Monday, 5 August 2013

Gone Batting!

In preparation for some bat survey training that I will be giving later this week, I popped down to Hook Barn this evening to collect some droppings. I have to admit that I ventured there with some trepidation because the last time I went in, I found six dead brown long-eared bats. The circumstances of their deaths is not really known, but I won't dwell on that and hope that it won't happen again.

Usually at this time of year I would expect to see a huddle of brown long-eared bats in the apex of the roof, but this time there were none. It was not a complete disaster though, because there were plenty of fresh long-eared type droppings thereby confirming that there has been some activity.

Looking around the barn it wasn't long before a found a pipistrelle bat (probably common) in the apex of the roof, and this cracking serotine!

Serotine Eptesicus serotinus
For the last couple of years up to two, but usually one serotine has been present in the barn. Given that it is usually just the one bat I suspect it is a male, which would mean that there may be a maternity colony somewhere nearby. This is one of the bigger bat species that inhabit the British Isles and they come in two distinct colour morphs. This bat was dark brown above but still fairly pale underneath; I have seen them much darker previously.

Brown Long-eared Plecotus auritus

It was also nice to find a brown long-eared in the apex of the roof too. This individual was very torpid and you can see how it has folded its ears back beneath its forearm; a classic pose for this species when roosting. It was worrying not to see more that one long-eared in the barn, although it is possible they are clustered beneath ridge tiles, or elsewhere in the barn. Over the next few weeks I will do a dusk emergence survey to see just how many bats are still present.

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