Leazes Park Bat Walk - 6th August 202
This bat walk was the first of a series being run on behalf of Northumberland Bat Group (NBG) in and around the area. Seven people were due to attend, but since we are all aware of the covid risks, two cancelled just in case their “feeling under the weather” was something else. A kind decision to make and I hope they can come on another bat walk soon.
So, we gathered in the Leazes Park car park, where a bat brief was given: how detectors work, the species present in the area and in the wider area; then a sample of bat calls played over a speaker. The strangest call being the horseshoe bat, not one we have in the north east, but it certainly makes an alien noise!
After the sanitized detectors given out, we started the walk. It was a beautiful warm still evening, so hopes were high that there would be many bats out. By about 9.30 pm (half an hour after sun set) a few bats could be heard, but not many. We walked the paths through the trees, hearing but not spotting them. Finally, we changed direction and headed back to the Leazes Park pond and there they were.
Generally common pipistrelle bats, calling at 45-50kHz, zooming around, seeming to do back flips in the air. They put on a nice show of their agility for us. Using the bat detectors to track the calls, it made it easier to work out where the bats were in the failing light.
At one point there were three pipistrelles foraging over our heads, almost seeming to zoom between, over and around our group. Our body warmth may have been attracting insects, which in turn were attracting the bats for a feeding frenzy.
From time to time a myotis (probably Daubenton’s bat) could be heard. A much drier faster ticking noise. One was spotted, flying about 1 metre above the water, but was gone as quickly as it was spotted.
All in all, a lovely evening walk, with lots of bats heard and seen. Who would have thought that such an urban park would support such an active bat population? Looking forward to finding out what the bat life is like in Jesmond Dene in a couple of weeks’ time too.