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Bat walks (25 April & 2 May)

Thursday 3rd May 2018

This year we put on two bat walks, open to both members and the public, on consecutive Wednesdays (25 April and 2 May) running from 7.30 to 9.30 pm. On each evening the format was to give a general talk about bats, focusing in particular on those species found in Britain, before demonstrating how to use electronic bat detectors to 'hear' the hunting calls made by bats in order to locate insects. This was followed by a walk through the Old Cemetery to the nearby Cemetery Lake on the Common, listening and watching for bats using the detectors (kindly loaned by the Hawthorns staff). The results of the two sessions were interesting for their differences. On the first day we found many common pipistrelles ('pips') and a soprano pip, a few noctules, and a mix at the lake that certainly had common pips and may have included Daubentons – such a lot it was difficult to be sure! On the second session, there were many more noctules, often displaying their dipping flights well, some common pips and several Daubentons on the lake. Altogether a rich and rewarding walk, enriched as always by sight and / or sound of the local birds, including tawny owl, sparrowhawk – well spotted, Lin – as well as bullfinches and goldcrests (noted by Keith Noyce). Although numbers attending were limited – clearly, neither early mornings nor late evenings have great appeal – all present felt the time well spent and were amply rewarded. In turn, we thank them for coming on the walks and their valuable contributions to the evenings.