Getting started with the SM2BAT+ bat detector

SM2BAT+The Wildlife Acoustics Song Meter SM2BAT+ is a passive ultrasound recorder that can be left out in the field for long periods of time to record ultrasound at frequencies of up to 192 kHz. The SM2BAT+ comes packaged in a plain green weatherproof box making it easy to position discretely without the need for expensive or time consuming efforts to weatherproof/camouflage it. Setting a bat detector up for passive monitoring can be a slightly daunting experience for the first time user so we have produced an annotated internal diagram (see below right – click the image to enlarge) and this blog post describing our experiences getting started with the SM2BAT+. Despite feeling a little scared at Inside the SM2BAT+the sight of circuit boards I am pleased to report that I found the SM2BAT+ to be very user friendly – read on for our idiot’s guide to setting up an SM2BAT+.

Getting started

The first thing you will need to do is insert four D-Cell batteries into the slots. A number of variables affect battery life including the quality/type of the battery, temperature, and the recording mode. The manual produced by Wildlife Acoustics suggests that if high quality Alkaline D-Cells are used at 20oC then you should get 130 hours recording time at 192 kHz mono and 100 hours recording time at 192 kHz stereo or 384 kHz mono when using in WAV mode and over 300 hours of recording time when using ZCA mode.

Next you will need to insert an SDHC card into one of the Flash Card Slots. Wildlife Acoustics recommend using good quality SDHC Class 4 or Class 6 cards and a single 32GB card should easily last a minimum of 2 weeks.

How to programme your SM2BAT+

Now it is time to programme your SM2BAT+. Setting up a simple schedule is very easy, switch the unit on by pressing the WAKE/EXIT button. Once it has woken up you will be able to see whether your SDHC card has been accepted and how much spare memory is available. To programme your unit press the SELECT button to see the menu; then to scroll through the menu options press the UP and DOWN buttons, press BACK to move back up a level, and press SELECT to move left and/or toggle through a list of options.

Below left shows a schematic (click to enlarge) of the Song Meter Main Menu and includes the settings I used for a trial run of the SM2BAT+. The first page of the menu includes three options – Schedule, Settings and Utilities. Setting the schedule could not be easier, press SELECT when the cursor is flashing next to Schedule, then press SELECT again, update the time using the UP and DOWN buttons then press SELECT again to keep moving to the left filling in the details as you go. You will see that I have set our SM2BAT+ to come on at 20:30 and record for 10 hours.

SM2BAT+ SchematicPress BACK to come out of the Schedule menu and then DOWN to move to Settings, then SELECT again to enter the Settings menu. For a quick test of the unit you will need to set the time and date using the UP, DOWN, SELECT, and BACK buttons as before. Finally select AUDIO to check the recording settings. In my test run I opted for a Sample rate of 384000 (384 kHz) because we have lesser horseshoe bats in the Totnes area. This is because the maximum frequency recorded is equal to half the sample rate – consequently, at a sample rate of 384 kHz the SM2BAT+ will record ultrasound at frequencies up to 192 kHz on one channel (perfect for lesser horseshoes that echolocate at around 110 kHz). If you want to use both channels (i.e. two microphones) you have to record at a maximum sample rate of 192 kHz. Although you may miss lesser horseshoe bats the big advantage of using both channels is that you can separate the microphones (using extension cables – available from NHBS) by up to 100m, effectively doubling the number of bat detectors you own for the price of a couple of cables. Alternatively you can separate the microphones by 10-20m to measure flight directionality along a linear feature.

Next you need to select which channel to record on. Under Channels I selected Mono-L to record from the left hand microphone input. For Compression I selected Off which means that the SM2BAT+ is in trigger mode and records individual WAV files for each trigger.  Analook users may prefer to use the ZCA option which records individual ZCA files for each trigger. Alternatively, some users may prefer the WAC0 option which produces a continuous compressed WAC file for the duration of the recording period (actually the files are size limited so I found that 1hr 33min chunks are produced). That’s it… all you need to do now is take your SM2BAT+ to your field site.

Field set-up

Once at your field site check the settings and do a test recording. To do this plug some headphones into the headphone jack and start recording by pressing both the UP and DOWN buttons simultaneously. Once the recording has started press SELECT to view the channels and then make some ultrasound by eg. tapping your fingers and thumb together or rattling some keys. If all is well then put your unit back to sleep, seal the weatherproof enclosure (don’t forget to take a screwdriver with you) and plug your microphone in to the left hand microphone input (using your extension cable makes hiding the unit much easier). It is worth remembering that the indicator LED is visible when the lid is on so make sure this cannot be seen by passers-by.

