Our friends at Durham Bat Group joined us at the weekend to carry out a spring bat box survey across site – and would you look at what we found!
This fine-looking male Soprano Pipistrelle was roosting in one of the boxes near the river. Quite fitting as this species does feed around the edges of wetlands and water bodies.
The male was in good health and very bitey but was handled with great care by Clare Rawcliffe, an experienced and fully licensed bat surveyor.
Most of the 15 boxes were unused but some did show signs of usage, while a few even contained nesting blue tit. Cheeky! This could be due to the easy availability of roost sites such as old trees, which have natural cavities that hold a more steady temperature and create microclimates that potentially make them more attractive to bats.
One of the key aims of our collaboration with DBG is to verify the presence of the Nathusius Pipistrelle here at WWT Washington, a previously recorded species on the reserve and a Durham rarity.
We will be surveying for bats again during the late summer once they have finished breeding but before hibernation occurs.
For more information about Durham Bat Group, please visit http://www.durhambats.org.uk/