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HBG Projects

Projects in Hampshire

New Forest Bechstein’s & Barbastelle Survey 
The New Forest – An Important Area for Bats in Hampshire - Colleen Hope (nee Mainstone)
Bechstein’s bat Myotis bechsteinii and barbastelle bat Barbastella barbastellus are two of the rarest bats in Europe. Until a few years ago only a handful of breeding sites for either species were known in the UK. In 2006 Hampshire Bat Group established a project to investigate their distribution in the New Forest. A handful of injured bats had been found in the preceding 20 years but little more was known about the status of the two species.

Funding was obtained from the New Forest Sustainable Development Fund and New Forest Trust to buy equipment for the surveys with all labour provided by volunteers. These have been a combination of detector transects and capture/ radio tracking surveys. Since 2006 four Bechstein’s and three barbastelle maternity colonies have been found across the Forest. Work is on-going and further money has recently been granted to establish bat box survey sites in four areas where we suspect either one or both species are present and breeding.

Grey long-eared Plecotus austriacus bat is also a rare species, confined in the UK to the south with a stronghold on the Isle of Wight and a handful of records along the south coast. It has been recorded in the New Forest and it is hoped that we may encounter it through our surveys of the area. A few additional sites are being targeted where suitable habitat for the species is known. The National Park has also provided funding for DNA analysis of long eared droppings found by bat group members in the New Forest.

Elsewhere a metapopulation of Bechstein’s is known in the southeast of the county and a breeding colony of barbastelle bats at Mottisfont near Romsey. Both species have been captured at Greywell Tunnel during swarming surveys as well as at two other locations during HBG capture surveys. Barbastelle bats have been recorded on bat detectors throughout the county although as yet there are no further confirmed breeding sites. There are also likely to be other breeding colonies of Bechstein’s bats in the county and HBG surveys of other sites are on-going.

Please click here for the June 2012 project update.

Please click here for the August 2012 project update.

Greywell Tunnel
Information will be added on this project shortly, please check back!

Hibernation Counts
During the winter bat group members are active undertaking regular surveys of hibernation sites such as disused railway tunnels, old pill boxes, historic buildings and ruins and many fortifications along our coast and a purpose built bat cave near Eastleigh! Numbers are limited to reduce disturbance as many of these sites are sensitive, however opportunities are available for new people training for a licence or just wanting relevant experience. To find out more, come along to the next Members' Event.

National Projects

National Bat Monitoring Project
Surveyors are always needed to support BCT (Bat Conservation Trust's) national bat monitoring projects (NBMP). A number of different species are organised by Bat Conservation Trust each year. Specific projects for monitoring Daubenton's on rivers, Noctules, Serotines and Pipistrelles (NSP) on walk about transects, counting Serotines, Daubenton's and Natterers from roosts. For more information visit BCT's website.  Many of the NBMP surveys tie in well with local surveys and information can be shared. Hampshire Bat Group can help you by providing training or information on householders willing for people to count out their bats and possibly with relevant equipment.  Please ensure that any data you collate is given to the Hampshire Bat Group as well as BCT EACH YEAR!

Bats and Roadside Mammals Survey
This joint project between Bat Conservation (BCT) and Mammals Trust UK (MTUK) began in 2005, building on from a MTUK survey running since 2001.  The survey entails driving slowly down a transect route recording bats using a time expansion bat detector and taking notes of mammals alongside the road.  The Hampshire Bat Group was one of several bat groups who took part last year, and will continue the survey this year, beginning in May. For more details of this survey or for how to take part, see page 7 of the Spring 2011 edition of Bat Droppings or contact Hampshire survey organiser Erika Dahlberg on 01962 849216.

Mark Rose,
28 Dec 2011, 03:37