Young and old alike joined forces at the first bat count hosted by Frome Town Council in association with the Somerset Bat Group. 38 volunteers formed 7 teams as part of the Big Bat Count at various locations across Frome and recorded a whopping 102 bats and 9 species.
The event was hosted and coordinated by Jo Morris, Frome Town Council’s Resilience Officer and supported by Andy Avery from the Somerset Bat Group. The event started with a briefing from Andy at the Town Hall who shared his bat knowledge and expertise and provided the monitoring equipment. The volunteers from FROGS, The Wild Bunch and wider community were organised into 7 teams and covered Welshmill, Packsaddle, Lower Innox, Rodden Meadow, Edmund Park, Styles Hill, Keyford and the Old Showfield.
Jo said: “We were able to borrow the equipment from Somerset Bat Group and the Echo Meter Touch microphones were connected to a tablet and picked up any bat activity and also allowed us to identify the bat species too. We were also able to listen to the bats which helped us confirm our ID, and then this was then uploaded on iNaturalist, FTC’s Community Wildlife Mapping Platform. We were thrilled to get 102 observations.”
From the Common Pipistrelle to the Serotine bat, there were 9 species of bats identified in Frome on the night out of the 17 that can be found in the UK, with 16 of those species found in Somerset.
Cllr Steve Tanner said: “The British bat population has suffered huge declines in the last century. Most species are now stable or recovering slowly, but there needs to be more research, monitoring, strong enforced laws, good land management and education, to ensure bats thrive as a vital part of our natural heritage. It was great to see all the volunteers record their findings onto our mapping platform as part of the Big Bat Count, and we looking forward to seeing more at the August count!”
To see the results of the activity at the bat count, visit Observations · iNaturalist.
You can also see the overall Frome Town project mapping at Frome Town · iNaturalist
The next Big Bat Count is taking place on Wednesday 23rd August and there is still some availability for volunteers to join. Anyone who would like to take part should email Jo Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org , please register your interest by the end of May. To find out more about the Somerset Bat Group, visit their website.