pipistrelle from Europe to the South of England, Holland to Kent for example, and compared this route with the location of current and proposed wind farms. It will be very interesting to see if wind farms (at sea) are having an impact on migratory bats, but how could this be determined?

All in all it was a really interesting talk. It will also be good to find out what the latest set of results from his monitoring are, because not all of the data collated to date has been analysed – so watch this space, if we get an update!

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