Every year, members of South Lancs Bat Group join Clwyd Bat Group and Natural Resources Wales to form a super-group for lesser horseshoe bat surveys as part of the National Bat Monitoring Programme. There are numerous lesser horseshoe bat roosts in the Betws-y-Coed area, and lesser horseshoes have a sneaky habit of moving roosts which means you could count bats one night and then go down the road and inadvertently count the same bats out of a different building the next night !
The only way round this is to have as many surveyors as possible so that all the sites can be counted on the same night. Hence the super-group 🙂
I was dispatched with N., a fellow member of SLBG, to a site in the valley of the river Lledr, south of Betws-y-Coed, which involved some quite adventurous driving (from N.) and hopeful map-reading (from me). We found the place just in time:
Whilst it looks pretty innocent, this barn is quite close to the river, which unfortunately meant a heinous number of midges attacked the both of us relentlessly throughout the entire survey. I had brought my head net which made for interesting times trying to spot bats through the mesh whilst feeling somewhat guilty that N. was being eaten alive. Anyway, we managed to count four lesser horseshoe bats out of the building, spotted another one inside and encountered some helpful pipistrelles which we hope were eating the midges but didn’t seem to be making much inroads into them.
All in all the survey can be summarised as follows: