Posted 28th Jun 2017
Lead image: Long-eared bat © Liam O'Hara
Unseen and unnoticed by many, the countryside will begin to fill up with bats as dusk settles
The nocturnal insectivores will flutter out to feed for the night, with Pipstrelles flitting over the garden, while brown long-eared bats will swoop along the hedgerows. Daubenton bats will start to skim over the river, and noctules will fly high up above the canopy.
Bats make their way around by echolocation, using a series of very high pitched clicks and burps to listen out for the echoes that will bounce off their surroundings and their prey. They may not be audible to the human ear but a special bat detector can be used to listen to the echolocation calls of bats. Each species will have its own characteristic pattern and the frequency of calls, with the pitter patter of a calling pipistrelle turning into a buzzing burp as it closes in on a moth meal.
The best way to find out more about bats will be in the company of an expert. For instance, you can check your Wildlife Trust's website for bat walks, and similar events where you can use a bat detector to learn more about their lives. The last weekend in August will also see International Bat Night take place.
Something else you can do is in your garden, which with putting up a bat box, will give them a helping hand in your garden. The most important aspect is the location - you should aim for a sheltered sunny spot, which is high up under the eaves if it's on a building, and ideally well away from the outside lights.
There are also a number of special spots to go and enjoy seeing them:
Angus, Montrose Basin
Cambridge, River Cam
Channel Islands, Alderney
Derbyshire, Hilton Gravel Pits
Devon, Higher Kiln Quarry
Dorset, Brackett’s Coppice
Essex, Hanningfield Reservoir
Gwynedd, Gwaith Powdwr
Lancashire, Aughton Woods
Lanarkshire, Falls of Clyde
Yorkshire, Sprotbrough Flash
Information courtesy of The Wildlife Trusts