Tuesday, 19 September 2017

A Friend’s Appreciation of Maurice Melzak by Chris Morphet

Maurice was a Zoology graduate with experience working as a researcher for films with Sir David Attenborough and Gerald Durrell. So I came across him as the researcher on a film I was shooting as a cameraman about wildlife in disused power stations. The director badly needed a shot of a fox with a background of a power station, so Maurice was duly instructed to find one, which he was able to do. On the day of the shoot, the fox was released from the cage it had arrived in and I felt really chuffed, as although it all happened in a flash, I managed to pick the fox up in close up, then zoomed out to reveal the power station background. This was all in the days of 16mm film, so on ringing the production company the next day to enquire about the printed rushes,     I heard there had been a kerfuffle. My camerawork and the shot were perfect, but unfortunately on close inspection it was discovered the supposedly wild fox was still wearing its collar. Poor Maurice. The director could be heard shouting in the background “You Left The Collar On Maurice”.

Things progressed upwardly from then on and Maurice soon established himself as a director with his own company Nautilus Films. This was a generally very happy and successful time with Maurice making a good number of mainline TV documentaries. In the year 2000 Maurice made a very positive program for the BBC, “Josie’s Journey”, with Josie Russell and her dad Shaun Russell, about Josie’s recovery from trauma, her burgeoning creative artistic talents, and love of wild animals. On just hearing the news about Maurice, Josie emailed “Oh gosh that’s really sad to hear. It is terribly unhappy news. Maurice was such a nice man and we were hoping one day to make another programme together.” And her father Shaun Russell said “Maurice was the only film-maker who Josie really connected with as a friend, not least because he was always so tender and protective towards her. I think he may have fallen out with the BBC partly as a result of resisting them always seeming to want a more intrusive exploration of Josie’s private life. Josie and I feel a great debt to Maurice for his friendship and the sympathetic way in which he told Josie’s story.”

Around this time Maurice also made several 50 minute C4 documentaries on Rabies and Aquariums, and a memorable C5 series about an academy for crime investigators in Knoxville, Tennessee, with its pioneering body farm. This led to a wonderful film with the brilliant forensic botanist Patricia Wiltshire “The Natural History of Murder”, where we followed how Pat had skilfully nailed various murderers like the Soham murderer, by linking microscopic samples in the ditch from where the bodies were found, to the car tyres and clothing belonging to the perpetrator Ian Huntley.

Maurice continued to do well and we together did a whole run of TV films examining aspects of urban wildlife often featuring experts like pest controllers, zookeepers, and vets.  Pet Patients at The Blue Cross Animal Hospital, London Zoo, Urban Pigeons, Lice, and City Rats were all delved into. Who knew there was a rare colony of rattus rattus, the black tree climbing rat with a long tale, in the vast grain store at Tilbury Docks, where fat pigeons feasted on grain spills from offloading boats, some later to be filmed trapped in large numbers by our pest controller.

Sadly though, the TV world started to change and be taken over by reality TV, celebrity presenters, and more prescriptive and set up film making and programs. Maurice did not have the right skills and personality to sell his often excellent ideas in this new environment. He was also never that interested in either the technicalities or the artistic or stylistic aspects of filmmaking, but rather he had a real passion and interest for the subject matter itself.

Around 2010, disillusioned with the broadcast TV world, Maurice with great enterprise started a new chapter with his website Petstreet. With basic and minimal equipment he shot and edited by himself many terrific short films for showing online. These covered fish, cats, dogs, rabbits, horses, monkeys, lizards, parrots, and snakes, and featured organisations like The RSPCA, The Mayhew, The Dogs Trust, and The Feline Advisory Bureau. There were also useful instructional videos featuring the aptly named vet Cat Henstridge. Not to mention The Snake That Ate The Neighbour’s Cat, another stand out short video at the time.

Petstreet in due course closed down, but Maurice as a solo operator continued to do films like the yearly Animal Wetnose Awards for animal charities. Also, still in hope, he kept finding great subjects about which he made so called teaser or taster tapes to send to TV commissioners with subjects like the wonderful Jenny Clark MBE the Sussex bat rescuer. When I told Maurice we had 2 bats coming out at dusk in the alleyway of our Kilburn house, he was keen to lend me a bat listening device, which was a revelation, as it enhanced and amplified the otherwise inaudible bat sounds.

Although Maurice was now mainly doing the filming himself, I did help out when asked. We made a film with his sister Sheila for her Baobab Centre for Young Survivors. Also a very early short film for The Womens Equality Party here founders Catherine Mayer, Sandi Toksvig and Sophie Walker, were recorded chatting informally sitting around Maurice’s kitchen table.  And when a large and rare species of cave spider called Meta Bourneti was found in the vaults of Egyptian Avenue in the nearby Highgate Cemetery, Maurice called me in to film some big close ups. Also in the cemetery around this time Maurice successfully applied for a grant to put over 100 safe nesting boxes for the birds and the bats up on the trees.

Strangely, we never made a film about the great love of Maurice’s life, his bees and the beehives located in the cemetery. He was very proud, along with fellow beekeeper Ian Creer, of producing such excellent quality honey of impeccable provenance from the many and varied local flowers. Maurice enjoyed his distinctive honey jar label with an image of Karl Marx and underneath the words “Workers Unite”.  A reference to worker bees perhaps.

Maurice also loved walking on the nearby Hampstead Heath and tending his back garden, where he grew some of his own vegetables and even cannabis to try out as an alternative to relieve his pain from cancer. I never did try the cannabis, but we met up regularly to chat either in his kitchen for tea or at one of the local Highgate restaurants. Although on different sides of the North London divide we often watched quite amiably together the keenly contested Arsenal v Spurs derby on his large TV.

In October 2013 perhaps the most bizarre and memorable event, which involved Maurice being interviewed, and his footage used on the news, was the mysterious and sudden appearance of 3 Bennett’s Wallabies in the cemetery. It was a bit of a saga at the time whose outcome was not altogether positive, but for those of us who know the full story, maybe best kept secret, it somehow epitomised the man that was truly Maurice. His intelligent and informed passion for animals, nature, and life itself carried him through.

© Chris Morphet

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

What should be on the BCT training menu for 2018?

