Saturday the 1st was a lovely evening for bats; mild and not too windy. Our band of bat watchers met outside the Odeon just as the sun was setting. We were also joined by local bat ecologist Charlotte Mason. We walked up through the town centre and began listening for bats at the Blind house on the bridge by ASDA. From here we followed the River Biss as it runs parallel to Court Street, past the hum of St Stephen’s place and on to the duck pond in the town park. At the end of the evening we surveyed the park itself.
We had numerous fantastic sightings of bats mainly feeding over the water. Common pipistrelles, soprano pipistrelles and noctules all graced us with their presence. The bat detectors also picked up individuals that could have been serotine, long eared and one of the myotis species – but the recordings would have to be analysed further before any solid identifications could be made.
This short stretch of river runs alongside varying habitats and has different light levels. From the more closed canopy of trees nearer the supermarket, to the lower vegetation and urbanisation as you near the park, there are plenty of feeding and sheltering opportunities for the variety of insect prey that bats rely on. As bats can vary so much in size, so do their prey. Different insects have different requirements, so this patchwork of habitats is probably worth keeping, for both invertebrates and bats.This was such an insightful evening and I’m really looking forward to taking part in more bat surveys once my own bat detector arrives!
1st August 2020