We had Batman come to see us today, well ok, not the real one, but a chap from English Nature. He had to check out the roof space to see if we had bats living in there. If we did we wouldn’t be able to do the work to the roof that we need to. Luckily for us he couldn’t find any sign of bats living in the loft.
He stayed until dusk had set in and then we went on a bat hunt. I’d already seen some a while ago, but only a couple so I didn’t know how successful we’d be. He had a little machine which could detect teh bat calls and translate it into a sound we could hear.
We started the search on the West side of the house, over the moat. Bats only eat insects, so over water is a popular place. It didn’t take long before we heard our first one, but we couldn’t spot him anywhere. Not long after one flew by, which we hadn’t detected. All went quiet for a while, so we moved to the Orchard, where I’d seen some previously. Straight away we got a lot of calls registering then saw a couple up by the poplar trees.
From here we went to investigate the barns, but didn’t find much evidence there until we came to the south side of the house, on the other side of the moat. There is a big open barn here, and it had a few bats in, but we couldn’t see them. We then decided to check out the moat from this side and there were plenty of bats, but we couldn’t see them. It was interesting listening to the detector. The noise we heard sounded like the flapping of wings, but it was the call of the Pipistrelle bat. It got faster and faster until it was a hum. This indicated the bat was homing in to an insect. It also talked to other bats in a high pitched noise.
Apparently, if one bat has had a bad hunting night he tells his friends where he’s been, so they don’t go there, and conversly those that have had good nights take their friends with them the next night.
see www.bats.org.uk for more info on bats. We have at least three types of bat here, the Pipistrelle, the long eared and the Daubenton’s bat. This one apparently loves water and has big feet which skim the surface of the water.