City Nature Challenge – A weekend of bats!

Written by Hazel Makepeace and Graeme Smart; video footage by Graeme Smart.

Members of Northumberland Bat Group spent much of the weekend of 26th to 28th April helping to collect bat records as part of the City Nature Challenge, an international citizen science event designed to engage people in documenting nature to better understand urban biodiversity and Eric North East.

On the Friday evening we carried out a trapping survey at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve, managed by The Natural History Society of Northumbria.

Common pipistrelle and Whiskered bats were caught and recorded and an otter delighted by giving us some great views outside of the Pearce hide which we were using as a processing station.

Static bat detectors running elsewhere on site during the survey also recorded Common pipistrelle, Soprano pipistrelle, noctule, Daubenton’s bat, myotis bat species and brown long-eared bat on the reserve.

An emergence survey, assisted by Infra-red video, of a noctule roost in an ash tree on the reserve recorded 20 bats emerging from the roost between 20:35 (4 minutes after sunset) and 20:53hrs (18 minutes after sunset). 12 bats emerged in quick succession at 20:52hrs with the others emerging singly or in pairs. The video shows some of the noctule bats emerging from the tree. It was filmed from a distance using maximum zoom and using infra-red (not visible light) to avoid disturbing the bats using the roost. (The video has been edited to remove periods when no bats were emerging so bear in mind that the bats did not all emerge in the short time of the video clip).

On the Saturday, some members returned to the reserve to check bat boxes. 9 Soprano pipistrelles were found to be using the boxes. One group of 5 (1 male and four female), two females in another box and two solitary males in two other boxes.

Thank you to those members that came along to give us a hand, some good records for the reserve and great to have been able to contribute to the City Nature Challenge event.

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