Some of our bat species swarm during mating season – they go off to a particular site and mill about to see who is looking good and pick the best mate! Bit like human pubs and clubs really…. I took part in a swarming survey earlier this summer and was pleased to be invited to another site to help trap and count swarming bats, this time on Merseyside.
I’ve been to this particular site before during hibernation season and had fun trying to spot tips of ears sticking out of crevices whilst trying to contort myself into interesting positions. So I was really looking forward to seeing active bats at the site as I thought it would help me for surveys this winter. Nothing like getting to know the actual individuals you’re likely to see squeezed into a crevice for being able to ID them! I hope so, anyway. Is it a bit too much to ask that they stick out their ringed wing so I can read the number on it? Yeah, probably.
Anyway, we set up a couple of harp traps and two mist nets in the cave, put on our snow boots and thermals and sat down with a brew to warm up for a long night of counting, ringing and releasing bats.
We didn’t catch as many as the earlier summer surveys, but we still had over 20 bats including six recaptures – nice to know these individuals are still around and none the worse for having been ringed. We ringed brown long-eared, natterer’s and whiskered bats and as a bonus provided amusement to some young photographers who had come to see the caves.
I haven’t any decent photos from the night. It was dark. What can I say ?