Bats found on Clapham Common despite rather wet conditions for a bat walk

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Our Marketing Team member Melanie Oxley doubles up as Chairman for the Friends of Clapham Common.

On Wednesday11 September she took a large group out on a soggy evening to listen for bats on Clapham Common. She was helped by Dr. Iain Boulton, ecologist for Lambeth Council, who had brought along a number of Anabat bat detectors.

The wet conditions didn’t stop 75 people coming along for the bat walk. Melanie reports……

“Iain gave a fascinating introduction to bats and showed us how to use the Anabat detectors. He explained there had not been a proper bat survey of the Common since 1985, when common pipistrelles and brown long-eared bats were recorded”.

“As the rain became more persistent, we split up into small groups and walked in the direction of Mount Pond with the detectors”.

“After a quiet first hour an excited cry went up when a small group of common pipistrelle bats was spotted circling the large trees on Mount Pond island. The bats were not echolocating at first, but as it got darker we could identify the ‘calls’ used by bats for navigation, foraging and hunting. We also identified a couple of roosting herons high up in the branches looking rather spooky!”

“By now we were drenched, but we were not deterred. One of our members said she identified a Daubenton’s bat, a species known for foraging over open water. If correct this will be a first on Clapham Common”.

Dr. Boulton will send these findings to the London Bat Group. The Friends hope to run a bat roost identification course in the winter – check their website soon for further details.

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