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  • hilly 10:44 am on August 28, 2017
    Tags: bats, , , ,   

    Bat Walks at Woodlands Farm and Shrewsbury Park 

    Shrewsbury Park bat walk poster Sept 2017

    This weekend has seen the annual celebration of bats that is International Bat Weekend, so it is fitting that we have two bat walks in Shooters Hill this week: one at Woodlands Farm on Thursday,  31st August and then at Shrewsbury Park on Friday, 1st September.

    Details of the Woodlands Farm Bat Walk are on their web site:

    Thu 31st Aug 19:30 – 21:00 Join us for a bat walk around the farm. Woodlands Farm has a number of different species of bats, using bat detectors we will try to find some. The walk will start at 7.45pm. Please bring a torch and wear sturdy shoes. £6 adults, £4 per child. Booking is essential, to book call 020 8319 8900.

    The Friends of Shrewsbury Park are holding their second bat walk of the year on Friday. Kris Inglis wrote with the details:

    Friday 1 September 8.00 pm Shrewsbury Park
    • Walk is free to members, £2 others (but free to join on the day)
    • Wear sturdy shoes and appropriate clothing for the weather
    • Children must be accompanied by an adult
    • Walk lasts about 1 1/2 hours and torches are helpful
    • Dogs must be kept on a lead
    If you have mobility issues or enquiries please contact us on werfsp@gmail.com and we will help you participate. The trail is a mix of paved path, gravel and grass.
    If it’s raining, neither the bats nor us will be coming out!
    Meet in the car park for an introduction from bat-wise FSP members who will lead this adventure through the Park at sunset using our eyes, ears and bat detectors!

    It’s been a good year for bats in my experience. The National Bat Monitoring Programme field surveys in July went well. At Woodlands Farm volunteers detected a good number of pipistrelles, and also overflying noctules. We even detected pipistrelles in our Canning Town survey area which in previous years has had none, or perhaps a single pipistrelle detected at Canning Town Recreation Ground. It doesn’t help that the area has the noisy and polluting A13 running through it. There were also quite a few pipistrelles in the May Shrewsbury Park bat walk. As a bonus hedgehogs were seen at both the farm and Shrewsbury Park.

    One of my batty highlights of this summer was a bat walk at South Mere in Thamesmead led by Karen Sutton the Biodiversity Team Manager at Thames Water. There are lots, and I mean lots of insects flying over and around the lake, and these attract a large number of bats: noctules and the larger bats and possibly Daubenton’s bats over the water and common and soprano pipistrelles in the lakeside trees. It was a spectacular display of agile bats flying close to us spectators, and so many that it was difficult to distinguish their calls on our bat detectors to decide exactly which bat species were present.

    The highlight this year  so far though was our waterway survey along the River Cray near Hall Place. For the first time since the Waterway Survey has been carried out here there were definite detections and sightings of Daubenton’s bats feeding over the river. They flit about very close to the water surface capturing their insect prey using their large feet or tail membranes. I recorded some of the echolocation calls using my new toy, a Peersonic bat recorder: the result is shown in the trace below which was analysed using the Audacity free audio editing software. I can foresee hours of fun analysing the details of bat calls!

    Recording and spectrogram of Daubenton's bat in Audacity

    Recording and spectrogram of Daubenton’s bat in Audacity

     

    Hibernating Daubenton's Bat

    Hibernating Daubenton’s Bat

     
  • hilly 5:32 pm on May 14, 2017
    Tags: bats, ,   

    Shrewsbury Park Bat Walk on Friday 19th May 

    Bat Walk Poster 2017

    Bats are fully active in May after their winter hibernation, and the females are starting to form maternity colonies and look for suitable nursery sites, such as buildings or trees, getting ready for June when they give birth to a single tiny pup which they feed on their milk. So the first Friends of Shrewsbury Park bat walk of the year should be perfectly timed to see plenty of bats, provided the weather is favourable.

