Bats at Barlow Common

On Saturday evening I went to a “Bat walk and talk” at Barlow Common Nature Reserve, near Selby. The reserve was once a refuse tip and was a dumping ground for the rubble from Hull, when it was bombed during World War II. Now, the common has been miraculously transformed into a nature reserve, managed by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

The evening started with an excellent talk about bats from Ann Hanson, of the Yorkshire Mammal Group. She gave us a good introduction to bat ecology and described the species most commonly found in the area. This was followed up by recordings of bat echolocation calls. We then went out with bat detectors, to see what we could find. The best sighting was of two Common pipistrelles circling around a clearing in the woods, making almost continuous echolocation calls. We also heard occasional calls from a Noctule bat, but by the time I’d tuned in my bat detector, it had gone!

On Sunday, we had our regular monthly conservation work day at Allerthorpe Common. We brush-cut an area of dense bracken in one corner of the reserve, then moved to the other side where birch seedlings were taking over. By cutting back the most invasive plants, we hope to encourage more diversity. The heather is not yet in full flower, but soon will be. New heather is appearing in areas we have brush-cut in previous years, which is encouraging.

Brush-cutting birch and bracken

Raking up the cuttings
The heather is looking good


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