Brinkburn Bats

Text By Mandy Tomas.

On the Sunday night, 22 people turned out to survey both the Priory and the Manor House.

Meeting at the car park at the top of the bank at 21:00, we walked down to the sites on a lovely warm still evening that was ideal for monitoring the bats.

There were a few midgies (bat food) and at 21:15 the first bat (a soprano pipistrelle) emerged. However, they were not expected to emerge until half an hour later, and the rest of the roost were much more polite!

Brinkburn Priory
Darkness falling on Brinkburn

The bats gave very good demonstrations of flying and feeding between and around the buildings. The group counted about 500 bats from the buildings (although exact figures for each exit point will have to wait until all the videos are analysed).

Bat species recorded included Daubenton’s bats, soprano pipistrelles, common pipistrelles, Natterer’s bats, small Myotis (whiskered bats or Brandt’s bats, as both have been found at the site), and brown long-eared bats. Many but not all of the known exit points were also covered by thermal and infra-red video cameras. At the end of the evening, we were privileged to see swarming at one of the exit points covered by a thermal camera – see short clip below.

Detectors and night vision set up
Monitoring with bat detectors and thermal vision.

Thank you to Juliet from English Heritage for allowing us access to Brinkburn, Tina for organising the evening and not least to everyone (old and new surveyors) for turning up to count the pre-partum bats that use Brinkburn as a maternity roost, and those that call it their ancestral home.

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