Monday, 23 February 2009

A bat walk, eh. What's that like?

We often get asked this question here at BCT. Well, we reply, a bat walk is a chance to see and hear bats in their natural habitat -- flitting through the trees, skimming over the water -- usually at night. It's really rather magical, and a fantastic way to explore your local environment.

Philip Briggs, of our National Bat Monitoring Programme (NBMP) Team, explains:

The essentials for a bat walk are a good bat foraging habitat (such as a park, woodland or lake) that is accessible for people to walk around at night, and some bat detectors to hand around that enable the bats’ ultrasonic calls to be heard.

Normally bat walks are preceded by a talk on bats in general and the species that are likely to be seen or heard at the site. This may take place outdoors at the start point of the walk, or can involve an illustrated talk inside a nearby venue. How much other wildlife gets pointed out depends on the wider knowledge of the bat walk leaders, but few people can resist stopping to listen to the calls of owls or watch foxes, badgers and even toads that are spotted roaming around at night.

This is what you might hear on your bat detector -- a pipistrelle, Britain's most common bat. Or, if you're really lucky, a greater horsehoe.

If you'd like to find out more about bat walks in your area, amble over to our website or email Bat Group Officer Laura Dunne.

(Scottish sunset: Anney Youngman)

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