Find out what Norfolk Wildlife Services has been up to over the Spring and Summer 2018. Read highlights of our projects and work in our 2018 summer newsletter, or alternatively you can select individual articles from the newsletter below.
Following bat surveys, a site licence for bats (European Protected Species Licence) from Natural England is often required before development works can take place.
Where bats are affected by building works, a licenced mitigation strategy must be provided. This can include many different options such as special bat lofts’ bat boxes and access tiles and even stand-alone buildings bat-cotes.
The Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management and Exeter University have recently published a study looking at what does and doesn’t work effectively. Its conclusions were that:
Retaining existing bat roosts as far as possible “in situ” the development, even if modified, has the best outcome for bats, particularly when associated with re-roofing works;
Special ‘bat lofts’ within buildings worked better than bat boxes;
Bats may take several years to colonise newly built roosts, irrespective of bat lofts of boxes.
We are currently providing mitigation advice for a building conversion at Barnham Broom, which includes a brown long-eared bat maternity roost. The clients set-a-aside part of the barn to create a new roost area exclusively for bats. When we visited 1-year post-construction, there were bat droppings and an adult brown long-eared bat already using the ‘bat loft’. Our client, Julie Eagle was delighted “I am thrilled bats are continuing to use our site, and we want to encourage all wildlife here.”
Please contact us to discuss your project, and how best to incorporate bat mitigation strategies and licensing into your development.
Another busy year at Norfolk Wildlife Services, with survey work across Norfolk for a huge variety of projects. Read highlights about how we helped our clients, the wildlife we have seen in our most recent winter newsletter in download here!
Alternatively you can select individual articles from this newsletter below!
Click here to download our winter 2017/2018 newsletter
An unusually warm autumn has meant more bats out in the evenings later in the year than normal. This provided students from East Coast College with a chance to gain bat survey experience on two different dusk surveys.
Ben Moore, Assistant Ecologist at NWS, said: “Our first site was along a stretch of the upper reaches of the river Bure surrounded by wet grassland and woodland edge. We had great views of noctules, one of our largest bats, as they foraged high in the twilight over the open grassland”.
East Coast College students gain experience by helping with bat surveys
“The students heard the characteristically slow slapping calls of the noctule, which distinguished it from most other species. Once it had become darker, we saw bats over the water, their white underbellies still visible. Coupled with distinctive rapid ‘machine gun’ like calls, this identified Daubenton’s bats using the river to feed on mosquitoes and other tasty morsels of the flying insect variety.”
“The second survey site was along a stretch of the Marriott’s way, a well-sheltered commuting and foraging route for bats with its tree-lined embankments. Here we observed common pipistrelle and soprano pipistrelle and used a handheld frequency detector to tell them apart as they zipped up and down the disused railway.””
It’s that time of year again when we start planning for the forthcoming survey season.
However, don’t think we have been twiddling out thumbs since November! There have been Phase 1 surveys to carry out and arboricultural impact assessments to write – but now we’re coming up the busy season.
By planning ahead and taking account of various seasonal constraints posed by many protected species we can help project managers avoid potential delays in submitting planning applications or enabling construction works. For example the breeding season for great crested newts typically starts in mid-March and continues until mid-June (subject to weather), which dictates the optimal window for surveying.
Click on the image to view a calendar that identifies the seasonal constraints associated with ecological and protected species surveys.
In anticipation of the survey season we’ve been tidying up the equipment shed, ensuring we have all the kit needed for the months ahead:
The great crested newt bottle traps have been made making sure all the associated canes all have hazard tape on so we don’t lose any.
The bat detector batteries are all on charge and the pencils have been sharpened.
There have been trips to the DIY store and roofing felt cut to size for reptile surveys.
The life-jackets have been sent for a service ready for water based surveys and our wellies have all been cleaned.
We look forward to working with you during this survey season and throughout the year. If you have any questions about surveys and when they can be undertaken please do let us know.
Natural England guidance on chemicals not affecting bats is hard to find on gov.uk. We have uploaded a copy of “Natural England Technical Information Note TIN092 Bat roosts and timber treatment products” [TIN092_Bat_Friendly_Timber_Treatment], which is the First edition dated 15 March 2011. This gives a list of those commonly available products currently approved as remedial timber treatment chemicals and products in bat roosts. This was an update to the information in the 3rd edition of the Bat Workers Manual.
We know the list is not comprehensive. If you can’t find what you are looking for, you may be best to get us to ring Natural England on your behalf. They are very friendly and generally able to make a quick response on the subject.
By May, the bat survey season is well and truly underway and at NWS surveys are taking place almost every day of the week.
Initial surveys are undertaken to look for evidence of bats and if found then typicaly three nocturnal surveys (dawn and dusk) may be required during the main survey season, i.e. May to September.
During a dusk survey, surveyors watch the building from 15 minutes before dusk and 2 hours after dusk to watch for any bats emerging from the building. A bat detector and a recording device are used to record any bat calls which are then analysed to confirm the sightings and to identify species. Target notes are also recorded on a map so any points of entry can be identified.
During a dawn survey, surveyors watch the building for the 2 hours before dawn (which means a very early start!). The same method is used as in a dusk survey but the surveyors are mainly watching for bats to return to roost.
These surveys can be really interesting and exciting if there is lots of activity at the site but they can also be a bit boring if there isn’t much going on (you are essentially staring at a building for 2 hours…. potentially at 2.30am!). It can be worth getting up super early though if you get a close encounter with a bat like at a recent site where Brown Long-eared bats were roosting just above our heads in a barn.
We couldn’t find a list of “European Protected Species” in Norfolk, so we made one for you.The following is a list of EPS that are “present in their natural range” in Norfolk, correct on date of publication. Continue reading →