28 members were present; Iris Clarke sent her apologies.

Dr. Sheila Wright from the Natural History Museum, Wollaton Hall, spoke about Bats. Using beautiful slides, she talked about the bats' life cycle, biology and habitat, and dispelled several myths about them. She dwelt in particular on the 10 species recorded in Nottinghamshire (out of the 17 in the UK and 1000 in the world).

Bats are furry mammals with a small body and a larger wingspan, feeding on insects which they find by echo location and living in colonies of 2-300 females. They like to hibernate in cold and damp conditions, waking in March and April when food becomes available, and giving birth to a single offspring in June. They can live for 20- 25 years.

Bats described included some local species, such as the Pipistrelle, the smallest and most common British bat, the quieter Brown Long-Eared bat, the Daubenton bat, which is the largest and feeds over Wollaton Park lake, the rather scarce Natterer's bat, and the Noctule bat, which lives in holes in tree trunks.

Foreign bats described were the Horse Shoe which uses nasal echo, Flying Foxes with a wing span of over 5 ft, big eyes and no echo location and the tiny Bumble Bee bat from Thailand.

Dr. Wright mentioned ways in which the declining bat population can be protected and in conclusion passed round some stuffed specimens.

Dr. Wright was thanked by Walter Grauberg for her outstanding presentation and warmly applauded. A £3 booklet on The Bats of Nottinghamshire, packed with information and co-authored by Dr. Wright, is available from the Museum, with profits to bat conservation.

In the limited time available, a few items of business were discussed

  • Should we seek funding for an extension of the gravel path round the plateau? The group seemed divided and the matter was deferred to a later date.
  • Should we ask for lighting to be installed on the Sandy Lane-Wollaton bridleway? One member argued that in winter this much-used shortcut from the shops and bus stop was dark, others preferred natural light. On a vote the proposal was rejected.
  • Mr. Willoughby may be willing to have the plastic fence on the bridleway replaced.
  • Geoff. Fewkes seeks volunteers to construct stepped access from Thoresby Road. He hopes to provide soon a map of the area, requested at a previous meeting.

Several members praised the website he has created:www.bramcote-ridge.org.uk

Forthcoming meetings

  • Sunday 10th February at 10.30 - Footpath improvement Monday 4th March at 7.30 - Talk on badgers
  • Sunday 10th March at 10.30 - Mulch removal (see enclosed project newsletter)

The Friends are always looking for extra pairs of hands to help out or to simply support their work, so...

  • to find out when the next work session will take place, click here, or
  • to find out about becoming a member please contact us here, or
  • to discover what goes into managing the sites click here.

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