Problems with Email addresses

We have just been alerted to the fact that there are problems with email addresses. Emails sent to their server are routinely bouncing (regardless of which email server they are sent from).

If you have provided such an email to either the mammal group or the bat group, and if you are no longer receiving emails (a series of WBG membership-wide emails were sent over the weekend, for example) then please contact the relevant group and provide an alternative email address. We obviously cant email you at the moment to request this individually!

Although this has only just come to light, it appears to have been an issue for some time.

Cheers! WBG.



A Review of the Population and Conservation Status of British Mammals

This report, from the Mammal Society, presents the first comprehensive review of the status of British mammal populations for over 20 years. The population size, range size, temporal trends and future prospects of Britain’s 58 terrestrial mammals are assessed.

Further details, and the technical summary, may be found here.

This publication has used mammal records collected from across the UK, from a multitude of source that includes the local mammal groups and local environmental records centres. So a big thank you to the WMG and WBG members who contributed to the Wiltshire Mammal Atlas Project, and who continue to share their records – your efforts are included in the recently-published Review of British Mammals.

Please keep those records coming in!

Barbastelle Bat Radiotracking

Barbastelle bats using the land between Devizes and Salisbury Plain have been studied since 2015, including the radiotracking of 3 females in 2015 and at least monthly roost monitoring. Further work was undertaken in May 2018 to learn more about this population, where they roost, breed and forage.

A big thank you to the trapping team who helped on the 19th May; a delightful catch of 5 Barbastelle bats (inc two retraps from 2015), 2 Bechstein’s and a series of Whiskered, Natterer’s, Brown Long-eared and Soprano Pipistrelle bats enabled us to place radiotags on two of the Barbastelle bats.

These two adult female bats lead us to a number of new tree roosts but perhaps most interesting was that one of them favoured the timber-clad dwelling that the 2015 tagged bats also favoured. Simultaneous emergence counts at the dwelling and a new tree roost on the opposite side of the valley produced counts of 6 and 7 adults respectively (I wonder how many we missed!?).

Both of the 2018 tagged bats foraged extensively around the Salisbury Plain military training area, foraging 10km to the south of their roosts not far from Tilshead. These bats are clearly “hard as nails” – they were foraging on the training area during military live-firing exercises (heavy artillery) with heavy use of flares to illuminate the landscape.

Huge thanks to the trapping team and the radiotracking team (Sarah Jupp, Lisa Wade and Kate Hand) – it was an epic week! Huge thanks also to all of the landowners who support this work and to the MOD’s Range Safety & Range Control.


The two tagged female Barbastelle bats, May 2018 (C) Gareth Harris




Small mammal trapping surveys 2018

During the coming spring and summer, Wiltshire Mammal Group will be undertaking some small mammal trapping surveys at a site near to Amesbury.

WMG Members will be welcome to participate in this work and to learn how to undertake such surveys.

More details including dates will be released in due course, but in the meantime, if people are interested in participating, please let us know and express your interest to and we’ll compile a list of interested members and keep you posted.

Thanks. GH.

Wiltshire Bat Group meetings 2018

The 2018 meetings of Wiltshire Bat Group will be:

  • Thursday 10th May 2018 (including a talk on Wiltshire’s Bechstein’s & Barbastelle Project and recent findings, by Gareth Harris, county recorder),
  • Thursday 8th November 2018 (including a speaker, yet to be confirmed!)

Both meetings will start at 7pm at Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s offices in Devizes. The meeting is open to anyone interested in supporting or getting involved in bat conservation in Wiltshire.

The meeting will start promptly at 7pm – please bear in mind that the meeting room is on an upstairs floor and so the front door of the building must be locked during the meeting. If you can avoid running late that would be great if – but in the event anyone is unavoidably running late, a phone number will be posted on the notice board by the door to call for you to be let in!

The Wiltshire Wildlife Trust offices, Elm Tree Court may be found off Long Street, Devizes SN10 1NJ. There will be parking available here, or nearby in town. If you’ve not been here before, allow yourself extra time to find it – the access into Elm Tree Court is easily missed.

We look forward to seeing you there! [GOH].

WMG membership renewal time


With the strange weather we have been having spring has been delayed this year much to the surprise of many plants and animals. However, the last few days have been feeling decidedly warmer, so much so that I have forgone the coate in favor of just a t-shirt. While the snow may have caused havoc on our roads it also provided a great medium for spotting mammal tracks and prints that otherwise often go unnoticed. Did you have any prints you were unable to identify – why not share them to our Facebook group and see if someone else can?

