Bats, Derbyshire, Wildlife

My first swarming survey and other firsts

last night I was part of Derbyshire Bat Conservation Group (DBCG) swarming survey in a cave in Derbyshire. That was not my first for the evening. I have been working with bats now for nearly a year so I still have to meet all of our British Bats. I have to date seen the following:

  • Common Pipistrelle
  • Soprano Pipistrelle 
  • Brandts
  • Whiskered
  • Daubentons
  • Noctule
  • Leislers

But this is not all of them and I know that in Derbyshire we don’t get all of the UK’s bats but I was hoping to meet more of them.

So the idea was to set 3 harp traps and check them every 20 minutes and these were put just beyond the cave mouth. So the plan was to sit and wait, and wait until our 10:20 pm check when we got our first bats, Daubentons or Dawbie for short. Then my first new bat…….. A Natterers bat and what a lovely bat it has a great face and is quite a large bat, certainly bigger than a Pipistrelle. I tried to get a picture of it but it’s hard to take photos at night on an iPhone with a wiggly bat. So my next challenge will be to get a good photo of the Natterers. I must say that the Natterers has become my favourite bat it is a proper looking bat.


I am learning to notice the difference between the Whiskered and Brandts, they are so alike it really is hard to tell them apart but it can be done. More later when I get it right but it does come down to teeth and penis!

And then the bat I have been waiting to see I have heard it it a beauty and most see. The Brown Long Eared bat or BLE. Wow it has big ears! Which they fold into a Rams horn type pattern on the side of their head and the Tragus can be mistaken for its ears. I did get a good picture of him though as can be seen below


Granted it is cute but don’t you think it’s a bit too showy? Nope I think the Natterers is favourite 🙂

So I have now ticked 2 more bats off my list and learnt more about Brandts/Whiskered and it really was fun staying out till 4am! But without doing these surveys we will never find out how bats live we know so little about them when compared to other animals. 

Bats, Derbyshire, Wildlife

Bat released! Yippee 

well an update on the bat that came in that was grounded and is the one in the post below and was named Bill D Bat as Cory thought “comm pip bat 1″ was a useless name, he got released yeah!

It took longer to care for him than I was planning but he went at his own pace nearly a month! He was also the star of a bat walk and talk night where we showed there is nothing to be afraid of when it comes to bats. Cory and I took him back to where he was found last Friday night as we prepared to let him go we cranked on the bat detector and picked up a couple of pips transiting over the car park  towards a body of water over which they seemed to be feeding. We got Bill D Bat out of the carry case and he started to echo locate straight away and after a few moments stretching he flew. He circled us a couple of times and we picked up his feeding buzz meaning he he could feed himself and within 2 minutes he was flying around the Car park opposite then as more bats transited over us he turned away from the car park and joined the others.

So a few pictures and lessons I have learnt from my first bat care patient. 

1. Pips don’t need to be fed till they stop…… They won’t stop the little piggies” 14 mealworms a night is bad! The advice as I heard was feed them what they will eat but didn’t know that it meant between 5-8 of them, and an obese bat won’t fly though it bounced well when it tried to fly. Only kidding.

2. They love to be clean and he spent a fair amount of time grooming and before he was released he would stretch his wings as in the photo below which then made me think I need an area for him to fly besides the bathroom.

3. Indoor flying tent that Cory found! It is light-weight and can be hung from the ceiling on a cup holder hook! Allowing the bat to excesize without the need of me being there and in the dark. It is in fact a British army cot mosquito net and it works a treat. Loads of room for most bats I think and it is machine washable.

4. Patience is the key and the hard work pays off.

Bye Bill good look and on to the next bat. So this week we had 2 calls to grounded bats the first the finder was happy to feed and release that night and sadly the one last night died from its injuries it looks like it could have been a cat attack. Cats are a big hunter of bats but they only seem to play with them. More info on bats can be found at the bat conservation trust or for more local info (well to Derbyshire) try the DBCG

Bats, Derbyshire, Family, Wildlife

Bat worker training

So for the past few weeks I have been doing bat box surveys with the Derbyshire Bat Conservation Group (link here) and getting more involved with the group. As such I am looking to do the bat worker training so I can work towards bat care. I have started to read the bat worker handBook and today I go for my first rabies vaccine jab. There are 3 of these to have over the next month or so!

So far the bats I have seen are both pipistrelle, the common pipistrelle and the soprano pipistrelle. The Noctule and the Leisler’s. Pervious pictures of them have been posted here but for more pictures check our the ones on the DBCG webpage. Next event will be at carsington water where in the past I have been sailing with my day and where Cory and I first got interested in bats when the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust held a bat safari.