First Meeting a Great Success!
Herefordshire Bat Group's first public meeting was held on the 22nd February 2000 in Ledbury, at the Church of the Most Holy Trinity's hall. Over 60 people came to listen to Phil Richardson, (Chairman of the Bat Conservation Trust) give a very entertaining and informative talk and slide presentation on 'Bats World Wide'.
The Group had welcome support from both the Gloucestershire and Worcestershire Bat Groups and some younger enthusiasts also came along. At the end of Phil's talk, Andy Moody (Gloucestershire Group) produced some of his pipistrelles that had been orphaned last year, providing a suitable finale. Most attendees stayed for refreshments, a chat and a look at the displays afterwards. All in all it was a pretty good start!!
Gearing up for the Summer!
The Bat Detector Workshop which was held on the 8th April 2000, at The Weir, Hereford was enjoyed by all those who attended. Colin Catto, Senior Field Officer for the National Bat Monitoring Programme was pleased with the turn out! 26 of us spent a day learning about how British bats make their ultrasonic calls, the ways of recognising them by using our 'sonic memory' and how to use that in conjunction with a heterodyne bat detector. We even had sunshine! Although much of the day was spent inside it was appreciated when we broke for lunch!
A number of attendees signed up for participating in the National Bat Monitoring Programme (NBMP), the results of which will assist the national baseline distribution records as well as Herefordshire's. All good fun! To view or download a summary of the NBMP click here.
On Sunday 14th of May National Parks all over the country were holding open days in association with English Nature. In Herefordshire Moccas Park, near Bredwardine, was the venue and the Bat Group was lucky enough to be given a special invite! This park is not usually open to the general public; many visitors had lived within the shadow of the gates for years and had never been inside! The sun shone and the 'punters' flocked in - we had a good response to our stall and display, and the small amount of merchandise generated additional interest. The spreading of the positive message about bats and the gathering of bat sighting data made stewing in a tent on a glourious day worthwhile. Later in the evening I assisted David Heaver, Species Officer for English Nature in Herefordshire, with the chiropteran side of the 'Bats & Moth Walk' although 8pm start was a little early for both!
These type of events are very useful in increasing the profile of the group and the importance of bat conservation.
To follow on from our Bat Detector Workshop Dr Allyson Walsh, Project Co-ordinator of the National Bat Monitoring Programme gave a talk & slide presentation on the evening of 16th May by way of introduction to the programme. Allyson explained why the project had been set up, the aims and objectives, which species are currently being targeted, the monitoring techniques used and the results of the programme to date. She also stressed how important this data collection was and how we could all contribute additional data by taking part in roost counts and field surveys. The group has arranged lesser horseshoe and pipistrelle roost counts for all who are interested.
After tea and coffee the general consensus was to wander off into the gardens for an impromtu bat walk. All participants had a 'play' with the variety of detectors that had been brought along, being useful in getting to grips with general detecting and with which detector was preferential for each individal. It was such a good idea that I think it will become a regular round up to meetings at The Weir, weather permitting!
Steve Betts, Woodland Manager, talked us through a selection of slides taken from woods that are under his care (6th June at The Weir Gardens). These illustrated the diversity of the habitat and how traditional management techniques are beneficial for wildlife and how resources for crafts such as hedgelaying can be harvested with out upsetting the level of biodiversity. A highly informative talk and if anyone would like to find out more about Greenwood Working please contact Rebecca for Steve's details. I linked bats into the picture with a few more slides, and after a quick refreshment break we disappeared into The Weir Gardens with a selection of Bat Detectors. Wonderful text book displays by noctules, natterers and pipistrelles; the daubenton's were a little more restrained!
Additional events may be scheduled so keep an eye on What's On.
© Rebecca Collins, 1999