BTO: Help map Norfolk’s Bats

No.: 2013-14 April 2013

The Norfolk Bat Survey (www.batsurvey.org) would like to give anyone in Norfolk a unique opportunity to take advantage of recent advances in technology for automating the capture and analysis of acoustic data for bats. By doing so, you will help us rewrite our understanding of bats in the county. In return for your help, we will let you know what species of bats were recorded, in an area that is of interest to you.

Amy Lewis/BTO

To achieve this, we have set up a number of ‘Bat Monitoring Centres’ across the county, from which you can borrow equipment for a few days to take part in the survey. Please note that this survey requires three different points, ideally at least 200-metres apart, to be surveyed on consecutive nights within a 1-km square.

Dr Stuart Newson, BTO Senior Research Ecologist (and project manager for Norwich Bat Group) commented: “It is really exciting to have an opportunity to work in partnership with local bat groups, local and national organisations and local libraries, to improve our understanding of bats in the county” He added “This is a real opportunity for local communities, landowners, reserve managers and individuals who are interested to take part and find out what bats are present in their area”.

Nida Al Fulaij, PTES Grants Manager, said that “PTES is delighted to be supporting this exciting project. The potential long-term benefits of supporting volunteers with equipment and advice will greater enhance our understanding of, and potential to conserve, the bats of Norfolk.”

Whilst we hope to build on this project in following years, we are limited by the number of detectors in this first pilot year, so if you are interested in taking part, you need to be quick in expressing interest, and reserving your 1-km square to survey at our online survey map www.batsurvey.org/sign-up. After selecting a 1-km square (or squares if interested in covering more than one square), you will be given a web link to a site where you can reserve a detector to use from the most convenient Bat Monitoring Centre to you.

Where’s your closest Bat Monitoring Centre?

Note we hope to set up three additional centres close to Hethersett, Aylsham and Caister.

Last year we recorded 11 bat species in the Norwich area alone (see editors comments), including Nathusius’ Pipistrelle, which was recorded at 9% of surveyed 1-km squares, but previously reported from only a handful of sites in the county. Help us find out what’s in the rest of Norfolk.

Notes for Editors

  1. The Norfolk Bat Survey is led by the BTO and Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service (local records centre) in partnership with the Norfolk Barbastelle Study Group, Norfolk Woodland Myotis Study Group, Norwich Bat Group, National Trust (Oxburgh Hall and Sheringham Park), Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (Welney Wetland Centre), Wheatfen (Ted Ellis reserve), Sculthorpe Moor (Hawk & Owl Trust), Broads Authority (How Hill), RSPB (Titchwell) and Norfolk County Council local libraries (Attleborough, Watton, Wells, Swaffham, Dereham, Gaywood, Long Stratton) and the University of East Anglia.
  2. This project builds on “The Big Norwich Bat Project” – a collaboration between Norwich Bat Group, University of East Anglia and BTO and where a detector is brought to you! In 2012 the project surveyed 167 of 196 1-km squares in the wider Norwich area, generating >30,000 high quality records to feed into county and UK reporting. We are repeating this survey in 2013. If you live in the Norwich area, please have a look at our Big Norwich Bat Project coverage map.
  3. We are extremely grateful to the People’s Trust for Endangered Species and Natural England (Defra Fund for Biodiversity Recording in the Voluntary Sector) for funding this pilot survey this year.PTES is a UK conservation charity created in 1977 to ensure a future for endangered species throughout the world. Working to protect some of our most threatened wildlife species and habitats, it provides practical conservation support through funding research and internships and providing grant-aid for world-wide and native mammals species’ conservation. www.ptes.org

    The Defra fund for biodiversity recording in the voluntary sector is a funding programme established to deliver part of the published government commitment in the Natural Environment White Paper to support the voluntary sector’s role in engaging with the natural environment and contributing to our understanding of its state and trends.  In total, the government has committed £1.2 million over three years to a series of funding schemes including support for the National Biodiversity Network, and research to support volunteer recorders and data use.  These funds have been allocated to a series of activities, one of which is the Defra fund. This fund is administered by Natural England and totals £398,000 over a three year period 2011–14.

    About Natural England. Natural England is the government’s independent adviser on the natural environment. Established in 2006 our work is focused on enhancing England’s wildlife and landscapes and maximising the benefits they bring to the public.

    – We establish and care for England’s main wildlife and geological sites, ensuring that over 4,000 National Nature Reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest are looked after and improved.

    – We work to ensure that England’s landscapes are effectively protected, designating England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and advising widely on their conservation.

    – We run Environmental Stewardship and other green farming schemes that deliver over £400 million a year to farmers and landowners, enabling them to enhance the natural environment across two thirds of England’s farmland.

    – We fund, manage, and provide scientific expertise for hundreds of conservation projects each year, improving the prospects for thousands of England’s species and habitats.

    – We promote access to the wider countryside, helping establish National Trails and coastal trails and ensuring that the public can enjoy and benefit from them.

Contact Details

Dr Stuart Newson
(BTO Senior Ecologist)

Office: 01842 750050
(9am to 5.30pm)
Email: norfolkbatsurvey@gmail.com

Twitter:  @BatsNorfolk
Facebook:  Norfolk Bat Survey

Paul Stancliffe
(BTO Media Manager)

Office: 01842 750050
(9am to 5.30pm)
Mobile: 07585 440910 (anytime)
Email: press@bto.org

Images are available for use alongside this News Release.
Please contact images@bto.org quoting reference 2013-14

The BTO has an ISDN line available for radio interviews.
Please contact us to book an interview
Office: 01842 750050

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