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Bats are now fully active. We saw two pipistrelle bats last night feeding over a pond while we were doing great crested newt monitoring surveys near Liverpool. Female bats are gathering into maternity roosts at this time of year. Because of the unusually mild weather we have had over the winter and the very warm temperatures which we had a couple of weeks ago, bats may have started earlier. It should be an interesting year to watch bats and observe any unusual activity.
The Cheshire Bat Group have already found Lesser Horseshoe Bats in caves at Beeston Castle which is a first for half a century in Cheshire. A repeat visit last weekend found a second bat had joined the original occupant.
Cheshire bat group are hoping to walk some transects this year in order to establish how the bats are using the surrounding areas, and hopefully find more bats, bat roosts and identify dispersal routes and features which are important to the bats..

bat survey guidelines 2012

bat survey guidelines 2012

The 2nd edition of the Bat Survey Guidelines is now available for download from the BCT or a printed version can be purchased from NHBS bookstore.

The bats are back !!!

Well its looking like the bats are awake and out of hibernation. We have been seeing bats along the hedgerows and woodland edges on milder nights and have also seen Daubenton’s bats feeding over ponds while we are carrying out pond surveys for great crested newts.

Hoping to get out soon with the bat detector and see what is in the area with a bit more detail.

The mild winter may bring the maternity season forward for a few species of bats so keep your eyes open for gathering maternity roosts.

As the trees are not in full leaf it is a good time to make a note of any possible tree roosts close to where you live, as you should be able to see suitable holes and cracks in branches from the ground using binoculars.

Bat box check in Kelsall with the Cheshire bat group

The Cheshire Bat Group were out this weekend, checking bat boxes which were fitted into trees in Kelsall a few years ago. The bat boxes are fitted along a bankside woodland next to a minor road.

The surrounding habitat is suitable for a number of different species of bats and so general purpose bat boxes were fitted.

Unfortunately the only species found to be inhabiting the boxes so far are roosting birds and slugs. Never mind. Maybe the bats will find them eventually.


Nice photo slideshow of the bats in the Frio Cave, Concan, Texas. The film was created by Jeremy Deller who has an exhibition of his work shortly at London’s Hayward Gallery.

The slideshow show images of millions of bats roosting in caves and also shots of bats in flight.

Click the link below.


Further information about bats bat surveys and other ecological survey work is available by clicking the links below.

A big well done to Cheshire Bat group and a special mention for Ged Ryan who was the first to see the bat hanging from the roof.

The group were checking caves on Sunday as part of the annual cycle of monitoring visits. The caves were fitted with bat boxes last year to encourage crevice dwelling bats as there are not many natural fissures in the rock. Natterers bats have been found roosting singly in previous years the idea of the boxes was to provide more roosting opportunities for these bats and hopefully boost the numbers using the caves.

The group were a little disappointed not to find any bats using the boxes and no Natterers bats in the caves. The disappointment was short lived as a single lesser horseshoe bat was found free hanging from the cave roof. A second lesser horseshoe bat was found in a second cave close by.

A great result for the group as the species has not been found in Cheshire for a number of years. Ecologists have long suspected that the bats were present in the wooded hillsides and caves along the Cheshire / North Wales boundary and this is finally the proof that they have been looking for.

The group and ecologists in general will be looking to find more data on the species in the area and establish if there are any more roosts locally.

More posts to follow. See also the links below.

Cheshire Bat Group visit Beeston Castle

Cheshire Bat Group will be visiting Beeston Castle on Sunday to check the bat boxes which were fitted by the group last year.

Bat boxes were fitted in the caves and also in the trees on the hillside surrounding the castle. In the last few years we have found Natterers bats hibernating in the caves, and we know that there is a large Natterers maternity roost on the site in the summer. Other species of bats have been found locally including noctules brown long eared bats and pipistrelle species.

The group will be meeting at 10:30 at the Beeston Castle carpark. Bring appropriate  clothing torches (and hardhats) if you have them and something to eat and drink. Last year it was snowing!!!

Let Ged Ryan know if you are going to attend so that you don’t get left behind.

Have a look at the groups new facebook page. Please click to like the page if you want to be kept up to date with what is happening with the group.


The secret life of bats

It's a snowy day here at the UES office

To cope with the lack of insects present during winter bats are able to hibernate. They can survive for months on the fat stores they have built up during the summer. During October bats seek suitable hibernation sites, and begin periods of torpor. Bats choose these sites (often called hibernacula) to provide the optimum environment for their hibernation.

Bats often hibernate in disused buildings, old trees or caves, where the temperate is generally below 10°C and remains constant. Hibernating is a state of inactivity characterised by a lower metabolic rate, slower breathing and a drop in body temperature almost to that of the surrounding environment. Once they have entered hibernation they are defenceless against danger, as it takes half an hour or more for a bat to revert back to its normal alertness after being woken. Bats continue to hibernate throughout winter until the weather warms in March / April, when they begin to come out of hibernation and are hungry and active.

Bats are protected by UK and European legislation therefore any action or development which has the potential to impact on bats or their habitats must be carried out under a European Protected Species (EPS) licence issued by Natural England. Bat surveys must be conducted to provide information on the type and number of bats which will be affected, how the bats use the site and what impact your development will have on any bats using the area.

Find more information on the types of survey required here:

The independent newspaper have reported that the Christmas island pipistrelle bat is near extinction with only 20 bats remaining, under the bark of one tree on Christmas Island, off the coast of Australia. Experts have differing opinions on the best way to preserve the species.

Read the full article on the links below.

Or some basic info on bats here

Give a bat for Christmas !!!

From the BCT website

The BCT has a number of batty gifts for you all this Christmas. Have a look at their gifts page.