Avon Bat Group currently has bat boxes on eight different nature reserves across the former county of Avon. Anyone who is a member is welcome to attend a bat box check, regardless of experience or knowledge level.
The reserves currently with bat boxes include Chew Valley and Blagdon Lake (Bristol Water), Folly Farm & Brown's Folly (Avon Wildlife Trust), Conham River Park, Bickely Wood & Golden Valley Nature Reserve (South Gloucestershire Council) and Eastwood Farm (Bristol City Council), all of which are fantastic sites in their own right and host to a wider range of wildlife in addition to bats.
To date, eight species have been recorded roosting on these reserves, with six having been recorded in boxes and many more using the sites. The species recorded include some fascinating rarities: greater and lesser horseshoe, Bechstein's, Natterer's, noctule, brown long-eared as well as common and soprano pipistrelle.
Checks are usually undertaken once a month in April, May, August, September and October. If you are a member and haven't been out on one of these checks, get in touch with Jim or Laura, the bat box co-ordinators, and you will soon have a chance to attend one of these events and try your hand at identifying, sexing and ageing bats in the field face to face.
If you are not a member, just a reminder that membership is only £5 per household per year
– a bargain price for all the events and training run by the group.
ABG strongly recommends that anyone handling bats wears suitable gloves and is
vaccinated against rabies. Further information on this can be obtained from the group.
Avon Bat Group keeps records of bats and their roosts. There is a system of Parish Bat Wardens to help keep bat records in their patch up to date. The aim is to have at least one person looking for and updating records of bats in their parish. The committee will be looking at ways to support Wardens and fill the parishes that are currently warden free.
If you find bats in other counties, please submit records to the relevant Environmental Records Centre other places to record wildlife siightings are iSpot. Other websites of interest are the National Biodiversity Network and Wild About Britain.
All records are shared with Bristol Environmental Records Centre (BRERC), as this helps with the conservation of bat populations and can be used as evidence with respect to planning applications. We now have an MOU with BRERC, they get our bat data and we get all theirs. Bat Group members should make their data requests to Bob (our County Bat Recorder). Non-members or professional requests must be made via BRERC.