Big Butterfly Count 2017

The peacock butterfly, with its striking eyes on the hindwings, is a common visitor to British gardens. Inachis Io by Maja Dumat is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The 2017 Big Butterfly Count, organised by Butterfly Conservation, runs from 14th July to 6th August.

This nationwide survey, launched in 2010 and conducted annually, is the world’s largest survey of butterflies; in 2016 over 36,000 people took part! The survey aims to investigate trends in butterfly and moth species and will help guide conservation efforts within the UK.

Taking part is easy – simply set a timer for 15 minutes and then count the butterflies you see during this time. Counts are best undertaken on a dry, sunny day and good places to conduct the survey are in your garden or in a local park or woodland.

If you are counting from one place, count the maximum number of each species that you can see at a single time. (This ensures that you don’t count the same butterfly more than once). If you are doing your count while walking, then simply total up the number of each species that you see during the 15 minutes. The final step is to submit your results online or via the iOS or Android app.

For lots more information, head over to the Big Butterfly Count website where you can download an identification sheet, submit your sightings and view the 2017 results map. Check out the video below for an great introduction from Nick Baker.

NHBS stocks a full range of butterfly survey equipment, including nets, binoculars, collecting pots and field guides. Need some advice? Contact our customer services team on +44 (0)1803 865913 or email customer.services@nhbs.com

 

 

UK’s first ever Deaf-led bat walk

As part of their Heritage Ability project, Living Options Devon recently hosted the UK’s first ever Deaf-led bat walk at the Love Parks event, in Cockington Park, Devon.

NHBS are delighted to have been able to loan them an Echo Meter Touch bat detector from Wildlife Acoustics, which allowed the attendants to view live sonograms on an iPad – whilst receiving further information in British Sign Language from the guide, Alasdair Grant.

Heritage-Ability-bat-walk

This fantastic event was part of a whole day of activities helping to make heritage sites more accessible for disabled and Deaf people.

Alasdair, Deaf Alumni Programme Manager for Deaf Unity, who is working towards his bat license, led an inspiring bat walk which one participant said was “a memorable and unique experience”.  The walk included watching soprano pipistrelles and lesser horseshoe bats exiting their roosts in outbuildings in Cockington Court, and common pipstrelles, serotine and noctule bats feeding in the park and lakes area.

The walk provided a unique opportunity for Deaf people to see and learn more about the lifestyle of our British bats and how to identify different species using bat detectors with visual sonograms rather than by sound. The Echo Meter Touch connects to an iPad to provide an excellent and very accessible visual display of bat calls in real time.

Living Options and Deaf Unity very much hope to run further bat walks in the future and would be delighted to advise other organisations and bat groups on how to lead bat walks for Deaf people.

The Heritage Ability Project supports heritage sites in South West England to improve accessibility for disabled people. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the project is currently piloting different approaches with partner sites including museums, country parks, nature reserves and historic houses.

Best bat detectors for bat walks

Echo Meter TouchEcho Meter Touch

This tiny ultrasound module connects directly to your Apple device and lets you listen to bat calls in real time as well as viewing a live sonogram on your screen. Ideal for bat walk leaders, the Echo Meter Touch provides you with plenty of real time information to share with your group, as well as letting you record and classify calls so you can provide a later update of all species heard during the walk.

 

Elekon Batscanner

Elekon Batscanner

The Batscanner is one of the simplest bat detectors on the market – simply turn it on and listen. The device will automatically tune to the frequency of the bat call nearby and will display this frequency on the LCD screen whilst playing the sound back at an audible level.

 

SSF Bat2SSF Bat2

The SSF Bat2 cleverly scans all frequencies simultaneously and will jump to the peak (loudest) frequency at the touch of a button. Pre-programme up to four fixed frequencies and view a small spectrogram of the received call. Ideal for beginner or seasoned bat walkers.

 

 

Magenta Bat 4 and 5

Magenta Bat Detectors

The Magenta Bat 4 and Magenta Bat 5 are our most popular detectors for beginners. Affordable to buy and simple to use, they convert the call produced by the bat into a sound which is easily heard through the speaker. Simply tune to the required frequency using the large dial on the front of the unit. The Bat 5 also has a digital display which makes tuning the detector even easier.

Coming up in 2016: NHBS Bat Survey Training Course with Volker Runkel of EcoObs

UPDATE 7th MARCH 2016 – The Bat Survey Training Course has now been cancelled. 

The use of passive monitoring to assess bat activity has important implications for how we work with the vast amounts of accumulated data, and automation now plays a crucial role in dealing with datasets which often contain thousands of recordings.

