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This is a selection of our recent events. To find out more about what we get up to come along to one of our monthly meetings. You can view archived news and event items here.
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Members enjoy Group event

Towards the end of the month, 18 members enjoyed a walk around the grounds of Thornbridge Hall, just north of Bakewell for a bat group members event.
With the event being further north, we had lots of members we rarely see attend and they were treated to views of brown long-eared bats emerging from the stable block along with four other species.
Derbyshire Bat Group members standing in from of Thornbridge Hall and Gardens

Above: Bat Group members in from of Thornbridge Hall, Derbyshire.

Our book on new shelves!

You may have heard that Derbyshire Wildlife Trust (DWT) have opened two charity shops in Derbyshire in Bakewell and Belper. They have very kindly offered to stock our Bat Walks in Derbyshire Booklet and we're hoping to see then fly off the shelves, so don't forget, if you're in town don't forget to pop in and pick up your copy!
Steve hands books over to DWT at their new wildlife charity shop in Bakewell Inside the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust Charity shop at Bakewell

Above: Vice chair Steve hands over the books to Bakewell shop manager Jenny.

Poker's Leys Bat Box Check

We had a snowy bat box check on 21st January 2018 at the Calke Abbey estate in south Derbyshire. We have a bat box scheme of around 40 boxes in the parkland that we check each year. The highlight was this box full of 36 soprano pipistrelle bats!
Soprano pipistrelles in a Calke Abbey bat box

Above: A woodcrete bat box with 36 soprano pipistrelle bats inside.

Little Eaton Bat Walk

On Friday 4th August 2017 we gave a bat talk and walk for the new volunteer group 'Little Eaton Canal Restoration Group'. 25 people came out for the walk around the village and down the old canal and 3 bat species were detected with great views of noctule and common pipistrelle bats.
Little Eaton Villagers watch bats flying around the church Little Eaton OAP hall bat talk

Above: Villagers watch bats flitting around the parish church and the talk at the OAP hall.

Spring Cleaning

Two members went to mid-Derbyshire on 25th February 2017 to help a roost owner clean one of the county's most important roosts. In the attic of this house is the largest known brown long-eared bat roost with over 200 individuals counted during the summer months for the National Bat Monitoring Programme. To help keep the void clean we lay plastic sheeting down in the spring and visit each year to replace the sheeting and remove the old droppings.
Steve Roe cleaning brown long-eared bat roost Brown long-eared bat droppings in Derbyshire roost

Above: Removing the old sheeting and replacing with new.

Hibernation Surveys 2017

Derbyshire Bat Conservation Group have been busy over the last few weekends undertaking various hibernation surveys in both Derbyshire and with two of our neighbouring bat groups. In total we have surveyed 26 underground structures and counted a total of 119 bats of 5 species. The results from these surveys are being sent to the National Bat Monitoring Programme and have been entered into local bat group record databases.
Hibernating Daubenton's bat soaked in water droplets in Derbyshire cave

Above: Hibernating Daubenton's bat soaked in water droplets.

Winter Wonders

Two members spent a day during the festive break in the Dovedale area of the White Peak inspecting various caves for hibernating bats. One cave which is a known bat roost in the summer contained a brown long-eared and a Natterer's, the latter species having never been recorded at this site & hibernating bats also never recorded before. A mine adit never inspected for bats before contained a brown long-eared hanging from the roof due to the low number of crevices.
There are several hibernation surveys planned for the coming weeks so keep an eye on our news pages for updates.
Hibernating brown long-eared bat in Derbyshire cave Natterer's bat hibernating in Derbyshire peak district cave

Above: Free hanging brown long-eared bat (note the ear curled behind the forearm) and Natterer's bat. Below: Vice-Chair Steve Roe inspects a crevice for hibernating bats and the distinctive wrinkled nose of a brown long-eared bat tucked deep in the rock.

Steve Roe inspecting Derbyshire cave for hibernating bats Hibernating brown long-eared bat in Derbyshire cave

Christmas Meal Decenber 2016

17 members met at the Old Poet's corner for our annual Christmas dinner. Members Pete Bush & Alan Roe had put together a quiz with Alan Wragg & Suzie Hill the winners of the 'Bat Geek of the Year' plaque.
Xmas bat group party 2016

Hilton Bat Box Check November 2016

A large number of members met on a cold wet November morning to check the bat box scheme we maintain at the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust Hilton Nature Reserve.
The colony of Natterer's bats were present with at least 16 counted, more may well have been hidden!
Natterer's bat in bat box at Hilton

Halloween Event October 2016

Thank you to those DBCG members who helped out with the Elvaston Castle Eerie Adventures Halloween event on 30th October 2016. Dead bats and bat poo were well received by the general public.
From my experience of manning stalls at family events excited children tend to want to touch and see bats rather than look at literature. If you have a prop that you think would make a good exhibit for the stand please contact a member of the committee.
Halloween bat event 2016