Naomi Webster (Training and Conferences Manager)
Having thoroughly enjoyed my first 8 months as Training and Conferences Manager for BCT, I am now facing the exciting, but also rather intimidating prospect of developing the training programme for 2018. Rather like a chef facing an enticingly stocked larder, I have a veritable smorgas board of batty training choices; a great range of informative and engaging courses that can be delivered by highly experienced experts. But which should I select for the 2018 menu? And where should we serve them up?

With several new dishes added to this season’s menu, I will certainly be monitoring bookings and feedback to see how they are received. The new Bearing Witness for Wildlife training will be taking place in London on 09 November, for anyone wanting to improve their skills in recognising and reporting wildlife crime or when acting as a witness, and the Kaleidoscope Pro course will be taking place in Swindon on 17 October and Leeds on 10 November led by Wildlife Acoustics’ Paul Howden-Leach.

Some familiar topics have already made it onto the list with Bat Ecology and Conservation, Using Bat Detectors and Surveying for Bats all offering a great foundation for ecologists. But how about more experienced ecologists wanting to develop their skills further? Should we be offering you more opportunities to engage with Advanced Bat Survey Techniques? How confident are you at writing reports, surveying trees and using automatic species identification software?

Which skills would you like to develop further and where in the country would you like to see more training? I’m open to suggestions, and where possible, I will try to incorporate them into next year’s plans. And don’t forget, if it’s more convenient we can also offer in-house training, tailoring a course to your company and training needs! Email me to find out more: nwebster@bats.org.uk 

Friday, 28 July 2017

“No I’m not an ‘escort’”- and other awkward scenarios for bat surveyors.

Natterer's bat found during hibernation survey
It’s dark, damp and reeks of fox dung. I’m in a disused train tunnel in north London, tagging along to a survey for hibernating bats. As I inch along I stick close to the walls keeping an eye out for the little critters squeezed in-between the brick crevices. I need to be mindful of train tracks, loose rubble and syringes. Lots of used syringes. The tunnels have been sealed for a while now so, although I doubt I’ll be stumbling into whoever left these, it does bring to light a small yet unfortunate risk with bat surveying; you wouldn’t want to stop and chat with some of the people you might find. Never mind the tunnels and graveyards, but even walking through a park at night can turn dodgy, especially if you’re in a city. Bumping into the unsettling ‘types’ was at the back of my mind when I first started looking for bats around London, but little did it occur to me that I would be the ‘type’ to unsettle others. After all bat workers lurk in bushes with funny equipment in the middle of the night, what could possibly go wrong?

Common pipistrelle
There’s a park just around the corner from my home which has a great site for spotting bats. In a dark corner under an oak tree, when the weather is nice and warm, you can see bats swarming; effortlessly flitting between the gnarled branches chasing midges and flies. Armed with my heterodyne detector, I can pick up on their ultrasonic calls as they’re converted into audible sounds helping me detect the presence and species of bats nearby. When I arrive the detector is silent save for the background static hiss. All of the sudden a series of quiet pops crackle from the speaker, a bat’s in the area. The pops get louder turning into rhythmic wet slaps, must be a pipistrelle species. I tune through the frequencies finding the pitch where the slaps are deepest to help me discern what species I’m listening to. 45khz, it’s a common pipistrelle! In a matter of minutes the air is seething with bats while my detector emits a symphony of pop, squeak, smack and fart sounds as the pipistrelles acoustically feel their way through the air searching for insects to eat.

Tempting as it may be to stand there oohing and aahing at this mesmerising display I need to be aware of the other people in the park. Fortunately for me I’m standing next to the exit so I’ve got an easy way out if I don’t like the look of anyone approaching. Not so fortunate for the hapless jogger, there’s a man standing in the shadows just off the path right next to their exit point. It’s hard enough not to be confused for a nut in the daytime when justifying to people why you spend your nights looking for bats. Trying to do the same with a wary stranger in the park isn’t any easier. But it isn’t just late night joggers and dog walkers that I’m making anxious. A man pulls up in a car just outside the exit and waits with the engine running. I doubt it’s an uber, unless ‘tuned up with spoilers’ is now a selectable option. “He’s probably just picking up a mate” I’m thinking. His ‘mate’ turns up and they talk for less than a minute. Whats this? No hugs, no kisses? It’s starting to look more like a transaction now. What kind of a person conducts business from their car outside a park at night I wonder? At what must be the worst possible timing, my detector screeches and whistles as it picks up some feedback. The two men stop talking and turn to me. Now my gear is looking more like recording equipment or even a radio. For the police perhaps? I take my queue and leave before things get more awkward.

Bat surveyor or police informant, you be the judge
Surveying with a heterodyne needn’t be such a conspicuous display; a pair of headphones can cut out the noise while the detector is hidden in a pocket. However, other survey techniques require the use of less subtle hardware, like say a large antenna for radio-tracking. Remember the documentary clips of tranquillised lions and wolves being fitted with radio collars? Same principle applies except on a smaller scale. You catch your bat, glue a tracking device to their back and let them go. Equipped with your antennae you can map out their movements before the device falls off them, by which point you’ve got an idea as to where the bat flies and roosts; an invaluable insight for a researcher or conservationist. One such specialist goes by the name of Sam, a spectacled, soft-spoken bat ecologist who’s as comfortable researching in a library as he is trekking through the jungle. The kind of breed who could recount a scientific paper while changing a jeep tyre. One night our bat worker was driving around for a radio-tracking session. One hand on the wheel the other holding the antenna out the window. After having done a few circuits, he decides to take a little nap in the car. Not much time passes until he’s rudely awoken by an elderly man brandishing bills and documents at him through the wind screen. “I pay for my TV license!”. Sam’s groggy and confused at first until he realises the strange man is gesticulating partly at the antenna that’s been propped up on the passenger seat. The concerned resident thinks he’s under surveillance! Who’d of thought the BBC employed such drastic fee collection tactics?

