What have Whiskered, Long-eared, Natterer’s and Serotines got in common?
Answer: they are all bats found at a recent bat survey at Colerne Park and Monks Wood run by volunteers from the local Wiltshire bat group.
The group was targeting Bechstein’s and Barbastelle bats, as the site is an ideal habitat for these species and there has been an absence of surveys for these bats in this part of the county.
Overall 11 bats from five species were trapped: Whiskered, Long-eared, Natterer’s, Daubentons and three Bechstein’s – two of which were males in breeding condition, which is great news as the group felt the woods are highly likely as a breeding site for these rare woodland bats.
A further 64 bats were recorded via static detectors including Barbastelle, serotine, lesser horseshoe, common pipstrelle, soprano pipistrelle, Myotis sp (they couldn’t distinguish exact species from calls alone), and the brown long-eared bat.
Site manager, Sarah says “I was especially impressed by the long eared bat’s ears which not surprisingly were incredibly long! But they were rolled up so that they looked like rams horns, and then slowly unfurled as he thought he was about to fly.”
Lesser horsehoe bats, Bechstein’s and Barbastelle bats are listed on Annex II of the EU Habitats Directive and part of the reason for designation of an area nearby as a Special Area of Conservation and another nearby SSSI. The presence of these three Annex II species in our woods is really important.
The survey will feed into the group’s wider work across the county as well as being shared with the Wiltshire & Swindon Biological Records Centre.
Photo: Gareth Harris