    Kris Inglis, Chair of the Friends of Shrewsbury Park sent details of the walk:

    Meet in the car park at twilight for an introduction from bat-wise FSP members who will lead the adventure using our eyes, ears and bat detectors!
    Walk is free to members, £2 others (but free to join on the day)
    • Wear sturdy shoes and appropriate clothing for the weather
    • Children must be accompanied by an adult
    • Walk lasts about 1 1/2 hours and torches are helpful
    • Dogs must be kept on a lead
    If you have mobility issues or enquiries please contact us on werfsp@gmail.com and we will help you participate. The trail is a mix of paved path, gravel and grass.
    If it rains neither the bats nor us will be coming out!

    Summer is a busy time for bat surveyors: they will be walking their NBMP transects, such as that at Woodlands Farm, at the start and end of July looking for pipistrelles, noctules and serotines, then in August there’s the waterway survey for daubenton’s bats and other surveys such as the sunrise/sunset survey. Anyone can volunteer to help in these surveys, and the Bat Conservation Trust provide training in using bat detectors to identify bats, and even loan out bat detectors for the surveys.

    At the last Shrewsbury Park Bat Walk, last September, bats were detected almost immediately the walk started. Fingers crossed we’ll have similar luck this time.

    Brown Long-eared Bat at Bat Fest

    Brown Long-eared Bat at Bat Fest

    Brown Long-eared Bat at Bat Fest

    Brown Long-eared Bat at Bat Fest

     

     

     

     
  • hilly 7:39 pm on August 22, 2016
    Tags: bats, , ,   

    Bat Walks at Woodlands Farm and Shrewsbury Park 

    Brown Long Eared bat from Jenny Clark’s education team at Batfest 2015

    Brown long-eared bat at Bat Fest

    Next weekend, 27/28 August, is International Bat Weekend, which is marked by batty events across the world. Locally both Woodlands Farm and the Friends of Shrewsbury Park are holding bat walks in the coming weeks, and London’s Bat Fest is being held over the weekend at Woodberry Wetlands in Hackney.

    There seem to be plenty of bats around this year. The NBMP field survey at Woodlands Farm in July detected quite a few pipistrelles and some noctules. Pipistrelles have also been detected at the Wide Horizons Constitution Rise woodland, Manor House Gardens, Hall Place and Hervey Road sports field. Even normally sterile Canning Town had more than its usual solitary pip in this year’s NBMP survey. However the waterways survey along the River Cray at Hall Place once again found no Daubenton’s bats.

    Woodlands Farm BatWalks 2016

    Woodlands Farm’s bat walks will be held on Wednesday 24th August and Thursday 1st September. Maureen from the farm wrote with details:

    Join us for our annual bat walks. Starting with a brief introduction to bats we will then go on a walk round the farm trying to see and hear bats using bat detectors. You will need sturdy footwear, suitable outdoor clothing and a torch. Children must be accompanied by an adult (not recommended for children under 6 years). £6 per adult, £4 per child (under 16 years). To book go to http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/the-woodlands-farm-trust-8448478250

    The Friends of Shrewsbury Park bat walk is on Friday 2nd September at 8.00pm. Kris sent me details:

    Meet in the car park for an introduction from bat-wise FSP members who will lead this adventure through the Park using our eyes, ears and bat detectors!
    The walk is free to members and £2 for non-members (but you can join on the night). Please wear appropriate shoes and clothing for the weather and paths. Children must be accompanied by an adult. And dogs must be kept on a lead.
    The walk lasts about 1 1/2 hours and a torch is useful.
    The car park may still be open but not at the end of the walk so remember to leave cars outside of the Park. If you have any mobility queries please contact us on fspdog@hotmail.com and we will help you participate.
    If it rains neither the bats nor us will be coming out!

    Let’s hope it stays dry for all the bat walks!