Being confused for an authority figure is one thing, getting the authorities called on you is another. I had the pleasure of working with a researcher named Alison; a friendly, ebullient post-doc, not the kind of person you’d consider a delinquent. But like Sam, her equipment didn’t do her any favours. She was carrying out bat surveys in Birmingham using full spectrum bat recorders; the mac daddy of bat recording equipment. These are designed to be left in the field unattended where they continuously record at all frequencies providing tonnes of high quality data for later analysis. They’re typically incased in secure boxes to protect them from the weather, vandals and thieves (human and animal alike). The issue with setting these recorders up in an urban environment, thieves aside, is that you’re lurking around neighbourhoods hiding nondescript boxes around the place. Imagine what that would look like to someone peering out of their window. As if getting the police called wasn’t bad enough, she was once approached, mid-survey, by someone hoping to solicit a service. How hiking boots, rain macs and head torches could be interpreted as sex worker attire is beyond me, but we’ve all got our kinks I suppose.

by Charlie Hearst, former intern at BCT and active London Bat Group member (You can find him on Twitter @CharlieHearst, Facebook, Instagram and follow his blog too)

(To check if you have a local bat group near you visit this page . If you are interested in taking part in our National Bat Monitoring Programme surveys do visit this page)

Monday, 24 July 2017

Into the Canopy

I have been involved with Swanton Novers NNR since I started as a volunteer with Natural England in 2008.  I subsequently secured a full time job as a warden for Natural England on sites throughout North and West Norfolk including Swanton Novers woods. Having since left Natural England to work as an Arboricultural Consultant for Norfolk Wildlife Services I’ve continued to volunteer for the Swanton Novers Woodland Project helping when I can.  I have an arboricultural background so the woods have always fascinated me and as the years have gone by they have opened up an interest in Ancient trees and landscape history as well as how species interact within these very special habitats.  In 2012/13 methodologies were drawn up and ideas started to come to fruition about a large scale monitoring program for the woods.  This mainly revolved around the bat communities and how they interact within the woods.  In the past bat transects and data collection focused on the easily accessible rides running throughout the woods.  This project was focusing on the interior of the compartments that were densely vegetated, hard to get to and little (if any) data had ever been collected - and it involved climbing large majestic Oak trees!  I jumped at the opportunity to be involved!

Due to time pressures and constraints the forty trees were chosen by Ecological consultants according to certain criteria  They had to be 50m from any ride side, spread throughout Great Wood and Little Wood and within different stand types and compartment classification.  A bracket was designed to secure the SM2+ recording devices to the trees and a bracket to take the canopy microphone secured on a southern aspect of the tree to record activity above the understorey.  Once everything was in place data collection could start and the logistical complications of the project would inevitably become apparent.
Firstly, finding a green tree in a very green wood with a piece of green cord dangling from the canopy presents its obvious difficulties.  Once the point tree had been found setting up the canopy microphones involved hoisting them into the canopy bracket.  With a careful flick of the wrist the microphone sat comfortably in its bracket sheltered from the elements by a funnel.  It didn’t take too long to learn that to retrieve the microphone the other end of the cord had to be tied securely on so a continuous loop was created.  Lesson learnt it was time to break out the climbing kit.  I always find it a privilege to see sights that others rarely get to view and looking across the canopy layer and down on the coppice compartments and over the field boundaries fills me with appreciation of scale in a wider landscape setting.  

Once the recording equipment has been set to record for two nights and the canopy and understorey microphones have been plugged in its time to retrace your steps back to the vehicle.  It’s funny how perception works inside dense undergrowth with no horizon or landmark to focus on – many times I thought I had been walking (stumbling) in a certain direction only to be utterly bemused and convinced that I had discovered a previously uncharted ride that is on no maps and in the middle of an unexplored compartment, only to find after a few steps of admiring this untouched (well-managed) ride that it was in fact one of the main rides in the woods.  After nursing my ego and the inevitable bramble rash it was time to find another 4 green trees in a green wood with a green cord hanging from a branch.   
As well as getting involved with the data collection for the fixed point surveys I have happily spent a few evenings walking transects around the woods.  This involved following a predetermined route that lasted about an hour with timed stops along the way.  There are 8 species of bat that use the woods and field edges for roosting and foraging so it’s a good place to get familiar with the different calls.  Even if it’s a quiet evening (bat wise) just experiencing the woods at dusk is a joy.  Many badgers call Swanton Novers Great Wood their home, supermarket and meeting place.  Often they’ll cross your path with the familiar gentle jog, have a cursory glance in your direction and be off again.  

Jim Allitt now works for Norfolk Wildlife Services as an Arboricultural Consultant and if you would like more information about the project and how it was set up then please contact Sonia at srevely@bats.org.uk,  so she can forward 

by Jim Allitt

Friday, 21 July 2017

My Communications Internship at the Bat Conservation Trust

I have always had a keen interest in nature and wildlife. Growing up my interest in the beauty of our natural landscape, its wildlife and its preservation has continued to grow. I spent a great deal of time at university studying and researching the effects of conservation efforts in the United States and in the UK. During my final year at university I looked into the effects of increased population and over development in the USA during the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. I focused on the consequences met such as the sudden decreased population of animals like the Grey Wolf and American Bison. In addition I studied individuals that provoked the preservation of a dying environment such as John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt. My hope is to continue my passion for the protection of our environment by developing and shaping my career through charities such at BCT.

Although I was unable to find the perfect role within a conservation charity after graduating, I was not deterred. I decided to look into internships within conservation organisations (I hadn’t previously ventured down the internship pathway). I stumbled across BCT’s Communications Internship and decided the role sounded fantastic – a communications role that dabbled in events and fundraising, and within conservation - Perfect! After applying so eagerly (approximately 3 weeks before the application deadline) and not hearing anything back since the confirmation reply email, I had come to the conclusion that sadly nothing was to come of it, until I had a sudden call offering an interview! I was ecstatic! This was my big break, to get a foot in the door, and a step in the right direction. After meeting the team and finding out more about the organisation I was hooked, and when, to my surprise, they offered me the role I couldn’t believe it, I said yes, of course!

The long-eared bats I met during my visit to Jenny Clark's Bat Hospital
I found out straight away that the BCT team were amazing, full of kind, intelligent people dedicated and passionate about protecting bats. The work they do here is invaluable to the protection of bats. From the National Bat Monitoring Programme to the Helpline, Mitigation to Communications, together they inform and educate so many on the importance of bat conservation. I have met some incredibly influential bat enthusiasts who have dedicated so much of their lives to protecting this fascinating species.

A highlight of my time at BCT has to be my visit to Jenny Clarks bat hospital. We met a variety of bat species including all three Pipistrelles: Common, Soprano and Nathusius, Serotine, Noctule, grey and brown Long Eared, Natterers, Brandts, Whiskered, Daubentons and Bechsteins. It was also where I discovered how incredibly beautiful the brown and grey long eared bats were! Jenny is an incredibly devoted woman, whose passion and dedication is outstanding.

