Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Batting in the dark

Last night we had about 25 people on our Bat Walk at Filnore Woods and with the help of about 20 hand-held bat detectors we heard FIVE different species of bat.  That's two more species than last year.
We had help from Jim of Avon Bat Group, who had a very sophisticated bat detector that could pick up echo location calls from a wide variety of bats, whereas our simpler detectors had to be tuned to the right frequency for each species.
Pipistrelle  - Europe's smallest bats.  (photo from wikipedia)
We heard Common Pipistrelle, Soprano Pipistrelle, Serotine, Noctule and Myotis bats.   The Myotis bats are a group of several species that sound very similar, so you would have to catch one to be sure of the species.  But of course it is illegal to handle bats unless you have been thoroughly trained and certified as a bat handler.  Don't laugh!  There are so many ways you can damage bats and their habitats that they need the protection of wildlife law.
Noctule bat.  They come out early and fly high. (photo from Birds2Blog)
Laura from the Avon Bat Group gave us a fascinating talk before we set off in the dark to see and hear the bats.  Many thanks to her, to Jim and to Chris from South Gloucestershire's Open Spaces Team for running this event as part of the South Glos Discover Festival, which goes on until November 1st.  Check the website for further events at www.southglos.gov.uk/discover.
Serotine Bat.  (photo Henry Stanier of Bedfordshire Bat Group)

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