Springwood Bat Box Check

On Easter Sunday 15 members met to check the 30 tanglewood-wedge style boxes on this Derbyshire Wildlife Trust Reserve. The scheme is now 23 years old and some of the original boxes are still going.
We found 34 bats - 3 noctules and 31 soprano pipistrelles. Half of the boxes had evidence of being used since the last check at 32% were occupied on the day.
Processing a noctule bat noctule bat at Springwood

Above: Noctule bat being processed (note the narrow wings). Below: Noctule bat (left) and soprano pipistrelles tucked into the corner of a tanglewood-wedge style bat box.

noctule bat soprano pipistrelle bats in a tanglewood wedge bat box

Staffordshire hibernation survey

We teamed up with Staffordshire bat group on Sunday 14th February 2016 to undertake a survey of the Bincliff mines in the Manifold valley. 8 members met at Wetton on a lovely sunny day and checked nine mines and adits. A total of 32 bats were seen:
19 Natterer's
5 whiskered/Brandt's
4 Daubenton's
2 brown long-eared
2 unidentified bat species.
Bat surveyors at Bincliff mines Natterer's bat
Above: Team in Manifold valley and Natterer's bat.
Below: whiskered/Brandt's bat and a cave spider.
whiskered/Brandt's bat Cave spider

Social Media Workshop

On Saturday 13th February 2016 Joe Nunez-Mino, Director of Communications & Fundraising at the Bat Conservation Trust came up to Derbyshire to give a workshop on Social Media. 12 members bought their smartphones and tablets to the Derbyshire Eco Centre where they learnt what social media was and why they should be using it.
Several members set up Twitter accounts and as a result of the workshop, the Staffordshire and South-East Staffordshire bat groups now have Twitter accounts! One member even made social media cupcakes!
Joe Nunez-Mino social media workshop Lunch at Derbyshire Eco Centre
Above: Workshop leader Joe discusses the advantages of Social Media.
Below: Social Media themed cupcakes!
Social Media Workshop Social Media Cupcakes

NBMP Hibernation Survey

Several members met at the Ticknall Limeyards on Sunday 7th February 2016. They were there to survey the underground features around the limeyards to survey for hibernating bats as part of the National Bat Monitoring Programme. Several tunnels, dripping wells and lime kilns were inspected but due to the warm weather just a single bat was found hibernating. However several bat boxes were also inspected which had been erected the previous year and 50% of these had evidence of bats including several hibernating pipistrelles.
Ticknall limeyards bat box Ticknall dripping well

Above: Bat box at Ticknall limeyards being checked and members inside dripping well.

NBMP Hibernation Survey

Five members got kitted up for a hibernation survey near Cromford on Saturday 6th February 2016. Two disused lead mines were surveyed as part of the long-term project known as the National Bat Monitoring Project. A total of 13 bats were found hibernating.
Via Gellia mine entrance bat group members outside via gellia mine
Above: Members outside the mine entrance.
Below: whiskered bats in hibernation.
Via Gellia mine entrance bat group members outside via gellia mine

Bat box check

On Sunday 24th January we checked the bat box scheme at Calke Abbey Park. Around 50 boxes were checked and we found 53 bats using some of them. 40% of the boxes had evidence of being used in the past year and 17% were occupied by bats on the day.
Species found:
9 soprano pipistrelles
1 common pipistrelle
27 unidentified pipistrelle species
16 Leisler's

Leisler's bats in hibernation bat box Pipistrelle bats in woodcrete bat box
Above: Leisler's bats in a hibernation box and 26 pipistrelles in a woodcrete box.
Below: Pile of Leisler's bat droppings in the base of a log-box.
Leisler’s bat droppings in log box

Hibernating bats

On Saturday 23rd January, 8 members met in the White Peaks to survey 4 caves for hibernating bats owned by the National Trust. A sucessful survey with 19 bats of 4/5 species found. The results have been submitted to both Derbyshire & Staffordshire bat groups, the National Trust and the Peak District National Park Authority.
Species found:
6 Natterer's
4 Daubenton's
4 brown long-eared
4 whiskered/Brandt's
1 unidentified bat species

brown long-eared Daubenton's bat hibernating in Derbyshire cave
Above: One of the brown long-eared bats found during the survey. Below: The survey team at the start and end of the day.
bat survey team Derbyshire Peak District National Trust caves bat survey team Derbyshire Peak District National Trust

Hibernating bats

We undertook the first hibernation survey of the winter for the National Bat Monitoring Programme on 28th December in Ticknall. Despite the warm weather we found a brown long-eared in the tramway tunnel and a Natterer's in the powder store. We'll be undertaking a second check in February..

BLE Natterer's

November 2015 - Elvaston Bat Box Scheme Check

21 volunteers helped check the 57 bat boxes in the grounds of Elvaston castle on Sunday 22nd November. A total of 44% boxes had evidence of being used by bats and 19% of the boxes had bats in them on the day.
We found a total of 34 bats on the day including 24 noctules, 1 Leisler's and 9 soprano pipistrelles.