    Shrewsbury Park Bat walk poster 2016

     
  • hilly 6:03 pm on September 7, 2015
    Tags: bats, , ,   

    Shrewsbury Park Bat Walk 

    Friends of Shrewsbury Park‘s bat walk poster

    September is the start of the breeding season for bats and also when they  start to build up their fat stores for the winter hibernation, so hopefully there will be plenty of them around for the Shrewsbury Park bat walk on Friday. Kathy from the Friends of Shrewsbury Park e-mailed the poster and details of the walk:

    Please find poster attached giving details of the Bat Walk on 11 September, starting at 7.45pm in the car park.
    It is free to you as you are a member of the Friends of Shrewsbury Park. You will see that we have decided to charge non-members for the walk. If non-members join the Friends, then the walk will be free to them. By charging non-members, we will increase the funding towards our drinking fountain. If they join, then we will increase our membership.
    We will have to spend a few minutes at the beginning of the walk checking membership.
    Just a reminder, if it is raining, the bats will not be out, nor will we.
    Fingers crossed for a dry evening.

    This is the last local bat walk for this year as far as I know. Lots of bats have been detected and sighted on all the others, let’s hope Friday maintains the record.

    Brown Long Eared bat from Jenny Clark's education team at Batfest 2015

    Brown Long Eared bat from Jenny Clark’s education team at Batfest 2015

    Serotine bat from Jenny Clark's education team at Batfest 2015

    Serotine bat from Jenny Clark’s education team at Batfest 2015

     
    • hilly 10:40 am on September 10, 2015

      Got an update from Kathy this morning:

      Just a reminder about the Bat Walk this Friday, at 7.45pm, starting at the car park. If you are coming, please wear sturdy shoes and appropriate clothing, and bring a torch. All children must be accompanied by an adult, and all dogs must be kept on a lead. You will have the opportunity of listening to the bats via our bat detectors.

      The walk is free to FSP members, but we will be charging non-members £2. If you know anyone who wants to come on the walk and who is not yet a member, please ask them to join by Friday noon and the walk will be free to them. They should email fspdog@hotmail.com

  • hilly 5:46 pm on August 18, 2015
    Tags: bats, , ,   

    Woodlands Farm Bat Walks 

    Bat Walks at Woodlands Farm 2015

    Bats are getting more and more popular, and there are lots of opportunities to see and hear native bats. The next local bat walks are hosted by Woodlands Farm. Hannah, their Education Officer wrote with details:

    Thursday 20th August   8pm,   Thursday 27th August   7.45pm,  Thursday 3rd September   7.30pm

    Join us for a bat walk around Woodlands Farm. We have a number of different bat species living on the farm so this is a great opportunity to find out more about bats and see what we can find. You will need sturdy footwear, suitable outdoor clothing and a torch. This activity is not recommended for children under 6. £5 per adult and £3 per child. Booking is essential. To book call 020 8319 8900.

    For more information, see our website or contact Hannah Forshaw on education@thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org

    A good number of bats were detected at the farm as part of the Bat Conservation Trust’s National Bat Monitoring Programme in July, both common and soprano pipistrelles and some very clear noctules. Let’s hope they all show themselves in the bat walks, but even if they don’t there’s something magical about walking the farm’s woods and meadows in the half light.

    Not too far away from Shooters Hill, there are also bat walks coming up at Hall Place on Tuesday 25th August and Thursday 27th August in their beautiful gardens along the river Cray, and on 11th September Thames Water Crossness have a bat walk around the nature reserve north of Eastern Way. Their walk along Southmere Lake last week was one of the best I’ve been on for visibility and variety of bats, despite the persistent rain.  Quite a few noctules and serotines were seen swooping over the water, and pipistrelles darting just overhead around the lakeside trees. They don’t expect the walk in the nature reserve to be quite as spectacular.

    Also on 11th September the Friends of Shrewsbury Park will be holding their second bat walk of the season. The perfect place for a lark in the park in the dark, hopefully enlivened by the heterodyned sound of echo-locating bats and the sight of them flitting just above head height.

    Finally for bat fans there is annual Bat Fest at the Natural History Museum on 29th and 30th August, starring the marvellous Jenny Clark MBE and her education bats. Here is a video of Jenny at her bat hospital talking about bats in her own inimitable style.

     
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