Checking Bat Boxes

Today I've been with the East Yorkshire Bat Group, checking bat boxes in Allerthorpe Woods. Six species have been recorded there in the past.

Checking bat boxes

The first few boxes we checked contained only spiders. Then we found boxes with bat droppings inside and finally one with two bats. They were Soprano pipistrelles, one male and one female. I'd assumed the sub-species of Pipistrelle could only be distinguished by the frequency of their echo-location calls, but apparently there are physical differences too. The Sopranos have yellow colouring around the mouth, a distinct pattern of veins in the wings and they smell different from Common pipistrelles.

Soprano pipistrelle

The boxes were clustered together in groups of pine trees, with two or three boxes on a single tree in some places. After checking a group, we realised we'd missed a box out, which was easily done. Going back to it was well worthwhile, because it contained nine Natterer's bats. They were put in a bag and brought down for examination. There were eight females and one male.

Coming down with a bag

A bag of bats

Natterer's bat

We continued on to another group of trees with bat boxes, but although a high proportion contained bat droppings, we found no more bats. It's possible the bats have gone to their autumn swarming sites, where they'll mate before going into hibernation for the winter.

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