Part of BCT's exhibition at Gardener's World Live
Another highlight of my time at BCT was definitely Gardeners World Live. Not only did I get to meet more dedicated bat enthusiasts who volunteered with us, I also aided in spreading the good word of bats and how important they are to the environment. It was incredible to see how many people were unaware of the importance of bats, but how many of them were truly interested in making a difference to our environment by encouraging bats into their gardens. It was a brilliant whirl wind experience and one I won’t forget!

I have learnt so much in the past 3 months at BCT. I have gained so much experience from working with such a dedicated team. I can safely say that I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here and hope that our paths cross again in the future!

Emma Cross

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Monitoring Bats – An Exciting Opportunity

Spring has fully arrived and I’m sure you are enjoying those warmer temperatures!  It’s not only us though who get more active when the conditions change.  You may recall in previous issues we discovered how seasonality can affect bat behaviour, with churches providing a safe haven at those most vulnerable times.  In winter bats hibernate; but as night temperatures rise above 10OC, they will wake up and take advantage of increased insect activity.  They start emerging from April to May, and when they do, it offers an exciting opportunity to get involved in recording any you see flying over any space.

Illustration by Liz Vinson

Bats have unfortunately become an endangered species over past decades, with major population declines.  If you see a bat, its great news and hopefully a positive sign that they are recovering.  It can be hard to know this for certain, but that is where submitting any sightings can help.  At the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT), there is a National Bat Monitoring Programme (NBMP).  NBMP has been calculating population trends for over 20 years, with all records submitted by volunteers.  In fact, it’s all done on a voluntary basis and there are over a 1,000 people throughout the UK who help each year in carrying out bat surveys.  Some can be challenging, but the ‘Sunset/Sunrise’ survey is ideal for anyone.  It simply involves heading out at dusk or dawn, (or both) and spending an hour looking for bats flying overhead.  This can be done anytime from April to September; record the time, temperature and number of bats seen, and then send through the results.  

I’ve now left BCT, having taken up a Sustainability Project Coordinator post at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford.  The hospital does have a bat roost, and I am certainly still passionate about the bat world.  If you’d like to get involved with the NBMP, please do email BCT’s dedicated team nbmp@bats.org.uk or look at their website www.bats.org.uk/pages/nbmp.html

Happy monitoring!

David Jackson

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

From little acorns mighty oaks do grow!

I have been casting my mind back to the time when the very first embers of an idea for a project at
Acorn © public domain
Swanton Novers began.

It goes back to 2011 when I first met with Ash Murray to discuss a whole range of things to do with bats and Norfolk. But it was the discussions around Swanton Novers that proved so very inspiring.

Here was this marvellous woodland National Nature Reserve with so much history, so much wildlife and so much untapped data to bring many facets of the woodland together.  It felt like discovering a hidden gem that had so much to offer but only if we did a lot of work to make what is known accessible and relevant.

So where to start. I suppose it is not uncommon when delving into a largely untapped resource to find there are many and varied areas that could be included. Ash and I had brainstorming sessions, sometimes resulting in flipchart pages of linked ideas and associations that looked like the workings of a mad professor or two. Those must be lurking in the darker recesses of my paperwork.
Swanton Novers NNR © Ash Murray
But I did find a printed off sheet we had scribbled on as an early effort to make this all more tangible and adaptable by producing an electronic version of our ideas and there is so much that is of interest and importance all with Swanton Novers at the epicentre. Indeed in the early days the most difficult problem was knowing what to include and what to leave out.

But actually there was always a really strong core that came to the fore over and over again. That was the very long history of Swanton Novers as a managed woodland making it of long-standing importance in the local landscape and culturally too with links to local communities.  But is has not only shaped the landscape and lives of people but also been an important for wildlife too. There were so many questions about this. Which species had thrived and what elements of the management had allowed that to happen?  Did the part of the woodland they used depend on the rotation of management and were there species associations that could be used as indicators of whole niches?  These are questions of importance to so many woodlands across the UK but at Swanton Novers we knew there was the chance to answer these. This is because the history of the management of the woodland is so well documented and in great detail.  Plus, although this is a woodland not open to the public, there has been a long history of Naturalists specialising in a whole range of wildlife who have surveyed and monitored the woodland over many years. All of this information brought together would have a tremendously interesting and important story to tell but….and it is a bit but…. the data was stored in a way that meant it was not accessible for this sort of use. Indeed much of it was still in paper form. So we knew the project had to tackle digitising all this information so it could be overlaid to allow us to look into the window of a managed woodland from the viewpoint of the wildlife that lives there.

Woodland walk at Swanton Novers NNR © Jan Collins
We also noticed that information gathered on wildlife was very reliant on the interests of visiting naturalists and that their data might only have been collected from a small sample site within the woodland. So to give the fullest view it was also recognised that we needed to have a more systematic approach.

Another big driver was the fact that this gem of a woodland at the cultural heart of the communities in the area could not be an NNR that had open access to the public. We wanted the project to reconnect people with this special woodland and in particular those who live in the area. There is so much to learn about and to inspire all ages and abilities and certainly so much to be gained by having volunteers learning new skills to help us unravel more about this special place.

Barbastelle bat ©Hugh Clark
The final element was a focus on bats. A species group that had been harder to document in the past due to their elusive nocturnal habits but about which so much more is now possible to discover and for non-specialist to be involved in. We know that Swanton Novers is important for bats but didn’t have a clear picture of the extent of this. Bats are not only an indicator of the health of a habitat but different species have differing needs and so knowing more about the bats present would tell its own story about what this woodland provides. We love involving people with learning more about and helping us to survey bats. 

As I reflect now on where we are it is so pleasing to see that all of those areas of our hoped for work at Swanton Novers have become a reality. In fact the enthusiasm from all who have become involved has exceeded expectations. Not only that, we are really starting to uncover some interesting information about what is about this woodland that allows bats and other wildlife  to survive and thrive. Knowledge that will be useful to woodland over all of the UK. 

Further information about the project and monthly updates about the project called Swanton News can be found here

If you would like more information about the project or would like to be involved and can spare a few hours helping with bat surveys, call analysis, walks, talks and community events, please contact the Volunteer Coordinator Sonia Reveley at SReveley@bats.org.uk or ring 07788 226528.

