To find out more about what bats use our nature reserves, either to roost in, forage in or commute through, we have been carrying out various monitoring techniques.
11 of our nature reserves now have bat boxes on them. Some boxes are kindly purchased as part of our sponsor a bat box project and others through various grants and donations. The boxes are a really useful way of montoring what bats are using the nature reserves and give us an insight as to the species diversity, what time of year they use the nature reserve and guide us in how we manage the reserves.
Recent finds are:
Droppings - a lovely layer in this box indicates that bats in a reasonable number have used this box in the past year.
To sponsor a bat box or for more information about it please click here.
Monitoring of bat activity on our nature reserves is taking place through the use of passive bat detectors. These are specialised bits of equipment that can be left on our nature reserves for days at a time and programmed to record bat activity during the night. The recordings are then passed through a software programme to help determine what species of bat it might have been.
Can you spot the microphone?
We are gaining a real insight as to what bats are using our nature reserves although a lot more recording needs to take place as we still don't know what bats can be found on all of our nature reserves.
Transects are being developed as another way of monitoring bat species on our nature reserves. A specific route is created and replicated over a long period of time. Bat calls are recorded and analysed to determine what species are there. By comparing data over the years we can see how bat numbers and species vary over time giving us an indication of how they are doing.
Sonogram showing a noctule call
Sonogram showing a common pipistrelle (calling at 45 Khz) and a soprano pipistrelle (calling at 55Khz)
The Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust have been involved in various monitoring projects on our nature reserves as part of national and regional monitoring projects or MSc studies with volunteers from the Derbyshire Bat Group.
Phil Brown carried out a MSc on the species distribution of the newly discovered Alcathoe bat. More details can be found of his work at: http://alcathoebat.blogspot.co.uk/
Phil showing us the how to identify each species
Whiskered bat (photo copyright Jack Riggall)
Derbyshire Bat Group (http://www.derbyshirebats.org.uk/index.php) have been helping survey our reserves as part of several projects they have been taking part in - BCT's Nathusius survey, Barbarstelle survey and autumn swarming surveys.
To see some amazing videos of bat surveys on an LRWT nature reserve please copy and paste the links below (Copyright to Derbyshire Bat Group):
Harp trap - used to catch bats while they are out and about
After several weeks of passive recording on a nature reserve, a barbastelle bat was finally recorded. With help from the Derbyshire bat group mist nets were put up and this beautiful female barbastelle (named Sindy by one volunteer) was caught.
For more information please contact 0116 248 7362 or e-mail [email protected]
A bat license is required to handle bats, check bat boxes as well as a project license to trap them - see Natural England - https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/natural-england or the Bat Conservation Trust - http://www.bats.org.uk/ for more information.
We do not do consultancy work. Please contact Natural England for a list of consultants who may be able to help you.