I have been saving this post for halloween. My son actually spotted this bat in the workshop two weeks ago and I ran to get the camera. It isn’t the best shot, but the bat flew into a tiny gap between the wooden window frame and the wall and vanished before I could get a decent shot.
I wasn’t sure which bat it was. We have nine bats in Ireland and I thought it was too big to be a Pipistrelle of which we have three (Common, Soprano and Nathusius). The Nathusius’ Pipistrelle is only a recent discovery and so far the only breeding population has been recorded in Northern Ireland (in 1997), though it has been recorded in other counties on bat detectors. It amazing how little we know about bats here in Ireland.
I sent the photo to a couple of ‘bat expert’ friends but they have come back with two possible answers – either a Leisler’s or one of the pips.
We regularly see bats flying around our house and up and down the hedgerows of the little road that runs past the house. I’d love to get my hands on a bat detector to find out exactly which species they are.
I have been lucky to have been involved as a volunteer on two bat projects. The first was when we lived in the UK near Thetford Forest. Here they had numerous bat boxes in the forest which were checked once a year and all the bats were recorded. Individual bats were marked with numbered rings, the same as those used to identify birds. It was a great way to get really close to these amazing creatures.
The other project was a night time one, so all we got to see were the bats leaving their roost. This was here in Ireland and these were very special Lesser Horseshoe bats. It’s the only horseshoe bat we have in Ireland and it is at its most westerly and northery limit in terms of population distribution. In this project, a number of the bats were fitted with radio tags and we got to track them through the night. I’m not a great person for staying up late but I really enjoy this night-time field work. The world is so different in the dark. You can check out the Vincent Wildlife Trust page for more information on the lesser horseshoe bat –
Wishing you all a Happy Halloween!