On Saturday 26th April BrumBatters met up at with other batty kind at the Midlands Bat Conference in Warwick. The Regional conferences are held every two years and feature talks, workshops and ‘spotlights’ on local bat groups.

It was great this year to see a blend of strategic bat conservation at the national level, headed up by a talk from Carol Williams, the Director of Conservation at BCT, academic studies and innovative projects being carried out at the local level. Two Brumbatters gave talks: Rachel Fryer on her undergraduate project looking at emergence behaviour of Natterer’s and Brown Long-Eared roosts; and Morgan Bowers on the evolution of the Flight Cage.

(c) Mike Ryan
Morgan Bowers talking about ‘Flight Club’. (c) Mike Ryan

I gave an update on our Batlas Project – two years ago we were at the planning stage, and on the 26/04/14 we were a few days off our official launch! Each bat group’s activities reflected their geography (from largely rural Lincolnshire covering a huge area to urban Brum) and their core members (from consultants, to academics and amateur enthusiasts). It shows that anyone can get involved in bat conservation, and you pick up your knowledge and contribute your expertise from other fields as you go along.

(c) Bat Conservation Trust
Rachel Fryer’s talk on roost emergence behaviour. (c) Bat Conservation Trust

Workshop topics included sound analysis, bat parasites, research techniques and how bats use buildings. I learned more about domestic architecture and the nooks and crannies bats can wedge into – if your thumb can fit into a hole, then a smaller bat species can make its way in!

I hope in two years’ time to give an update on our Batlas findings, and lessons learned from the surveys – and see if the more elusive species have been found in our urban and suburban quarters.