Bat detector and ID chart

More enigmatic bats

The mad bat woman has been at it again, wondering the streets at night, waving a badly tuned radio around. This time it was a small Devon village that looked on, bemused, at my antics.

Following my recent bat walk, where only common pipistrelles came out to play, I thought I might have better luck ticking off new species from my list away from home. So I jammed my bat detector and id chart into my bag, along with a change of clothes, and jumped on a train heading west.

I was fairly confident that I would see bats, and, after dusk I was proved right, spotting my first one just a few metres from the gate of where I was staying. This time the bat detector issued a slapping, clicking sound, different to a pipistrelle. Horay, a new species to tick off my list! But what was it? My BatLib app helped to narrow the options down to three, but I really couldn’t differentiate between them, even with the help of recordings, descriptions of flight patterns and habitats. So, once again, I have seen a new species, but don’t know what it is.

A few metres round the corner I picked up some more bats. The detector made the familiar babbling, squelching sounds of common pipistrelles, but this time at a higher frequency – it was a soprano pipistrelle. Horay, a new species that I can tick off my list!
With that, I decided to call it a night. I am going to need some expert help with identifying bats. Luckily I have another bat walk with experts booked. I hope that they don’t all go into hiding like last time!

Do you have any top tips for distinguishing between bat species, using a heterodyne detector?

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6 thoughts on “More enigmatic bats”

  1. Nananananananana BAT GIRL!
    Sorry, no tips. Did you wear a superhero costume or did you get enough funny looks just with your bat detector? I know we have greater horseshoes here, we rescued one once. We get a lot around here, I’m thinking about putting some bat boxes up.

    1. Haha! No, sadly there was only room for the bat detector OR the superhero costume, so I had to go for the detector 😦 Anyway, I caused enough of a stir without it 😉
      You’re lucky to have greater horseshoes around – they’re quite rare, from what I understand. Good idea to put some boxes up – I think roosting spaces are getting harder for bats to find. Let me know how you get on, if you do get some boxes up!

      1. I think that’s what it was. It was quite big, had big ears and a face that only a mother could love. A woman from the Bat Conservation Trust came and picked it up (and packed Mr Digger off to hospital for a rabies shot because it had bitten him- he’s still known as ‘Bat Man’ at our local GP surgery).

        I do have a spare wall to put a bat box on but it’s quite windy and exposed so not sure if it’d be any good.

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