Bat trapping survey, Knowsley Safari Park, Merseyside (2014)

A few days after my first harp trapping experience I went back for more to see whether I could actually catch something this time !!!  It was pretty weird meeting at Knowsley Safari Park after closing time.  We were ferried through the Park by the keepers who pointed out their elephants and rhinos as we whizzed by to the survey site at White Man’s Dam, a lake on the estate behind the safari park which isn’t open to the public.

harp trapping siteConditions looked perfect as we set up the traps, with the lakes plumb calm and midges everywhere in the warm still air.  Would we succeed this time ??

YES !

processing male soprano pipistrelle

Here is a male soprano pipistrelle being processed and not looking too chuffed about it.  We weighed and measured the bats and checked whether they were in breeding condition as these data contribute a lot to our understanding of bats in the local area.  We also captured three female soprano pips which were identified and released asap as it is unwise to over-handle females at this time of year – when they may be pregnant.

No Nathusius’ pipistrelles were recorded on this survey but it was still fun – we caught something in the traps, there were noctules bombing around the mature trees in the park and some kind of Myotis (probably Daubenton’s) was having a field day foraging on the lake.

Trapping has now ended for the summer and we will resume in the autumn once we are confident that young bats are independent of their mothers and there is no risk of catching a female who still has a baby to feed.

I am really chuffed to have had the opportunity to participate in this trapping survey and am still excited about it now, writing this several weeks later 🙂

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