Carol Williams

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Safari Park staff go batty for bats

Staff at West Midland Safari Park are hosting a special conservation week, dedicated to raising awareness and funds for bats.

Protect Bats Week will run from 6-14 May and staff, with help from the Worcestershire Bat Group, aim to inform guests about the amazing world of bats, including what species can be found in Britain. All the funds raised during the week will go to the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT).

A variety of activities will take place during the week, both at the Park and online. Guests can take part in a free quiz, meet the Park’s Rodrigues fruit bats and Seba’s short-tailed bats in special bat talks at 2pm and 4pm, take part in a craft club with bat-related crafts and games and enter some competitions to win a VIP tour or some bat-themed prizes.

Additionally, the Park is hosting some very special VIP Myth Busting Experiences, where guests of all ages can meet some commonly misunderstood creatures up close, including reptiles, small mammals and insects. They can also help prepare some fruit kebabs for the bats, then watch them feast on them during their feeding time.

Discovery Trail Keeper, Lucy Smith, said, 'The Discovery Trail keepers have chosen to support the Bat Conservation Trust for our conservation week, so we will be putting all of our efforts into raising funds and awareness for the cause. Globally, around 20% of all bat species are currently threatened with extinction, although you don't need to travel around the world to find them, as we have 17 species breeding within the UK alone! The decline in population numbers within the UK stems from building development and habitat loss'.

West Midland Safari Park is hosting a Protect Bats Week from 6-14 May, raising money for the Bat Conservation Trust.

'As keepers and bat lovers we think that more needs to be done to protect our flying friends and by supporting the BCT, we will be helping to fund training programmes to assist in the monitoring and surveying of bats around the country. At the Park, we will be aiming to educate and inspire people and hopefully shed some light on many of the myths surrounding these mysterious animals. At the end of the week some of the more batty members of staff and myself will be doing a bungee jump on the 13 and 14 of May, in an effort to raise even more funds for the worthy cause. Wish us luck!'

For all of the Park’s conservation weeks, local artist Zaza Shelley, will be producing some amazing limited edition prints of the Park’s animals, including the bats. Proceeds from sales of the bat prints will also go towards the Bat Conservation Trust. Prints are available to purchase from the conservation section on Zaza’s website: www.zazashelley.com

In honour of Protect Bats Week the Park is also hosting a public talk on 19 May at 7:30pm, given by Lucy and Matthew Terry, chair of Worcestershire Bat Group. Refreshments will be included and after the talk, there will be the chance to join the Bat Group in the grounds of the Park, as they search for native bats and pick up their calls. 

There will be a special talk at the Park on 19 May from a bat keeper and the chair of the Worcestershire Bat Group.

The Bat Conservation Trust is the leading NGO solely devoted to bat conservation and the landscapes on which they rely. Funds from Protect Bat Week will be going towards the volunteer training programme, who work to care for bats, monitor populations, create bat-friendly gardens and educate the public. Find out more on their website: www.bats.org.uk.

Stephan Brohan will also be raising funds for BCT on behalf of the Worcestershire Bat group, by taking part in a volunteer bungee jump, which has been organized by the West Midlands Safari Park. If you would like to donate then please follow THIS LINK to be directed to his JustGiving page and give him a little boost!

The bats can be seen in West Midland Safari Park’s Discovery Trail and Protect Bats Week is included in the standard admission charge. To book the VIP Myth Buster Experience, email details to learning@wmsp.co.uk. To book a place on the talk, email research@wmsp.co.uk.

Further information and tickets are available from the Park’s website www.wmsp.co.uk or by telephone 01299 402114. You can find out more on the Safari Park’s official Facebook page: www.facebook.com/WestMidSafari.

Friday, 5 May 2017

#Makeitgreen Campaign

The Perfect Pollinator

Todays society is becoming more and more aware of the importance of a sustainable environment but there is still so much more we can do to help create a world where humans and nature can not only survive, but thrive.

The #makeitgreen initiative is supported by the well-known Charity Bug Life. Bug Life and Scotscape have together formulated the ‘Perfect Pollinator’ living wall which can be easily applied to any surface full of pollinating life giving plants. The Perfect Pollinator living wall offers a fast and flexible way to incorporate greenery in otherwise tricky locations in a pattern suitable for Bee migration, and bat habitats. Careful planning will increase the value of your garden or green space to bats, bees and other wildlife, however small it is.

#Makeitgreen has been created to raise awareness of the importance of greening up our cities and urban areas, to benefit air quality, health, biodiversity, pollinators and improve city living.

#Makeitgreen encourages participants to plant a seed, a plant, even a tree, record it, post it and challenge friends and colleagues to do the same! Who knows where this could lead? Could we see flowers bursting into colour in unused urban wasteland? Trees popping up in gardens? A competitive greening up of our doorways, balconies, front gardens, offices, and urban thoroughfares?

Our mission is simple – green up our cities in whichever way possible, vertically with living walls, horizontally on roofs with green roofs, create rain gardens, plant up troughs and planters, manage landscapes sustainably and incorporate pollinator friendly plants! 
The perfect example of a living wall

It is crucial to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators and the fact that urbanisation is wiping them out. At The Bat Conservation Trust we understand the need to encourage pollinator friendly gardens and green areas, as bats need a huge number of insects, a garden that is good for insects is good for bats. Making our urban landscape a friendlier place for bats and pollinators to thrive is beneficial on a much more fundamental level. In the UK, some bats are ‘indicator species’, because changes to these bat populations can indicate changes in aspects of biodiversity. Bats might suffer when there are problems with insect populations or when habitats are destroyed or poorly managed.
A brown long-eared bat enjoying dinner

To help you to #makeitgreen visit the www.scotscape.net to claim your free packet of perfect pollinator seeds to include in your garden or office landscape and help the bees and bats

To learn more about how you can support Bug Life’s Activities and how #makeitgreen can help pollinators – visit www.scotscape.net or www.buglife.org.uk.

If you would like to find out more about the importance of bats on the environment please visit - http://www.bats.org.uk/pages/why_bats_matter.html  

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Running for Bats by Joanne Melling

For as long as I can remember I have loved all animals, particularly wildlife. As I child my greatest dream was to be a vet and save animals. 

Sadly, my lack of understanding of Physics and Maths and failing to make the grade in these subjects destroyed my dream of veterinary surgery glory and I had to rethink my path.
Years passed and I finally found myself in Canada, more precisely at the Toronto Wildlife Centre exploring another path to saving animals. One I previously hadn’t even considered. I had started my career as a wildlife rehabilitator.
So why bats?

