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Welcome to the NBG Blog.


Here you can find an up to date report of all of our Bat Group goings on. Anyone is welcome to contribute, so if you are interested in writing something, do get in contact!

By Nicola Faulks, Feb 28 2019 10:00PM

Thankyou to Tina WIffen for the update and to Will Walton for the photographs.

The last set of NBMP hibernation surveys for this season took place on Sat 23rd Feb. We had a full team, with people from four bat groups, and we managed to cover all eleven adits in one day. The weather was kind to us for a change and the cake was up to the normal high standard too, thanks Ray.

A record 18 bats were found, the most ever on one day at these sites. I wonder if the mild weather is making them more visible? I'm sure some of them have been out to forage, especially as so many were near to the portals. Twelve bats were less than 10m from the entrance, three between 10-20m and three deeper. Of these, two Daubenton's bats, at 81m and 43m, were in the same locations as in January, suggesting they have not moved at all.

Interestingly we found nine Natterer's bats, the most in a single survey ever, we saw five in January but only two in December. Natterer's bats used to be the most frequently recorded bat when we started these surveys but recently has been the least numerous bat, until Saturday. We recorded seven Daubenton's bats and two brown long-eared bats.

The Daubenton's bat in the highest adit that has been moving between 81m and 91m in was still at 81m where we last saw it (I’m sure this is the same bat…), the brown long-eared bat had moved again, it was found deep in the arching about 9m in.

On the last survey we had two Natterer’s bats in the entrance to one adit; on Saturday one of those had moved within the same site, another was found next door, the reverse to the last survey.

Three Natterer’s bats and two Daubenton’s bats were found in one adit, the second highest count for this site (six were found in March 2018), all within 10m of the portal.

Our three lower sites held four Natterer’s bats in one, a Daubenton’s bat in another and a Daubenton’s bat was still present in the third at 43m.

In the last sites we checked the Daubenton's bat found above the gate was still there and a second bat was found deeper into this site, only the second time two bats have been found at the same time here. The new site still had a bat in it! The brown long -eared bat found previously had not moved.

Moth count was 217 heralds and 12 tissues, high counts but we did check all 11 sites in one day.

Thanks again for your help, and for lovely cake!

By Nicola Faulks, Feb 27 2019 12:30PM

The February/March issue of the Northumbrian magazine features a lovely article, written by Anthony Toole, who attended two harp trapping sessions with Northumberland Bat Group. He came to Bolam Lake and to Gosforth Park, where he watched the trapping session in progress.

Do give the article a read, it can be found HERE! There are some lovely pictures and a few names you might recognise.

By Nicola Faulks, Feb 12 2019 02:33PM

Our latest hibernation survey took place on 8th February 2019, the weather was extreme at times, so a big thank you to those who braved the elements. I have never seen as much water tipped out of a pair wellies! But on the plus side we did have excellent cake…

Brown Long Eared Bat
Brown Long Eared Bat

We found nine bats and that’s without being able to get to one of our best sites (we did try) so a really good count.

In the highest adit, the Daubenton's bat that has been moving between 81m and 91m in was still at 81m (I’m sure this is the same bat…) and the two brown long-eared bats that were hanging openly had gone, one brown long-eared was found in a crevice, eventually, the second was hiding.

One bat, a Natterer’s bat, that had been in the same adit and crevice since 04/12/2018 had gone, however two Natterer’s bats were found in the entrance to the neighbouring adit. Has this bat gone next door, or is that too obvious?

A Natterer’s bat was found in one of our (usually) well used low level adits, the first for this year, unusual as this tends to be a good bat site. Two Daubenton’s bats were found in another lower altitude site. Last month a Daubenton's bat was found at 43m, only the second bat ever found in this adit, that bat was still there and a Daubenton’s bat was also found at 14m. We have surveyed this adit 16 times now and only found a bat on 4 occasions.

The new site, found in January, still had a bat in it! The bat found in January had gone but a brown long-eared bat was found further in, potentially the same bat. This site has been checked in Jan 2014, 2016 and 2017 and Feb 2017 without any bats until this year.

Moth count was 166 heralds and 7 tissues. Less than January but we counted different sites and it is possible the bats have been snacking….

By Nicola Faulks, Jan 23 2019 08:26PM

The first set of NBMP hibernation surveys have now been completed. We had enough people for two teams for the January surveys, including new surveyors, a new pair of waders and a new pair of wellies!

In the highest adit surveyed, we found two brown long-eared bats (both had moved from 23/12/2018) and one Daubenton's bat, we have seen three bats on all counts this year. On 04/12/2018 a Daubenton's bat was found 81m into the adit, on 23/12/2018 one was at 91m (into the adit) and by 12/01/2019 one was back at 81m, in the same spot. I would love to know if this really is the same bat.

Daubenton's bat in the adit
Daubenton's bat in the adit

Our other well used adit held fewer bats. In January we refound one Natterer's bat which had not moved since 23/12/2018 and a Daubenton's bat in a new crevice. We recorded one Natterer's bat and three Daubenton's bats on 23/12/2018, so we lost two bats, either they were hiding or they had moved.

No bats were seen in three of the usual adits, despite searching one much further than ever before, as the water level is now below wader depth! A bat was found in one of the lower altitude adits, a Daubenton's bat at 43m in, only the second bat ever found in this adit, the other was a Natterer's bat seen in January and February 2015! We have surveyed this adit 15 times now and found a bat on just three occasions.

In the other valley system, on 12/01/2018 the Daubenton's bat was not where we left it in December and was not refound. Team 2 went into a culvert which doesn't get checked much as it never seems to have bats in it; however a brown long-eared was recorded this time! We have surveyed this site in January 2014, 2016 and 2017 and February 2017 and not seen a bat there before.

Brown long eared bat
Brown long eared bat

We also saw a lot of moths, with a total count of 255 heralds and 18 tissues in January (two types of moth!). The highest herald counts in individual adits were 74, 51, 35 and 22 with heralds recorded in all 10 sites surveyed; the tissues were found across 7 adits with a high of 8 in one site.

Thanks to all three teams for your help, what amazing results!

By Nicola 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.

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