Bat Survey Training Course (9th - 10th April 2016)

This bat survey training course has been designed to give you insights into the how-to of passive acoustic bat detection and call analysis, including its pitfalls. It will give you the skills to conduct passive acoustic bat surveys with confidence and to analyse your results in the most efficient and accurate way.

Topics covered will include: Why and where do we listen for bats, how to detect bats, signal analysis, bat call identification and working with large datasets. It will also include a short introduction to the Batcorder system.

The course will be held at the Preston Montford FSC Centre in Shropshire on 9th-10th April 2016.

It will involve a combination of classroom-based learning and fieldwork and will be led by Volker Runkel from the German company ecoObs, manufacturers of the Batcorder system.

Book your place on this course today

Birdfair 2012 in pictures, and our £50 voucher prize winner

Birdfair 2012 was another fair to remember for the NHBS team

We’d like to thank all of you who came to see us at the Birdfair, and helped make it such a success. And thanks to all those who participated in the NHBS Wildlife Workshops, and to Nick Baker for sharing his infectious enthusiasm for the world of mini-beasts – it was great fun to be able to demonstrate some of our products in action and to see so many young wildlife buffs catching the bug! (see pics below)

Congratulations to our Birdfair £50 NHBS Voucher prize winner – Jane Nicholls of Oakham, Rutland

Jane says:

“My whole garden is planned with wildlife in mind so I am genuinely delighted to have won this NHBS voucher. I think connection with nature is so important and I loved the live sessions in the Events Marquee at Birdfair this year: “Pond Dipping” with Nick Baker and “Moth Trapping” with Phil Sterling and Richard Lewington. I do hope that they will be repeated? Due to the presenters’ enthusiasm I have already purchased a pond dipping kit and butterfly net and would now be interested in buying the Trekker Field Microscope which would help with all aspects of identification and I know I would get a lot of pleasure using it. Birdfair is a really enjoyable and friendly event, has something of interest for everyone and raises money for bird conservation at the same time. Brilliant!”

Birdfair 2012 in pictures:

 

Nick Baker on Birdfair, and the delights of the NHBS stand

Nick BakerIt’s that time of the year again –  just like Christmas this little corner of the calendar is sacred, the Birdfair is my annual catch up with the people that circulate in the world of wildlife and wildlife conservation.

It’s a time to catch up with old friends and make new ones, as well as loiter with intent on various stands and stalls, fingering salubrious new publications, mentally re-mortgaging the house or conjuring up excuses to tell my wife as I clap eyes on another must-have high-end optic, or Esther Tyson painting, that has to hang on the wall.

Many have tried to emulate the Birdfair‘s greatness but have failed. The secret seems to be that it grew from a good genuine seed and not a commercial one. It started small and has since built up from a motley collection of gazebos slung up on the edge of Rutland water in 1987 to a fair that has been described as the ‘Glastonbury of wildlife’. It just seems to get bigger and bigger, and, more importantly, better.

Did I mention that for all its excellence it has to be one of the most misleadingly named events? Although sporting its fair share of feathers, and with a slight ornithological leaning, this fair is certainly by no means just about birds – and this often comes as a bit of a surprise to those that have not made the annual pilgrimage to the smallest county of Rutland.

Whether you’re in the market for a bespoke wildlife holiday, a shiny new pair of bins, nice new multi-laminate breathable pants (meant in the American sense of the word, although given the way the outdoor market is going it wouldn’t surprise me if the British definition comes into this market soon!), specialist books and equipment, and taking in every aspect and discipline that could be associated with natural history or wildlife, then there will be something here for you. It’s an important thing to mention too, especially in these times of austerity, that this is not wholly a commercial event; sure it is centered around the diverse and sometimes surprising number of trade stands (which in itself makes fascinating window shopping), but there are plenty of things to do and see (and of course learn about), from celebrity-led bug hunts, to wildlife panel shows and presentations.

The best thing about the wildlife world and its people is that generally speaking everyone is friendly and approachable, so if you’ve always hankered for a signed Simon King calendar or wanted to stroke the shiny pate of the world famous Mike Dilger then the Birdfair is your chance to do just that (well maybe not the latter but you get the gist, everyone is kind of approachable and they all know their stuff).