Data analysis

Downloading the data is also easy – simply remove the SDHC card and place it into an SD card reader. To analyse the data I used Pettersson’s BatSound v4.12. My WAV files opened immediately and I used the Close, open, next button to scroll quickly through the files so the analysis was quick and painless. On my first night I recorded soprano pipistrelle and greater horseshoe bats in the centre of Totnes.

Available now from NHBS

 

New: Carwardine’s Ultimate Wildlife Experiences – plus great backlist special offer

Mark Carwardine's Ultimate Wildlife Experiences jacket image‘Ultimate Wildlife Experiences’ is the new book from Mark Carwardine: zoologist, conservationist, award-winning writer, TV and radio presenter, widely published wildlife photographer, best-selling author and columnist and wildlife tour leader. Carwardine’s last account of world wildlife travel – 2009’s Last Chance to See: In the Footsteps of Douglas Adams – found him teaming up with Stephen Fry to retrace the steps of Carwardine’s 1980 journey with Douglas Adams in search of some of the world’s most endangered animals.

His new book – with a foreword by Fry – is a product of his lifetime’s experience of wildlife encounters around the world and introduces 20 extraordinary adventures including catching sight of the rare spirit bears of Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest, navigating the hostile world of the Komodo dragon in Indonesia and finding favour with the curious and friendly Florida manatees.

Available now from NHBS

Two of Carwardine’s classic marine wildlife guides are now available from NHBS at nearly half price:

On the Trail of the Whale jacket imageOn the Trail of the Whale

 

£4.99 

was £9.95

 

 

The Shark-Watcher's Handbook jacket imageThe Shark Watcher’s Handbook

 

£9.99

was £16.99

 

Save 35% on ten natural history classics from Johns Hopkins UP this June

Always setting a high standard for scientific publishing, Johns Hopkins University Press titles span the range of our natural history subject areas providing solid high-quality research from top academics.

These ten books from JHUP have been – and continue to be – bestsellers at NHBS, and they are all on special offer at 35% off this June:

Ecological and Behavioral Methods for the Study of Bats jacket imageEcological and Behavioral Methods for the Study of Bats

First published in 1988, “Ecological and Behavioral Methods for the Study of Bats” is widely acknowledged as the primary reference for both amateur and professional bat researchers. Only one group of mammals includes more species than bats. Bats live on every continent except Antarctica, range from deserts to tropical forests to mountains, and their activities have a profound effect on the ecosystems in which they live.

The Biology of Small Mammals jacket imageThe Biology of Small Mammals

The first exploration of the lives of small mammals undertaken in decades. Mammalogist Joseph F. Merritt offers an engaging, in-depth discussion about a diverse array of small mammals, from the rare Kitti’s hog-nosed bat of Southeast Asia to the bizarre aye-aye of Madagascar to the familiar woodchuck of North America.

Walker's Mammals of the World (Complete Edition) jacket imageWalker’s Mammals of the World (Complete Edition)

The sixth edition is 24% longer, and the number of separate genera has increased by 75 – among them, three remarkable large ungulates recently discovered in the forests of Indochina. New also is a full account of the woolly mammoth, now known to have survived until less than 4,000 years ago.

 

Walker's Bats of the World jacket imageWalker’s Bats of the World

Introduction by Thomas H. Kunz and Elizabeth D. Pierson. The first single segment of the leading reference workWalker’s Mammals of the World to become available as a separate volume. It is a complete guide to this varied order of mammals and includes scientific and common names, as well as the number and distribution of species, measurements and physical traits, habitat, daily and seasonal activity, population dynamics, home range, social life, reproduction, and longevity.

The Rise of Amphibians: 365 Million Years of Evolution jacket imageThe Rise of Amphibians: 365 Million Years of Evolution

For nearly 100 million years amphibians and their ancestors dominated the terrestrial and shallow water environments of the earth. Archaic animals with an amphibious way of life gave rise not only to modern frogs, salamanders, and caecilians but also to the ancestors of reptiles, birds, and mammals.

Mountain Gorillas: Biology, Conservation and Coexistence jacket imageMountain Gorillas: Biology, Conservation and Coexistence

Tucked into one of the most beautiful and conflicted regions of the world are the last of the mountain gorillas. These apes have survived centuries of human encroachment into their range and decades of intense conflict and violence. The remaining 720 mountain gorillas exist in a fragile habitat, nestled in an area torn by human interests and needs for land, water, and minerals.

