Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Spring is most certainly upon us, judging at least by the number of squashed amphibians on the local roads, and also by the sudden influx of things to do and the exflux of time to do them in. I'm starting to get to grips with the 'Planning and Desiging Large Scale Surveys' course that I'm writing for the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) in collaboration with David Shepherd of Baker, Shepherd and Gillespie in Oxford. While most of the surveys methods are very familair to me, the planning process for these large projects will be an interesting thing to learn about.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Wildlife Acoustics new EM3 bat detectors is now available from nhbs at a tad under £1000. There's a lot of technology in there and I haven't got to grips with the full specification yet, but it looks like full spectrum 16 bit 384 kHz sampling rate streaming to SDHC card, plus being able to listen in frequency division and heterodyne. The big difference is that it also has a screen that shows spectrograms in 'real' time. Not sure how useful this would be in the field compared with off-line analysis in batsound or similar, but it certainly looks good! It's not the first sound analyser for bat echolocation to be able to give a visual output in the field mind you. That honour goes to the Ultrasound Advice 'PUSP' or portable ultrasound processor which has been available for well over ten years now. The technology is looking pretty long in the tooth now, but it's still a very flexible instrument, especially for ultrasound output in the field.
EM3 bat detector

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Was sent the latest update from Wildlife Acoustics on how their new SM2BAT+ remote bat echolocation recording device fits into the survey requirements for the endangered Indiana bat. This is not something that would really affect us in the UK, but they do make a big thing about how their microphone is 'omnidirectional' compared with the more traditional directional designs. This is an interesting comment as the directionality of microphones in the ultrasound range is largely a function of their size and geometry, and that's a basic law of physics. They are understandably cagey about talking about their proprietry microphone technology, but we've spent a lot of time and effort on making microphones as omnidirectional as possible for our bat tracking arrays and have only ever managed it using multiple microphones on a single head and mixing the outputs, and this results in some really horrible phase responses which seriously affects the frequency response. I'd be interested to know how they did it.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Scanning the latest batch of Fuji Provia transparencies back from Peak Imaging, they really do an excellent job, pricey, but excellent. Given how long it takes to scan each slide I do wonder why I didn't just take them with my Nikon D700 and have done with it. I think the answer is that digital tends to make you a lazy photographer, you know you can check exposure, focus and composition straight away, so why bother thinking about it before pressing the shutter? Plus you can always photoshop the results. On balance, using film is still just more fun. Samples from the latest batch are below. I'll upload them to Flickr soon.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The training brochure for the Bat Conservation Trust professional training courses for consultants is now available.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Have been finalising the dates for BCT Training courses. I will now be running the "Bat Ecology and Conservation" course at Juniper Hall, Surrey on the 16th April and Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire on the 16th July as well as the "Bat Detectors and Sound Analysis Level 2" course in London on the 9th May and Birmingham on the 22nd August. I will also be co-tutoring the two day "Surveying Bats" course at Clumber Park on the 3rd and 4th September.