Another year and another season getting to know our local Bechstein's bats. We've spent the winter getting data sorted and embarking on new projects as well. Toby went off to Canada in December to study carnivorous bats with Brock Fenton, and was last heard of in the depths of Belize. Jo had a baby boy in the early hours of Christmas Eve and is enjoying parenthood, but this has meant she didn't get all the records sent off to local records centres etc, as quick as she'd like, but it's nearly all done and hasn't written up notes from our winter Bechstein's knowledge sharing meeting (sorry - next job on list). Chris has been capturing great footage of otters, bats and other wildlife and coaching his local rugby team to stardom.
Surveying this year has got off to a slow start with late spring and night time temperatures barely reaching 10 degrees Celsius until this week. Hopefully we will get the chance to start some surveys in new areas this week - fingers crossed.
We have received a new NE license for 2013 and will continue to explore the how Bechstein's use the landscape around Bernwood Forest. We are also pleased to say that we continue to receive positive support and interest from local woodland owners and farmers.
We have some interesting ideas but must continue with the plans from last year which were so rudely interrupted by bad weather. We'll continue to liaise closely with other projects in the area including our colleagues in the NBBG and the High Speed Rail (HS2) bat consultants, to ensure we don't over disturb the bats.
Recent reports indicate that the HS2 ecologists caught and tagged a female Barbastelle nearby in the Greatmoor area, together with a brown long eared bat. Colleagues in the bat group have also reported catching and radio tracking a female Bechstein's bat at Finemere Wood. All good stuff and we look forward to hearing more about this.
Don't forget to follow progress and updates here and on Twitter and hopefully we will see some of you on the surveys. Here's hoping for better weather than in 2012!
Welcome to the Bernwood Forest Bechstein's Project Blog! Following the discovery of breeding Bechstein's in Buckinghamshire during a National Bat Conservation Trust survey, this subsequent project was conceived by Chris Damant, Jo Hodgkins and Toby Thorne to follow up and find out more. See below for updates on the blog and follow our Twitter feed @bechsteins.
All work is conducted under license from Natural England. All British Bats are protected by law.
The Bernwood Forest Bechstein's Project is a project of the North Bucks Bat Group.