Here our ecologist Huw Bramhall describes a recent bat surveying experience and how his dedication was rewarded.
“When you do a lot of bat surveys, there is often a ‘boring spot’ to be filled during the emergence and re-entry surveys. Other bat surveyors will know just what I mean – that position on a building with one single poor-quality feature where you’re almost certain you won’t get any bats, but you need to check it anyway……
At a recent dusk emergence survey of a site in Hertfordshire, a large brown long-eared (BLE) bat roost had been identified in the old, more typically ‘batty’ listed building around which newer buildings had been built. I was leading the survey and thought I would let my co-workers have the joy of bat spotting around the building containing the BLE roost, while I watched a single broken hanging tile on the side of modern, flat-roofed building, fully expecting to have a boring, unproductive evening.
To my surprise, when I set up at the ‘boring spot’ I heard a high pitched chattering coming from the direction of the feature, and over the next hour, watched twenty-seven common pipistrelle bats pop and spill out of this tiny gap and fly off into the night. Although this site proved to be the exception to the ‘boring spot’ rule, it served a useful reminder that unlikely features can house a high quality pipistrelle roost, and that it’s worth taking the boring spot sometimes!”