Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Norfolk Bat Survey at Rocklands: exciting first results!

To my surprise, the BTO have already processed the data from the first O. S. grid square that I collected as part of their Norfolk Bat Survey. They sent me an interesting resumé, the highlights of which appear below.

On the inaugural night of 25 July the recorder was located in a garden by an old clay-lump cottage along Green Lane. All three pipistrelles were recorded including the scarcest, Nathusius' Pipistrelle. There have been fewer than 850 British records of this bat (fide http://www.nathusius.org.uk) which was first reorded in Norfolk just 15 years ago; it's known UK distribution is plotted here (copied below).

All known UK records of Nathusius' Pipistrelle Pipistrellus nathusi (source: http://www.nathusius.org.uk/Distribution.htm)
Another uncommon bat, Serotine, was the fourth species. In the UK, it occurs south of a line from Cornwall to The Wash and classically roosts in old buildings, often churches. Its populations are declining.

The following evening, St. Peter's Church produced six confirmed species of bat. The Barbastelle  was the highlight. Its UK population is estimated to be c. 5000 and decreasing, and it is considered Near Threatened internationally.

Barbastelle Barbastella barbastellus UK distribution (source: http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/publications/jncc312/species.asp?FeatureIntCode=S1308)

Serotine was present once again. The other species were Noctule, Common and Soprano Pipistrelles and Brown Long-eared Bat. Nathusius' Pipistrelle may have been recorded too.

Bat detector @ St Peter's Church, Rocklands
A complex of old clay-lump barns and outbuildings next door to the church, which used to hold good numbers of bats, are in the process of renovation. Hopefully, mitigation measures have been taken to ensure that the bats are able to find new roost sites.

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