Friends of the Fowey Estuary

All those who attended the Bat Walk organised by the Friends of the Fowey Estuary in Coulson’s Park on Saturday 7th September were rewarded with an evening of entertainment and education by licensed bat worker Rob Wells.

As Rob explained the modifications that make bats different from other small mammals, a willing audience member Claire H was gradually transformed into a bat. With nice gappy teeth to help emit high frequency calls and large ears to receive the returning sound that echo locate their prey. With the addition of lightweight membrane wings, stretched from finger tip to finger tip to enable agile flight, Claire soon appeared as a very passable bat.

As the light began to fade it was time to try and locate the real thing using bat detectors. These small hand held devices pick up the high frequency sounds of bats and convert them to a frequency audible to the human ear. As the different species of bat have distinctive call signs they can be identified via the detectors.

Rob led the group close to the river where soon Daubentons bat were heard giving a distinctive a "machine-gun" click and the keen sighted even managed to see them occasionally flying low over the water as they fed on moths and flying insects. A walk following the river soon produced another two species, the Common pipistrelle and the Soprano pipistrelle, closely related but with differing call frequency. These produced a call with more of a "wet slap" sound highlighted with rapid clicks as they approached their prey.

The evening was declared a great success, giving all a greater understanding and insight into the lifestyle of these fascinating animals. Thanks Rob.

Phil Croxton, Friends of the Fowey Estuary member

Bat Walk 7.9.13