Bats have always fascinated me. They are remarkable creatures, amazingly long lived for such small animals, they eat bugs, they pollinate flowers and are essential for the survival of our planet yet they are feared and misunderstood wherever they go.

During my time in Toronto I spent a large amount of time with the bats in care, as one of the rabies vaccinated interns I had many hours weighing, measuring, feeding and cleaning the (primarily) big brown bats. I often volunteered to look after the bats, they were calm, placid little beings and working with them was a moment of zen in the madness of a busy inner city wildlife rehab centre. 
Then it happened, that one special patient who will always stay with me wherever my career takes me. A female big brown bat was brought in by a member of the public who had found her in a pool of what we assumed to be diesel in an underground car park. We named our bats alphabetically, we were on the letter E and this bat came in on Easter Sunday. She of course, was named Easter.
Easter was in ICU in the clinic for 2 weeks and showed no sign of improvement. She was emaciated, dehydrated, not eating properly and the vet recommended euthanasia if she didn’t improve. As a last ditch effort I offered to take her home and foster her on the off chance that one on one care would make a difference with her. 

Easter lived with me for 3 months, during that time we went through a roller coaster of improving and failing health. We had various issues with her weight, appetite, flying skills etc. etc. She was a sweet tempered, bright little bat and during the time she was with me she made me cry, she made me frustrated, she made me laugh, she made me cry some more. As we got to spring and the time that the bats in the centre were being flight tested for release Easters health plummeted and I had to make an incredibly difficult decision and recommended she be put to sleep. 

Though Easter didn’t make it her legacy is my love for bats, she ignited a passion for these remarkable little creatures in me and made me truly appreciate them for what they are. The beautiful, graceful guardians of the night sky and an essential part of our ecosystem.

Recently I traveled to Australia to work with mega bats. Primarily grey headed and black flying foxes. While I was there I acquired another foster patient who highlighted just how complex bats can be. 

He was a grey headed flying fox called Rastas. Flying foxes have a much stronger maternal bond than microbats, they need closeness and security. Taking on an orphaned flying fox means you have to be it’s mummy, you need to hold it and make it feel secure. They are wrapped in blankets and cuddled, often chewing the blanket for security and comfort. Many orphaned flying foxes are found still clinging to dead mothers and so have mental trauma when they come into care. 
Rastas, the grey-head flying fox I fostered

I never found out Rastas’ full story but I assume he had some trauma in his life. He was my first experience of a bat showing the symptoms of PTSD. He would often fall asleep and wake up minutes later screaming and looking around him wildly and disorientated. 

He eventually calmed and was able to go into a creche aviary with the other young bats. 
Bats are complex. They have personalities and strong social bonds. They feel pain and trauma and sadness just the same as us and we should do all we can to protect them. 

I am now a registered bat carer with the BCT and west Yorkshire bat group and plan to do all I can to help our British bats now I am back in the UK.

This September I will be taking part in the Great North Run to raise money for the BCT. 
It will be my first attempt at a half marathon and it’s already proving to be a pretty big challenge. Training is underway and going well so far, fingers crossed J

Here is a link to my just giving fundraising page;

Please give if you can, any donation big or small is welcome and will help me raise some much needed money for our wonderful bats.
Thank you

Friday, 21 April 2017

Swift Ecology blog on contributing to the BCT and CIEEM mitigation projects

There is currently a lack of evidence on the effectiveness of mitigation and compensation strategies for bats affected by development. The Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) in partnership with the University of Exeter, and the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) have both secured funding for separate but complementary projects to fill this evidence gap.

The success of these projects is strongly dependent on receiving mitigation case studies from ecologists - from consultants through to local authority ecologists.

Lisa Kerslake from Swift Ecology, who has taken the time to contribute to the questionnaire, tells us why she believes it is so important….

How long have you been involved in bat conservation and ecological consultancy?

My first introduction to bat conservation came in the late ‘80s while working for the then Nature Conservancy Council.  My desk was next to the species officer, who frequently brought bats into the office that were recovering from various injuries.  In particular I remember getting up to make tea and discovering, with a degree of shock and a few expletives, that there was a very cross serotine clinging to my jeans!  It had somehow escaped from its box (I never found out how…..). 

More recently, we set up Swift Ecology in 2007 and although I’d worked as an ecological consultant for a few years before this, my involvement in bat work increased exponentially  from this time.

What is the most satisfying part of your job and the most challenging?

 The most satisfying parts are those that involve some direct wildlife encounter: a maternity roost of lesser horseshoes with their pups near Malvern, which brought me near tears; showing a BLE to a nervous or sceptical householder/builder and seeing their astonished reaction when the ears unfurl; releasing a BLE fully recovered from a damaged wing, after I had cared for it for several months (I have a particular soft spot for BLEs). 

One of the most challenging things I’ve had to deal with happened in fact only last week: attending court to see a landowner who had completely destroyed a bat roost get an £83 fine despite so much effort by me, my colleagues and BCT; bitterly disappointing.  I also feel that the recent and ongoing changes to licensing within NE are going to pose challenge of a different magnitude, particularly in the context of the impending doom of Brexit; I think the threat to bats and other wildlife is potentially now greater than it has ever been. 

How did you hear about the BCT and CIEEM mitigation projects and what prompted you to contribute to it?

I have been banging on for years about the importance of bat mitigation and lack of evidence for what works, and have with colleagues prepared several talks and articles on the subject; consequently I somehow found myself involved in the steering group for the project from the outset.  As a result it would have been slightly embarrassing if I had not contributed! 

How much of your time did it take to contribute your case study? Do you mind mentioning a bit about it?

We have actually contributed 18 case studies; this took me no more than a couple of hours to upload, though I did have invaluable help from other staff (thanks Charlie and Josh!) helping to pull together the relevant information.  Our case studies include barn conversions, demolition & new house build, subdivision of a farmhouse into three residences, restoration of listed buildings, and a church where the bell housing was being replaced; so quite varied.  In nearly all cases some type of bat loft was constructed as well as the inevitable bat boxes.  The one I enjoyed most was a large barn conversion in Oxfordshire; the clients were lovely, which always helps, but the stand out feature resulted from a call from the builders once work was under way to say they’d found a few bats; when I looked behind the electricity meter I discovered not pips/BLEs as I was expecting, but 3 torpid barbastelles!  A few involuntary words were uttered (to the surprise of the gathered builders).