Derbyshire bat group at Elvaston Leisler's bat at Elvaston Castle

colony of noctule bats in a woodcrete bat box soprano pipistrelle bat at Elvaston castle

November 2015 - Hilton Box Check

Thirteen volunteers came to check the bat boxes at Hilton Nature Reserve. We found the resident colony of Natterer's bats in two of the bat boxes How many can you count in the photo below? Click it for the answer!
We also found 3 noctule bats and 2 soprano pipistrelles. A total of 34% boxes had evidence of being used by bats and 11% of the boxes had bats in them on the day.

Natterer's bats

Above: How many Natterer's can you count? Click on the image above for the answers.
Below (clockwise): A noctule bat, a soprano pipistrelle, a Natterer's bat and volunteers check the Hilton Nature Reserve bat boxes.

noctule bat at Hilton soprano pipistrelle bat at Hilton

volunteers check bat boxes Natterer's bat at Hilton

31st October 2015 - Halloween at Elvaston Castle

Four members took the bat group stand to Elvaston Castle to spread the good word about bats at their Halloween event. The stand was really popular with the visiting families with children getting involved in making batty objects and learning about bats in general. Thanks to Marian, Ian, Helen & Ean for manning the stand and making it so successful.
Bat group stand at Elvaston Castle Bat group stall at Elvaston Castle

24th October 2015 - Findern bat box check

Findern footpaths group have had a bat box scheme along some of their footpaths for several years now and we went to check them on Saturday 24th October. A good turnout of 9 volunteers - a mixture of both bat group & footpaths group members.
Of the 19 boxes we checked, 84% had been used in the past 6 months which is a pretty impressive result! There were 10 bats using the boxes on the day - 10 soprano pipistrelles and 3 Leisler's bats.
soprano pipistrelles in a bat box Leisler's bats in a bat box
Checking the Findern bat boxes soprano pipistrelle bat being processed
Above: A box of soprano pipistrelles, 2 Leisler's bats in a bat box and a soprano pipistrelle being processed.

12th October 2015 - Whitwell wood bat box check

Members encountered plenty of bats this Sunday. 12 soprano pipistrelles, 8 pipistrelle species (these weren't identified to species level as they were left in the box), 3 Leisler’s and 1 noctule.
40% of the boxes had been used by bats in the past year with 20% of the boxes being occupied on the day.
Examining a bat at Whitwell wood Leisler's bat
Leisler's bat soprano pipistrelle bat being processed
Above: A Leisler's bat being processed, (you can see the hairy underwing) and a pipistrelle (bottom right).

29th September - Group reaches caving community

On the last weekend of September, DBCG had its inaugral visit to Hidden Earth, the UK's National Caving Conference. Member's Jess & Steve each gave a lecture on the Saturday morning on bats underground and our autumn swarming project.
Both talks recieved lots of questions and raised several discussions about bats underground. We disseminated some of the results from the current dataset.
We also had a bat group stand present at the event with lots of free information available for the 300 or so caving delegates at the event including bat cookies baked by Jess!

Derbyshire bat group at Hidden Earth caving conference Derbyshire bat group at Hidden Earth caving conference
Derbyshire bat group at Hidden Earth caving conference Derbyshire bat group at Hidden Earth caving conference
Above: Our stand at the National Caving Conference, Hidden Earth.

20th June 2015 – NBMP Roost Surveys underway

Bat group members have begun undertaking their summer surveys of bat maternity roosts for the Bat Conservation Trust's National Bat Monitoring Programme (NBMP).
We undertake surveys of several different roosts, the exact number depends on how much spare time our volunteers can give, sometimes we alternate roost counts each year. One of our longest-studied sites, Baslow Church, had its first count last Friday with 143 Daubenton's bats emerging.

30th May 2015 – Derbyshire hosts West Midlands

Did you know that only the two Midlands regions still hold regional meetings for the bat groups within those two areas? Once upon a time all regions did but they sadly have died out over the years.
Derbyshire resides within the East Midlands. However historically we were once part of the West Midlands and our strong ties with Staffordshire bat group means that we attend both East and West Midlands bat group meetings.
For the first time ever, we hosted the West Midlands bat group meeting at Calke Abbey. We're right at the top of the region but we compensated this with a chance for attendees to see serotine bats, a rarity within the Midlands.
BrumBats brought along an impressive bat cake and we spent the evening watching the three 'big' bats - noctules, serotines and Leisler's. Thanks to Simon Worledge for the photos.
West Midlands Bat Groups BrumBats bat cake

12th May 2015 – Roost Count

On 12th May several members attended a roost emergence count of our Leisler's roost which has taken up residence in one of our bat boxes. Watch the video from the event below.

9th May 2015 – Further Research

One of our study sites for our autumn swarming project is a cave that is well-known and used by the caving community. Last year we found lots of bats were using the site for autumn swarming and so we wanted to understand what the underground system was like and understand why it is so popular with bats.
Caver and bat group member Jess took a couple of us inside to explore the system and we unexpectedly found 6 bats (lone males waiting for the mating season). The three bats below are all whiskered bats.
Whiskered bats in Jug holes cave, Derbyshire Whiskered bats in Jug holes cave, Derbyshire

You can view archived news and event items here.