Dragonfly Genera of the New World: An Illustrated and Annotated Key to the Anisoptera jacket imageDragonfly Genera of the New World: An Illustrated and Annotated Key to the Anisoptera

Dragonfly Genera of the New World is a beautifully illustrated and comprehensive guide to the taxonomy and ecology of dragonflies in North, Middle, and South America. A reference of the highest quality, this book reveals their striking beauty and complexity. Although Odonata – dragonflies and damselflies – are among the most studied groups of insects, until now there has been no reliable means to identify the New World genera of either group.

Damselfly Genera of the New World: An Illustrated and Annotated Key to the Zygoptera jacket imageDamselfly Genera of the New World: An Illustrated and Annotated Key to the Zygoptera

In this companion volume to “Dragonfly Genera of the New World”, Rosser W. Garrison, Natalia von Ellenrieder, and Jerry A. Louton provide a comprehensive, fully illustrated guide to the damselflies of North, Central, and South America. Damselflies are more diverse and harder to identify than dragonflies.

Forest Ecosystems jacket imageForest Ecosystems

This acclaimed textbook is the most comprehensive available in the field of forest ecology. Designed for advanced students of forest science, ecology, and environmental studies, it is also an essential reference for forest ecologists, foresters, and land managers.

Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex among Apes jacket imageChimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex among Apes

The first edition of Frans de Waal’s “Chimpanzee Politics” was acclaimed not only by primatologists for its scientific achievement but also by politicians, business leaders, and social psychologists for its remarkable insights into the most basic human needs and behaviors. Twenty-five years later, this book is considered a classic.

View the list of special offer books as a web page

Save 20% on some of our top choices from 2011 in the NHBS Winter Gift Catalogue

Welcome to the NHBS Winter Gift Catalogue!

We’ve brought together all our favourite books from across our subject areas from the past twelve months, plus the best of the year’s DVD/Blu-ray documentaries (including the BBC’s Frozen Planet, due December), and some interesting gift ideas for photographers and young enthusiasts from our range of wildlife conservation equipment.

Save up to 20% on some of the top books of the year, and look out for a great saving of £54 on on the Bushnell XLT Trophy Cam Trail Camera, on page 6.

You can browse the catalogue below, or download here as a pdf. – it’s fully linked up so you can find out more about anything you are interested in by clicking on the images.
NHBS Winter Gift Catalogue 2011

Special Offer: 20% off all books in the “Animal” Series

Save 20% on any book* in the “Animal” series from Reaktion Books

*Does not include the forthcoming titles, Chicken, Wolf, Trout and Sparrow

We think these are the perfect gift for the wildlife enthusiast – there are over 40 books in the series so far, covering mammals, birds, insects and fish… not to mention the odd crustacean and molluscEach book in the series takes a different animal and examines its role in history around the world. The importance of mythology, religion and science are described as is the history of food, the trade in animals and their products, pets, exhibition, film and photography, and their roles in the artistic and literary imagination.

Donkey jacket imageOtter jacket imageLobsterVultureTortoise

 

 

 

 

 

“Part cultural history, part folklore, part history of science and reference books, these works gracefully traverse time, place and disciplinary approaches to explore a single animal’s place in human history. Replete with images and written in an accessible style, they are sure to appeal to a range of audiences.” – British Journal for the History of Science


 Offer ends 31/12/11

Find out more

Bushnell XLT Trophy Cam Trail Camera: Nick Baker’s review and video footage

Nick BakerNick Baker, NHBS Ambassador, has been trying out the Bushnell XLT Trophy Cam Trail Camera. Here are his initial impressions:
Bushnell XLT Trophy Cam Trail Camera

These Bushnell trail cameras are about as good as you can get for the money, and using them is rather addictive too!

The XLT (right)  was the model I tested – the camera comes as an all-in-one small weatherproof box, which is both lightweight and easy to carry around and position. I’ve used mine for professional survey work such as attempting to identify bird nest predators as part of an RSPB Ring Ouzel survey, identifying the occupancy of Badger setts as well as simply leaving it up in the garden to find out who has been defecating on my lawn and messing up my flower beds (in the process identifying which of my neighbours cats use my garden – all six, it turns out!).

