Quantock Hills Blog

Going bats in the Quantocks

- A break in the weather allows great sightings of our batty friends

Iain Porter

Posted by Iain Porter on 05 August 2013

Going bats in the Quantocks 20 brave souls joined us on Saturday night on our first bat walk of the year. The walk was led by Kate Jefferies, an ecologist who specialises in bats, and explored Fyne Court owned and managed by the National Trust. The nature of Fyne Court along with the National Trust’s management of the site has created a rich mosaic of habitats for bats to thrive.

First up was an introduction to the 18 bat species of the UK, 17 of which breed here, along with some interesting facts about bats – did you know the Pipistrelle bat weighs the less than a £1 coin and eats 3,000 tiny insects in just one night! Somerset is a great county for bats with 15 of the 18 species found here.

 

It was then time to gear up with torches and bat detectors and head outside to see and hear what bats we could. Pretty soon after heading outside we had a Common Pipistrelle come flying over, distinct with its darting flight, followed shortly by it’s very close relative the Soprano pipistelle.  Very quickly night fell and we relied on the bat detectors to capture the echolocation calls of the bats. We heard Serotine and one of the Myotis species as well as plenty more pipistrelle’s before getting back to the courtyard and the evenings end.

 

Sadly bat populations have suffered severe declines during the past century due to loss of habitats (both natural and built) and inappropriate development. Only today I have seen a news article expressing concern at the sharp decline in the Grey Long-eared bat, with estimates of only 1,000 left in the UK. It is hoped that these walks will inspire people to learn a bit more about these wonderful little mammals and it was great to see the enthusiasm of the group, especially with people asking how they can attract bats to their gardens or help them out.

 

Many thanks must go to Kate, who led us skilfully around Fyne Court and brought alive the world of the bat – quite hard to do in the pitch dark!

 

The next bat walk is 14th August – please see Bat Walk on our events page http://www.quantockhills.com/events/view

For more information on bats please visit the Bat Conservation Trust website at www.bats.org.uk

 


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