Bat to work for our ecologists

03 Jan 2017

It might be sub-zero outside but the cold does not deter our ecologists from learning.  Gemma Holmes, a Place Services' ecologist has spent much of 2016 learning all she can about bats. Having gained a huge amount of survey experience, both in previous roles and with Place Services, Gemma is keen to specialise in these fascinating creatures. 

To further her knowledge, Gemma decided to embark on 2 weeks' intensive training on the renowned Bat Licence Training Course with Sandie Sowler (a big name in bat conservation) and Richard Crompton (an acclaimed bat surveyor).

Week one was spent in sunny Dorchester in August and focused on summer roosts, with a particular emphasis on horseshoe bats, a family with a restricted distribution to the south-west of the UK and South Wales. Week two was in December, at the not so sunny Talybony-On-Usk in Wales, and focused on hibernating bats in buildings, again with many sightings of the lesser horseshoe.  

Between these weeks Gemma also had the opportunity to spend a day handling bats at Sussex Bat Hospital.  It is run by Jenny Clark who has dedicated her life to bat conservation. Jenny has 13 of our 17 resident species enabling Gemma to handle everything from a tiny pipistrelle up to a much larger noctule. 

Gemma returned from Wales having passed the Bat Licence Training Course and is ready to apply for her Class 2 bat licence. Please do not hesitate to get in contact if you would like more information or to book a survey at ecology.placeservices@essex.gov.uk