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Bat Watch - 4th July 2008

They really are fascinating mammals and about 20 of us, with lots of children, learnt still more from Jackie Wedd and her team. They are all volunteers and are part of the English Nature, Herts.and Middx. Bat Group.

Bats are blind someone asked: no, they do see but in black and white. What kills them was another question: sometimes Magpies see where they are roosting and wait until they come out. They kill one, pop it to one side whilst they get the next one and eat them later. And children can often hear the noise the bat is making whereas adults rarely can. What do they eat - oh about 3000 tiny insects etc, each night (!) and so the questions went on.

Jackie also showed us a small model of a house and where the bats might live. It looked as if they could live anywhere, being so small and able to get into the smallest crack. But what they need is the right range of temperatures for their bodies and that's why they often choose a church or barn.

We went from the Parish Room to St Mary's at about 9:45pm and shortly afterwards the bat detectors started showing there was activity. This is when everyone started smiling and marvelling. The children (and some Dads) did a count and one 'clicker' had shown at least 55 activities soon afterwards.

What was also really special was activity by the South door which was open. When we are going out we often look out of the door first and see what it's like. Well bats do the same. We watched as a number of Long Eared Bats flew out of the door, had a look to see if the conditions were right and for some minutes came back in again because it wasn't quite dark enough.

The Bat Group also planned to wait until about 2:30am to watch the bats go back in to roost. I wasn't there by then and because Jackie went on holiday soon afterwards I'm not sure what she found. When she's back I'll let you know. Once again it was a fascinating evening thanks to Jackie and her team and all those that came.

Just in case you don't know: Wimpole have a Bat Watch evening a couple of times a year, see their web site for times and the Shepreth Wildlife Park have a very darkroom where you can watch really big bats fly.

Andrew Gillborn 742730