Jo Gregory, Senior Consultant at Arbtech, co-delivered a Level 2 Bat Survey Class Licence Training Course on 21st to 24th August 2017.

The training course was attended by nine participants who each held a Level 1 Bat Survey Class Licence and wanted to obtain the relevant skills required to upgrade their licence to Level 2.

The participants were split into groups of three with each group assigned an individual trainer: Jo Gregory; Gail Armstrong; and David Marshall. The trainers continually assessed the progress of each participant in their group to ensure that they reached the required standard to pass the training course and receive a reference for their Level 2 Class Licence.

Activities undertaken:

  • Using an endoscope on buildings
  • Using an endoscope on trees
  • Catching bats at a roost in static hand-held net
  • Taking bats by hand
  • Bat identification in the hand
  • Release of bats taken by hand

The course included daytime classroom sessions covering:

  • Licensing, handling bats, keeping records
  • Practice net technique and working in teams
  • Bat Anatomy
  • Bat Identification
  • Bat handling and in-hand ID
  • Bats and rabies
  • Bat ID quiz / assessment
  • Scenarios of handling, lawful acts, managing the unexpected followed by a group discussion

Field work included an endoscope session at the course venue – completing endoscope investigations of several buildings at Borwick Hall in Lancashire, and an endoscope session in the Sizergh Castle Woodland completing endoscope investigations of potential roosting features on trees.

Evening sessions involved the course participants working in teams to catch bats emerging from a roost using a hand net. Three nights of capturing with a hand net were undertaken and by the final night course participants were able to safely catch a bat using a hand net; carefully extract the bat from the net; identify the bat to species, sex, breeding condition and age; and safely release the bats from the hand. Participants also experienced catching a bat by hand and/or with a hand net in a flight cage.

Roosts found/visited:

  • Soprano pipistrelle maternity roost in house
  • Soprano pipistrelle maternity roost in wood-clad outhouse
  • Mixed species roost in wood-clad outhouse
  • Brown long-eared night roost
  • Common pipistrelle day roost
  • Evidence of bat roost in stone-built store
  • Known Daubenton’s bat roost in beech tree

Species handled & identified:

  • Pipistrellus pipistrellus
  • Pipistrellus pygmaeus
  • Myotis brandtii
  • Myotis mystacinus
  • Myotis nattererii
  • Plecotus auritus
  • Nyctalus noctula
  • Nyctalus leisleri

All participants fully engaged with the training course and made exceptional progress over the four days/three nights. All participants passed the course and were provided with a course completion certificate, break down of the course and a reference. These documents along with their application form were sent to Natural England and in the majority of cases their Level 2 Class Licences were issued within 48hrs of submission.

Due to the success of the course and excellent feedback received from participants it is planned to repeat this course in August 2018.

An overview of the feedback received included:

Interactive with a chance to participate at all times, good discussion on unusual scenarios, well planned with a good variety of situations

Relaxed atmosphere

Course topics were very specific for L2

Flight cage experience, BLE flying

Good dynamics from course leaders, shared their knowledge generously, very supportive, good ratio of leaders to students

Field trips excellent, relaxed handling session with captive bats, the catching sessions were good

The bat library, ID tip sheets

Tests and challenges were appropriate without excessive pressure

Going to pub was a good finish

There will also be Bat Handling and ID one day training courses in January and February 2018. These courses are an excellent introduction to bat handling and those participating in the Level 2 Class Licence Training Course commented on how useful it had been to have attended the bat handling course earlier in the year.

If you are interested in any of the above training courses and would like more information please contact Jo Gregory [email protected]ech.co.uk