I took the family to the Bat Night at Holy Trinity Church in Tattershall last night. The church sits in the shadow of Tattershall castle and, in addition to hosting a groovy tea room and second hand book sale, it is home to a large colony (500-600 bats) of Soprano pipistrelles which uses the transepts and aisles of the church.
After an interesting talk from Ian Nixon of the Lincolnshire Bat Group we were given a bat detector to listen out for the bats’ ultrasound. As dusk fell in the church the speakers of the detector crackled with the noise of a few bats and we began to catch glimpses of them flying over us. Fairly soon after the church was full of darting shadows. I made a quick recording of the noise from the detector as the bats began to congregate around the church door and swoop down to crawl through the gaps and head out to feed.
Recording of the bat detector noise as the bats awoke.
I also had a pop at getting some on video but as I only ha my iPhone with me the footage is grainy at best. The movement you see, black shapes against the church window, is that of the many bats flitting across on their way out of the church.
The kids were thrilled to be allowed to run around the church at night with the detectors, searching for bats. Seeing the bats in the flesh was a truly terrific experience and we are looking into purchasing a detector as we plan to head round to our village church soon and take a look at the bats there. We were told last night that there are some long-eared bats residing there and hope to see them very soon. In the meantime we working on ways to make our garden more bat friendly.
You can read more about the bats at Tattershall in the Bats Conservation Trust’s case study (PDF) and www.bats.org.uk is also worth checking out.