Saturday, 22 April 2023

BATS IN THE NIGHT 21 April 2023

Outdoor events can cause weather worries for organisers, commonly ‘will the weather force us to cancel?’.

But a bat walk must factor in the needs of bats too; they are not keen on inclement weather. They prefer mild, still evenings with plenty of flying insects for supper.

Friday 21st April began very wet and cold. Should we cancel the event? 

The BBC and the Met Office offered assurances for brighter weather by the late afternoon. And that is how it turned out.

The weather improved rapidly. By 8pm when people started to gather at Mayow Park, it was a still evening with clear sky, full of flying treats for bats. 

The meeting point

Iain's intro

     Using a bat detector

Dr Iain Boulton opened the event with some entertaining batty facts. He certainly knows his bats. He brought some bat detectors to lend out to walk attendees, showing us how to set them to around 50 kHz, the frequency for the pipistrelle bats we would hear or see in Mayow Park. The detectors, not much bigger than a mobile phone, catch the sounds made by bats flying above our heads and translate those sounds at a level that humans can hear.

Even before we started the walk, at least one bat was detected between the pavilion and guardian oak tree which stands majestically at the park gates.

Walking slowly in the park, first in half-light then dusk, with the trees standing as silhouettes against the fading light, children moving with torches, an occasional bird flying past and all the time listening for the bats: this is a magical, calming sensation.

                                                                on the walk

The pipistrelles flew out for us at three locations along the south side of the park, along the path between Mayow Road an Recreation Road, while Venus shone down on us from high in the night sky.

A lovely evening. Thank you to all who joined us and to Iain for leading us.

TOTAL ATTENDING 52 + walk leader

36 adults + 12 children + 4 volunteers + Dr Iain Boulton, our walk leader

All photos courtesy of Pippa Moss