Badger - taken with Bushnell XLT Trophy Cam Trail Camera by Nick Baker, 2011The camera shoots both still pictures (eg. left) and moving images(eg. below) and has a screen which allows reviewing of the images in the unit. All the image data is stored on an SD card and the unit is powered by 4-8 AA batteries.

Sensitivity and trigger delay are the only issues: making the camera less sensitive stops it being triggered by small movements – moths, mice, wind-blown vegetation etc. – but if the camera is triggered by an animal walking past quite close, then the one second delay means that by the time the trigger kicks in you might just get the tail end of the moment! This is easily overcome if you are setting it along paths or trails by making sure the camera looks down the likely pathway rather than across it.

All in all this is a fantastic good value entry-level trail camera – if you want to increase the picture quality and eliminate the ‘glow’ of the LEDs (some animals seem to be aware of the red glow produced by the 32 red LEDs) at night then the HD colour version is worth considering.

Roe Buck captured on a Bushnell XLT Trophy Cam Trail Camera by Nick Baker, 2011

Click here to view other Nick’s other Bushnell videos on the NHBS Vimeo channel

Save £54 on the Bushnell XLT Trophy Cam until 31/12/11  

Buy now and save

Special Offer: Save £37 on the final volume of the Handbook of the Birds of the World at NHBS

HBW Vol. 16 jacket imageThe Handbook of the Birds of the World series, the first volume of which was published in 1992, has been a phenomenal undertaking, being the first project to illustrate, and provide essential information regarding, all the bird species of the world. This year sees the publication of the final volume.

Not that this is the end. Publisher Lynx Edicions have three new products planned to keep this project alive, the first of which will be a special volume about new species with a global index for the series. Keep an eye on the NHBS website for more information. Customers with standing orders for the series will receive an explanation of their options regarding these future HBW projects in their notification emails/letters for Volume 16.

HBW Vol. 16: Tanagers to New World Blackbirds is available from NHBS at a special offer price of £148 (reduced from £185) until 15th October 2011.
Pre-Order Today

Sample chapter from the forthcoming Royal Entomological Society Book of British Insects

RES Book of British Insects sample chapter

Due for publication in October (delayed from September – but it’ll be worth the wait!), here is a sample chapter from the Royal Entomological Society Book of British Insects, kindly supplied by publishers Wiley-Blackwell. 

Chapter 8 –  Order Odonata: the dragonflies and damselflies.

Pre-order The RES Book of British Insects today for £34.99 (reduced from £39.95). 

 

Offer ends 31/12/2011.

Pre-order today
Royal Entomological Society Book of British Insects jacket image

Exciting landmark publication from the Royal Entomological Society coming soon – pre-order now!

Royal Entomological Society Book of British Insects

by Peter C. Barnard

Royal Entomological Society Book of British Insects jacket imagePre-order The RES Book of British Insects today for £34.99 (reduced from £39.95).

The Royal Entomological Society (RES) and Wiley-Blackwell are proud to present this landmark publication, celebrating the wonderful diversity of the insects of the British Isles, and the work of the RES (founded 1833). This book is the only modern systematic account of all 558 families of British insects, covering not just the large and familiar groups that are included in popular books, but even the smallest and least known. It is beautifully illustrated throughout in full colour with photographs by experienced wildlife photographers to show the range of diversity, both morphological and behavioural, among the 24,000 species. All of the 6,000 genera of British insects are listed and indexed, along with all the family names and higher groups. There is a summary of the classification, biology and economic importance of each family together with further references for detailed identification. All species currently subject to legal protection in the United Kingdom are also listed… [read more]

Publication scheduled for September 2011.

Offer ends 31/12/2011.

Pre-order today

Special Offer: The Freshwater Algal Flora of the British Isles, 2nd Edition

The Freshwater Algal Flora of the British Isles: An Identification Guide to Freshwater and Terrestrial Algae, 2nd ed.

Freshwater Algal Flora jacket image

 

Save £15

Pre-order the new second edition of The Freshwater Algal Flora of the British Isles for £110 (reduced from £125).

Building on the success of the first edition and featuring contributions from leading experts in the field, this expanded and thoroughly revised second edition provides an indispensable guide to the freshwater and terrestrial algae of the British Isles.

It is an up-to-date account of and identification tool for more than 2400 algal species (excluding diatoms), highlighting their wider distribution around the world. Detailed descriptions are fully illustrated with clear line drawings and photographs including 190 full-page plates, eight of which are full colour… [read more]

Publication scheduled for late August 2011.

Offer ends 30/9/2011.

Pre-order today