Group Meeting – 25th September 2015

Laurie Jackson from the Sussex Mammal Group opened our September meeting with her fascinating, illustrated ‘Introduction to Bats’ presentation. Laurie told us there are over 1,100 species of bats in the world and they are the only true flying mammal. They play an essential part in the natural world and their presence indicate a healthy environment.

Our smallest bat is the pipistrelle weighing between 4 – 7g with a wing span of 18 – 25cms and our largest bat is the noctule which can weigh up to 40g with a wing span of 33 – 45cms.

In the UK our bat populations have declined dramatically as many of their roosting sites and feeding grounds have been destroyed to make way for other changes in land use. Also pesticides have killed many of their insect prey.

Thankfully, at last, all British bats enjoy protected status.

In the second half of our meeting we were presented with an update on the Rampion Wind Farm by Chris Tomlinson the project’s Development Manager. Chris confirmed that offshore work had commenced last week for the first foundation installation and that great effort would be made to replicate the seabed. The same care and attention will be given to the onshore project by ensuring that hedgerows, trees and chalk grassland is re-instated or replanted. This part of the project has already commenced, working from South to North from Brooklands Pleasure Park and eventually ending at Twineham in April 2016.

In her Nature Notes Tricia Hall commented that she had spotted 2 water voles at the far south end of the River Rife.