What approach does your company take towards mitigation? What’s your gut feeling about what works and what doesn’t?

I’ve long believed that all the surveys in the world will not benefit bat conservation if the mitigation is inadequate or doesn’t work.  We have always tried to get some type of bat loft if BLEs or Natterer’s bats were present, even in small numbers; that has become very difficult and now it seems to be the norm not to.  I sense that retaining roosts in situ is more successful than relocating them (e.g. to spaces above new garages), but this is often difficult or impossible, and nor is it necessarily that simple.  For example, we have no real idea of the function disused agricultural barns might play in relation local bat populations, because we rarely study them year round; I therefore feel it’s highly unlikely that retaining within a converted barn a space the size of a house loft will serve the same function as that which has been lost.

What would you say to anyone who is unsure about contributing to the projects?

The dearth of evidence in relation to bat mitigation/compensation has formed part of so many conversations I’ve had with other consultants over the past few years, that I find it hard to understand why anyone would not contribute in order to help us all do the job better in future.  Following an evidence-based approach is not only easier to justify to clients, it is bound to give better results for bat conservation.  So I would say this is an incredible opportunity to make a difference – please take it.   

Contributing to the mitigation projects

CIEEM and the University of Exeter will be carrying out a desk study on the case studies submitted, which relies on monitoring data from ecologists. Their study will be completed in autumn 2017.
In addition, BCT will be conducting fieldwork in summer 2017 and summer 2018. Our study will be completed in autumn 2018.

BCT are seeking bat roost mitigation cases:
·         involving damage or destruction of roosts of common and soprano pipistrelle, brown long-eared bat and Myotis species
·         from England and Wales
·         with licences expiring between 2006 and 2014
·         where access can be gained for monitoring as early as May this year.
CIEEM and the University of Exeter are seeking cases for the same species and time period but will be covering the whole of the UK.

CIEEM and BCT are appealing for ecologists to provide the details of any bat roost mitigation case studies which fit our broad criteria (see flow chart below).

Case studies can easily be shared by either i) uploading reports or ii) filling in our questionnaire.

If you feel the roost owner would be happy to have BCT visit the site to carry out monitoring work, with no obligation or costs involved, then please send them the letter in the questionnaire and ascertain if access would be possible.

BCT and CIEEM are also working closely with Natural England and Natural Resources Wales to access licence applications and returns and to contact roost owners (on behalf of BCT only). This process has been delayed due to data protection, storage and retrieval constraints. NE and NRW have now sent out letters to some licence applicants requesting access on behalf of BCT but we suspect that most will refer us back to their consultants for the relevant reports. Working with consultants means our approach can be more targeted because you are more familiar with the sites and their respective owners than anybody else. Once your initial contact has been made and the roost owner is happy for BCT to visit the site, then BCT can take the next steps on arranging access etc. 

To find out more details and to start uploading case studies please visit THIS PAGE.

CIEEM and BCT are extremely grateful for any time given in aiding this research.

If you have any questions relating to the projects, please contact:

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

The South West Bat Conference 2017

On the 25th of March, I went to my very first bat conference. It was a bit of an adventure for me, what with having to wake up at 5:30 am to get the train!
I had been told the day before that a slide advertising my previous blog post (see here: http://batconservationtrust.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/my-life-as-young-bat-enthusiast.html) would be shown at the start of the conference so I got rather worried that I’d miss it when my train was delayed. Fortunately, I arrived seconds before the end of the first talk when my slide was shown and I got to see it! Thanks so much to Carol Williams for adding that to her talk!

The conference was brilliant – it was so unusual for me to be in a room full of people that all liked bats! In the main area, there were many people selling new and exciting bat detectors, as well as that all important ‘Bat Tat’! I came away with 5 pin badges, 4 post cards, one bat soft toy and two BCT bags - got to let everyone know you’re a bat fan!

I thoroughly enjoyed the talks, and was very pleased to see and meet quite a few alumni from the University of Exeter. The first research talk was by George Bemment who spoke about a roost of greater horseshoes at Berry Head. This roost was interesting because it wasn’t the nicest of bat roosts, being cold and quite far out to sea, so why were the bats still there? We’re still unsure!
The second research talk was by a fellow Exeter University student, Amy Fensome. Her research used the NBMP’s data to look at the effect of fragmentation of landscapes by roads. She’s statistically proven that bats are more numerous in less fragmented habitats, and so hopes her research will be involved in future road planning. It was so exciting to hear from people involved in bat science and just made me more eager to get into that world myself!

The third talk was about the bats of Enys House by Simon Barnard. This place sounded like one of the fantasy houses I’d dream up as a child, what with 6 different bat species having originally occupied the entire house! The talk explained how both the needs of the bats and the needs of the house occupants could be met with some careful problem solving. It was nice to hear things seemed to be going well – despite a few break-ins by some pesky brown long-eared bats!
The fourth talk was by Daniel Hargreaves – a name I recognised from many an issue of ‘Bat News’! He spoke about the Nathusius Project that’s currently being run and some of the ecological knowledge that they have gained from this intriguing pipistrelle. What I found most interesting about his talk was the ‘Citizen Science’ aspect. The project was being carried out by bat groups across the country thanks to interest and passion, and to hear that happen for a creature so misunderstood and persecuted as the bat made me very happy!

We also got given the opportunity to attend a workshop during the event and being interesting in obtaining a bat survey license, but not really understanding much about the different types or how they worked, I decided to attend the class licensing workshop run by Lisa Worledge from the BCT. She made what would otherwise be quite a confusing and dull topic interesting and accessible and I was quite pleased at the end when I not only identified 2/3 of the bat pictures in her PowerPoint correctly, but also got full marks on the test she gave us, at the end, on the topics we’d covered!

The final talk was about the Devon Greater Horseshoe Project by Ruth Testa. It was intriguing from a zoology perspective to hear about the distribution and habits of such a quirky little creature – and yet more talk of passion-driven ‘Citizen Science’! Having lived in Reading for most of my life, where greater horseshoe bats aren’t very common, it was a delight to meet a greater horseshoe (called Herbert) when I completed my bat care course with the Cornwall Bat Group! They have the most remarkable little faces!