Nick Baker signing copies of the Bug Book on the NHBS stand, Birdfair 2011Throughout the three days of the fair, I shall be spending a lot of my time hanging around and blagging cups of tea off the staff at the NHBS stand, not only because I’m an ambassador for them but (don’t tell them this) it is where I would want to be standing anyhow. The NHBS stand is a Pandora’s box of delights for the naturalist, plenty of gorgeous field guides and other publications as well as loads of quality kit and equipment – from trail cameras and bat detectors to bug pots and pond nets. I will be on hand, along with other staff, to answer questions and queries as well as advise and demonstrate. For the first time this year there will be a selection of workshops and demos by various ‘experts’ – I for one will be playing around with  minibeasts and microscopes on the stand as well as attempting what may seem like the impossible: trying to hold the attention of an audience of several hundred in the main events tent, with nothing but a microscope (kindly supplied by Zeiss) and a bucket of pond sludge in my ‘virtual pond dip – live’. I have no idea whether this will work or not but come and either have your socks knocked off by some of Rutland Water’s most surprising inhabitants or watch me fail dismally and ‘die’ on stage. Either way it’ll be entertaining!

Well that is pretty much all there is to say (although truthfully I could go on a lot longer about the joys and qualities of the Birdfair weekend, but I was only going to write a brief taster). So do come along and see us on the stand, enjoy the fair, further your knowledge and have a great time surrounded by the best of the world of naturalists and natural history. If you can, try and build in a bit of time to check out the nature reserve itself, complete with not only the successfully reintroduced ospreys but also resident kingfishers, tree sparrows and a wonderful array of all the other creatures and plants that carry them on their shoulders.

What’s on the NHBS events schedule at Birdfair 2012?

NHBS events schedule at Birdfair 2012

 

 

NHBS at Birdfair 2012: our biggest Birdfair yet

This year we are gearing up for our biggest Birdfair yet!

NHBS has a bigger and better stand this year featuring a new workshop area with a full schedule of events all weekend. Come along to find out more about ultrasound bat detecting, pond-dipping, wildlife photography and more. And join us in the main Birdfair Event Marquee daily for a big screen live moth-trapping event with Phil Sterling and Richard Lewington on Friday, and a ‘Virtual Pond Dip’ with Nick Baker on Saturday and Sunday. As always we look forward to meeting you there, out of the office and in person!

Here’s the full ‘NHBS at Birdfair 2012’ line-up – click to enlarge:

NHBS events programme fro Birdfair 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

British Birdfair 2012: Friday 17th – Sunday 19th August, Rutland Water Nature Reserve, Egleton, Rutland, LE15 8BT

NHBS On The Road – a conference update

This autumn NHBS has set up shop at various meetings and conferences across the UK.

Anneli and Karen were presenting some of our latest books and field kit at the Butterfly Conservation Meeting at Cheltenham Race Course last Saturday, whilst Anneli will be at the BTO Annual Conference in early December. We always love the chance to meet customers old and new in person, so please do come and say hello if you see us!

Anneli also attended the Sherborn Meeting at the Natural History Museum in London two weeks ago. The meeting commemorated the 150th anniversary of Charles Davies Sherborn’s birth with extremely stimulating talks on the current state and future of taxonomy. The book Priority! The Dating of Scientific Names in Ornithology was launched at this meeting.

Earlier this month, Nigel and Steaphan went up to the IEEM autumn conference in Liverpool, the BCT National Bat Conference in September, and the Scottish Bat Workers Conference in Sterling last weekend. Bat workers and ecologists are agreed that the new edition of John Altringham’s Bats is a must – read an interview with John here.

NHBS at Birdfair 2011 in photos

Thanks to everyone who came to the NHBS stand at Birdfair 2011, it was a great weekend and we look forward to seeing you all again next year. Here is our 2011 experience in photos:

Announcing the Winner of the Birdfair 2011 NHBS £50 Gift Voucher Competition

Award 2011
NHBS wins an award again!

Congratulations to Bethany Simmons of Nottinghamshire who has won a £50 NHBS Gift Voucher!

Bethany says:

“Thank you very much, I loved coming to the bird show it was so different, and I loved being welcomed by everyone and I think I will give the voucher to my stepfather Kevin as I know he wants a new camera.”

We look forward to seeing Bethany, and everyone else again at Birdfair 2012…

If you’d like to purchase NHBS Gift Vouchers, click here.

NHBS Gift Vouchers

 

Nick Baker at NHBS – Birdfair News!

Come and meet Nick Baker at the NHBS Stand: Marquee 2, Stands 15, 33 and 34

 

Nick Baker Chair Hide photoNHBS Ambassador Nick Baker will be visiting the NHBS Stand on Saturday 20th August between 12pm and 1pm, and on Sunday 21st August between 10am and 11am.

Come and talk to Nick about the wonderful world of bugs, the secret life of a TV wildlife presenter, and just how good those chair hides really are! Nick will also be signing copies of his books, including the new Nick Baker’s Bug Book: Discover the World of the Mini-Beast! which will be available at the stand.

We look forward to seeing many of you at Rutland Water over the course of next weekend!

 

Find out who else will be signing their books with NHBS at Birdfair 2011 here.