1 ISLES OF SCILLY BAT GROUP Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on Wednesday 20 July 2016 at the Garden Pavilion, Church Road, St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly at 13.00 Present: Liz Askins; Marian Bennett; Anne Gurr; Mike Gurr; John Headon; Johann Hicks (6). Lisa Worledge, our speaker from BCT attended as an observer. 01/16
Chairman’s Introduction Marian welcomed members. She thanked her fellow officers, Anne and Mike for all their work in preparing for this meeting. Marian referred to a recent question about bat conservation in the House of Lords by Tony Berkeley and said that Tony, Lord Berkeley, would be pleased to ask further questions on behalf of the Bat Group and BCT if requested. His contact details were supplied to Lisa for future use by BCT should they wish.
Minutes of the Annual General Meeting on 7 May 20132. Pre-circulated: taken as read; no matters arising not on agenda.
Secretary’s Report for July 2015-July 2016 •
Mike gave a brief account of the Group’s activities since July 2015, when we had our last General Meeting
Our main meeting in 2015 was an ambitious one on the subject of Improving Biological Recording. It was held in conjunction with The Isles of Scilly Bird Group and The Bat Conservation Trust. The idea for the meeting arose from concerns from both the Bat Group and the Bird Group that records of bird or bat sightings submitted to the groups often provided insufficient information to be useful for conservation purposes. The aim of the meeting was to inform each other what recording systems were in current use, to decide what information would ideally be required and to derive a system that encouraged recorders in future to supply the most useful information. o John Headon described recording systems used by the Bird Group and also spoke about recording requirements for butterflies and moths. He discussed how records for a variety of taxa could be co-ordinated. o Mike described current practice within the Bat Group and its problems. o Katherine Boughey from the Bat Conservation Trust discussed how BCT uses distribution records (derived mainly
from its National Bat Monitoring Programme) to inform bat conservation. Rosemary Parslow talked about her own work as the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland plant recorder for the IOS and also about the work of the Cornwall and IOS Federation of Biological Recorders. In the absence of a speaker from the Environmental Records Centre for Cornwall and the IOS, Rosemary briefly sketched its role. There were 23 participants, 10 of them members of the Bat Group. The recommendation of the meeting was that would-be recorders should be encouraged to supply data in a way that does not put them off. It was agreed that a Recorders’ Group should be set up to exchange ideas, disseminate information and encourage observers to send them useful records. For all sorts of reasons I have to report that, disappointingly, nothing further has materialized. A bat walk was held in the evening. Seven from the meeting and four visitors were entertained by considerable bat activity throughout the circuit.
Four regular bat walks have been conducted on St Mary’s during this period and one on Bryher. In addition, several ‘specials’ were put on for the benefit of friends or visitors from other bat groups, whose visits could not coincide with our scheduled walks. Anne and Mike were treated to a wonderful bat walk in the Parkhurst Forest during a holiday on the Isle of White last September, where they encountered many more species than can be seen in Scilly. They were shown a remarkable new piece of equipment for recording bats – see Treasurer’s report below. They also visited an amazing bat hospital.
Five regular roost counts were done at Maypole Farm, St Mary’s. Three of these were in connexion with the NBMP. The peak count was 20 compared with 89 the previous year. This count was in April and subsequent counts in June were 1 and 5 in July. Counts at Tresco Abbey this year have been 144,162 and 174 compared with a 2015 peak of 272. It is too early to say whether this indicates a real decline in bat numbers.
Two NBMP Field Surveys NBMP have been done on St Mary’s this month, the second only last night. Bat passes recorded were 32 and compared with 26 and 51 last year. On Tresco, the first field survey recorded 62 passes compared with 93 last year. As field surveys are
3 regarded by BCT as more reliable indicators of bat status than roost counts, there may be cause for concern but more time is needed to be sure. •
No ‘new’ roosts have been discovered since the last AGM. The roost thought to be in the vicinity of Harry’s Walls was re-investigated but no trace was found..
Mike & Anne are the only licensed bat warden volunteers now doing surveys. They have conducted 7 since the last AGM. Thanks are due to Christine Blackwell who assisted on a particularly tricky survey (the incinerator site) and who has helped in guiding almost every bat walk.
Two new bat boxes were issued to local residents. No overall assessment of bats in the 15 or so bat boxes around St Mary’s was done. It requires a lot of effort for very little reward.
Promotion of the Group has continued in various ways. These have included articles about the Group for the Bird Group Review and the AONB newsletters as well as the website. There has been no broadcast on Radio Scilly since Keri left but will try to remedy that next year. Mike asked Lisa if we could have a higher profile in the BCT Newsletters? She suggested an article on the work of the Group in organizing bat walks with its large outreach.
Finally, we are grateful to BCT for their continued help and advice and especially to Lisa for attending this meeting and her unstinting support. Following the Secretary’s report, John Headon updated the meeting on developments in the Bird Group that were relevant to earlier remarks about the Recorders’ Group. He reported that the annual Bird Review would be available in September. It would be more extensive than previous issues and would include a review of the Bat Group’s work contributed by Mike. It would contain a reference to the Recorder’s Group; there had been considerable difficulties in getting all the ‘core group’ together. The hope was expressed that receipt of the Bird Review would re-invigorate interest in the Recorders’ Group so that it could be up and running in the new year.
Treasurer’s Report. Anne presented copies of the audited accounts for 2014/5, which had already been circulated to members.
Interim Summary of Bat Group Finances 20th July 2016 Income Subs subs)
Bat Walks Donation
(Includes 2 payments of 5 year’s
£80.00 £40.00 _________ £290.00
Expenditure No expenditure
Brought forward from 2014-2015 £727.14
Subscription charge. After briefly summarizing and explaining the accounts, Anne suggested to members that the subscription should remain at £5 per individual member per annum. This was approved unanimously by members present. Change in accounting year. Anne explained that the AGM used to be in November and the accounting year ended in October. Since we now have the AGM during our one main summer meeting, it would make sense to move the accounting year to coincide with the calendar year. This was approved unanimously by members present. Approval for new equipment. Anne described the bat recording equipment that we had been shown on the Isle of Wight. This is called the ‘Echo Meter Touch’ manufactured and marketed by Wildlife Acoustics Ltd. This is a small ultrasonic module that connects directly to an iPad. It enables one to listen to bats in real time, to record onto the iPad and store the information. Using certain software, it can rapidly identify bat species (although, depending on conditions, it may not be 100% accurate) and a GPS system can be incorporated so that the location of the bats can also be specified. Anne argued that this equipment could fulfil two uses: firstly as another aid to add
6 interest for people on bat walks; secondly for our own research purposes in providing records of bat distribution on the Islands and identifying ‘visiting species’ other than our usual common pipistrelles. Anne pointed out that this could be a great asset to the Group; we had over £1000 in the account that should be spent on something useful. She estimated that the total package should cost something in the region of £750. John Headon asked about the requirement and costs for additional software. Anne said that these could be easily obtained from free downloadable software. John further enquired about the necessity of using the iPad and Anne replied that the Echo Meter Touch required either an iPad or a suitable mobile ‘phone. After discussion, members voted unanimously for this expenditure. Anne then agreed to look for the best prices available on the internet and would proceed with the purchases shortly. 05/15 Any Other Business There was none. The meeting closed at 13.50.