This is a great time of year to go out and do some mammal tracks and signs surveys – before the vegetation becomes too long and prohibitive. Hares are our defending territory and finding mates and water vole sings should be fairly easy to see, and if you’re luck you may even be able to see them feeding or swimming along the rivers.

Some general tips when out walking and looking for mammals:
When entering a new area e.g. after turning a corner into a field do so slowly and take time to scan the area. Start in the distance moving closer, this way you are more likely to see species in the distance before they get scared away.
Look for obvious signs first: tracks, droppings, burrows, dreys, mole hills etc. You can then concentrate on the harder to find signs e.g. hair.
Try to think like a mammal – how would you use the landscape, where would you feed and sleep etc.
Move quietly and slowly keeping all-round vigilance. Some species e.g. hare will wait until you look away before moving / running away.

Now for the less exciting bit… membership!

WMG membership is up for renewal on 1st April. Our prefered method is for you to set up a standing order to pay on 1st April every year,thank you to everyone who has already done this, as it makes it so much easier for us to administer.

Our bank details are as follows:
Co-operative Bank, P.O. Box 250, Delf House, Southway, Skelmersdale WN8 6WT
Sort code: 08-92-99
Account number: 65258169

Membership is held at £10 and is vital for us to be able to conduct much of the work we do and provide insurance for you!

All the best and happy mammal searching.


P.S. Don;t forget to send those records in!

Bath and Bradford-on-Avon Stone Mine Horseshoe Hibernation Surveys

Dr Fiona Mathews and Domhnall Finch recently reviewed the data arising through the monitoring of the stone mines in Bath and Bradford-on-Avon, and specifically the hibernation counts.

Fiona and Jenny Bennett have produced the following summary for Wiltshire Bat Group members. These surveys have been supported by large number of bat workers from Wiltshire Bat Group and our friends from other bat groups – all are warmly thanked for supporting this work.

WBG supplemental_Mathews and Bennett February 2018.







Merry Christmas!!


A huge Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all, whether members, friends or associates of WMG and WBG!

Thank you to all those who have contributed so much of their time and energy to mammal and bat conservation in Wiltshire throughout 2017 – there have been a number of exciting developments and findings which will be shared in the forthcoming newsletters (watch this space!!) ranging from new locations for rare bats and numerous positive harvest mouse surveys……..

Although many (but not all) of our subjects of interest will be hibernating now, there is still much to be done! The bat group’s hibernation counts at a series of sites across the county will commence in the New Year whilst project reporting, data collation & submission and so much more is ongoing! If you have records to submit from the 2017 field season, please submit them as soon as possible.

Please keep an eye out for mammals and their fieldsigns during your Christmas walks – the short daylight hours and the muddy ground conditions offer an abundance of mammal recording opportunities.

We look forward to seeing you in 2018 at any of a number of surveys, monitoring visits, events etc. We’re always looking for more folk to help organise events and surveys, so if you fancy getting involved please do get in touch. We might make these things look like they are smoothly and effortlessly organised, but like a proverbial swan, we’re paddling like mad below the surface!

Merry Christmas!


Brown Hare (C) Nick Tomalin
Something to remind you of summer! Brown hare (C) Nick Tomalin




Harvest mouse nest searches – Success!

A huge thank you to the many WMG members and friends who contributed their time and efforts to the four nest searches undertake this autumn in Coombe Bissett, Swallowcliffe, Broad Chalke and Bishopstrow, where 16, 20, 10 and 21 nests respectively were found, by 6, 6, 17 and 4 surveyors! (19 people have supported these surveys and training events).

In all cases, surveys were undertaken in areas for which we had no recent records – so, all in all, a great result. That we find harvest mice nests on all sites surveyed certainly suggests that they are widespread across Wiltshire and likely to be found in suitable habitat.

Superb harvest mouse habitat – an abundance of nests in a buffer strip adjacent to a small watercourse (C) G Harris

Thank you to the landowners who offered a warm welcome and great interest in this work and to Simon Smart and Jemma Batten of Black Sheep Consulting for arranging access with the landowners for us.

What next? Whilst we dont plan to organise further training events this autumn we encourage you to please keep looking for harvest mouse nests – a single nest is another confirmed location so keep your eyes peeled on your country walks! Let us know what you find…….


mid-November and still finding fresh green nests (C) G Harris


Conserving all Wiltshire & Swindon's mammals