At the end of the event, after the raffle had been called (no winning tickets for me!) and there’d been discussions about priorities in the South West, I wished the conference could have lasted a bit longer! It was so lovely to meet and talk to people as interested in bats as me and everyone I spoke to was friendly and welcoming.
The thing that will really stick with me, however, was when Carol said how much I will have changed people’s perceptions about bats with my previous blog post. That meant so much to me for I consider it a bit of a life ambition!
However, there’s definitely still many more people out there with misguided views on bats and still many more bats who need our help, so I’m not finished just yet!

by Maisy Inston

Monday, 10 April 2017

Creating an artificial underground hibernation roost in Brittany

Creating an artificial underground hibernation roost in Brittany
Interview: Josselin Boireau, Groupe Mammalogique Breton, (GMB)
by Beatrice Dopita, River Allen Bat Roost.

BD: What inspired the creation of a hibernaculum in Brittany?

JB: In Brittany the places where bats roost are determined by the geology of the land. Granite rocks, open heathland and dispersed areas of woodland make the bats choose sites, like quarries, historic fortifications, and old buildings, which inevitably bring the bats into conflict with man. In certain areas natural roost sites are hard to find and it is for this reason that the Groupe Mammalogique Breton decided to create a series of artificial roost sites for hibernation and for maternity roosts. Brittany has 21 bat species and the GMB has led a series of research projects and mitigation measures dating from the late 1980s. Since 2010 these projects have become more ambitious and artificial roost sites have been created whenever the opportunity has arisen.

The opportunity to build a large hibernation roost in the north of Brittany arose when the quarry company CMGO (Carrière et Matériaux du Grand Ouest) based at Trégeux in the Côtes d’Armor, proposed an expansion of their quarrying activities – permission for the development became linked to this ambitious mitigation project by the GMB and the creation of underground tunnels began under the leadership of Thomas Dubos, colleague of Josselin Boireau.

Photo: Excavation of tunnels

BD: How long did it take to create and what sort of support/guidance did you get?

JB: The project evolved in several phases, the first stage of construction was undertaken by the quarry company over a period of three months then the project was set aside for two years. The next stage of construction involved a company of builders to construct a labyrinth of breeze block walls. This took a further 9 months and was completed towards the end of 2016.

Photo: Breeze block construction.

BD: What were the highs and lows of this project?

JB: Our early attempts to build this artificial roost were very encouraging and seemed to cost very little. The quarry company had offered to do all the excavation work themselves and proposed building the hibernation roost tunnels using materials that were already available on site. The walls were built using breeze blocks laid on the bias with a roof of old telegraph poles; unfortunately, the roof lacked the necessary solidity and the whole structure collapsed! The necessity for the quarry company to invest in more suitable materials brought the whole project to a halt. Construction did not start again until the beginning of 2016. Recent signs that the bats have started to use the new tunnels, just a few weeks after they were built, have given us hope after such a discouraging start to this project.

Photo: Later stage of the construction.

BD: What happens now in terms of maintaining the site and monitoring it for the long term?

JB: We realise that the colonisation of a new site can take some time and now that the tunnels are there we are content to see them evolve and to take advice from experts like Colin Morris, of the Vincent Wildlife Trust, who has already had considerable success with the creation of purpose-built underground roost sites. We are managing the site lightly and minimising any disturbance to perhaps two visits per year. We have installed equipment to measure the humidity and the temperature of various sections of the tunnels so that we can recreate, as much as possible, the conditions in natural roost sites chosen by the bats in this area.

BD: Have you seen any signs that bats have moved in? What were the signs and which species have moved in?

JB: We have already observed bat droppings in the tunnels and butterfly wings on the floor! This indicates that several species of bat are already using the tunnels as a roost. We are hoping to install some passive acoustic detectors so that we can analyse the bat calls to give us an indication of the different species using the roost.

Photos taken in the tunnels showing evidence of use by bats.

BD: What would you say to other groups thinking about creating their own hibernaculum?

JB: The long-term survival of bat colonies depends on the availability of suitable roost sites and on the management of foraging sites around the roost. The creation of suitable cavities, especially for maternity roosts, and of tunnels which provide a constant temperature for winter hibernation roosts is hugely important as bats live for a long time and such projects can prove critical to their long-term survival. Education of the public, conservationists, and those in authority is essential as the preservation of natural roost sites is more important than any mitigation measures that we can devise. http://gmb.bzh/svp-chauve-souris/ It would be a great dis-service to the bats if all we could offer them in twenty years’ time would be a concrete corridor!

BD: Do you have any plans for future developments based on your experience of this project?

JB: We hope to continue with our plans to increase the provision of these artificial roost sites but also to preserve the natural sites which bats are using at the moment, in areas of known bat populations, particularly the Greater Horseshoes. In parallel to this we are encouraging landowners to retain, and maintain, old hedgerows which link roost sites and provide foraging corridors. In
France there is a national programme for preserving areas of biodiversity called “Trame Verte et Bleue” (Green lines and Blue) the aim of this programme is to preserve the connections between areas that are important to wildlife so that animals, and even plant species, are not limited by geographic isolation. This has been incorporated into urban development for several years and wildlife corridors are being established. There is a strong incentive to promote such ideas, not only for the bats, but for all of us who care about the natural world. We are committed to promote ambitious conservation projects like this hibernation roost in Brittany.

BD: Although the GMB is quite a small organisation it is certainly punching above its weight. Their recent publication of the Atlas des Mammifières de Bretagne should be an inspiration to all of us. It is full of maps and splendid photographs, showing the distribution of mammals in Brittany. It is particularly good on bats – be sure to take your bat detectors on holiday and report your finds via their website. http://gmb.bzh/envoi-observations/

The GMB are giving the bats a voice at regional and at national level in France – we should all be trying to inform and work with our local councils, our MPs, and the general public to be more sensitive to the needs of bats in our local environment.
JB: As for the vast hibernation site in the quarry, come back in ten years’ time and we will tell you how it’s going…

Josselin Boireau                                                         Thomas Dubos


Chargé de mission « Etudes et conservation »                                                              

Actions chauves-souris dans le Finistère - coordinateur du Contrat Nature           «  Micromammifères et Trame Verte et Bleue »
Breton Mammal Group  http://gmb.bzh/le-gmb/

Beatrice Dopita, River Allen Bat Roost www.riverallenbatroost.org.uk