Saturday, 21 August 2010

Batman visits St Abb' Head

This week we have had a bat expert (is there a special word for one I wonder, a eutheriologist perhaps? This particular one was called Dr Dean Waters!) surveying the property for bats. Although the reserve is not huge, Dean only had a couple of days to do the survey and which was no mean feat as bat surveys are easier said than done. He carried out a visual inspection of all our buildings looking for signs of roosts; undertook dawn and dusk surveys of the buildings with the help of a group of Trust volunteers to try and identify any bats coming out of or going into roosts; and walked a 7 km transect around the reserve twice, identifying any bats that flew past. (Picture right: Dean checking out the Rangers' Office; picture left; the mummified corpse of a pipistrelle bat found in the roof of the Ranger's Cottage).

An important tool used in surevying bats is a bat detector; basically a box of electronic trickery that translates the near inaudible sounds bats use to "see" in the dark into sounds that we humans can hear. Different species make different sounds and/or use different frequencies so you can tell them apart from their echolocation.

Dean has been carrying out similar work on various of the Trust properties as part of the Trust's bat conservation work. We own all sorts of properties many of which we know to be home to bats, and have the only Bat Reserve in Scotland at Threave, but there are also many properties where we know there are bats, but we don't know what species, and where they are roosting. So Dean has been taken on to fill this gap in our knowledge. He has gone away to analyse all his recordings and data from his work at St Abbs, but initial findings show that we have definitely got roosts of both pipistrelle and brown long-eared bats which is fantastic news. We will keep you posted, and hopefully be able to post some infra-red video too!

If you would like to learn more about bats, check out the Bat Conservation Trust website at

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