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AGM and Bats at Sea: 16th March 2018

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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