Clwyd Bat Group hibernation surveys, Flintshire (2015)

A top day out, this, even if it did involve more steep slopes and confined spaces than I would normally consider fun!

steep approach

Photo by Andrea Cordon Pina

That’s me in the front trying not to fall over while Amelia (in yellow) looks unimpressed!Regular readers will know I am a bit of a bat group tart, being a member of Cheshire and South Lancashire bat groups and occasionally flitting about in Merseyside as well – so it was nice to go out with Clwyd bat group for the first time and find I already knew some of the members 🙂

Every year South Lancs bat group organise a posse to help Clwyd with their many hibernation counts as we don’t have many known hibernation sites in our area.  Plus we want to see lesser horseshoes which we also don’t have in our area (that we know of…).

The first site was a large slate mine – its modest entrance belies the cavernous interior, with numerous passageways and, it turned out, hundreds of lesser horseshoe bats:

mine entrance

Photo by Andrea Cordon Pina

This place is on the top of a hill which makes for a steep approach but rather lovely views:

Photo by Andrea Cordon Pina

Photo by Andrea Cordon Pina

The second mine was not as picturesque, to be brutally honest, as the site had more of the vibe of a slightly sinister disused industrial estate.  A load of random cloth material had been dumped into the entrance of our mine which made for a rather strange experience posting myself into the narrow letterbox entrance and clambering over soft pillowy stuff instead of rocks.  There were plenty of rocks further in, though, including some fresh rockfall to make things interesting.  And 26 lesser horseshoe bats 🙂

I am due to attend another hibernation survey in February and am looking forward to hopefully seeing some more lovely bats!

I should probably point out that South Lancs Bat Group are insured and we make sure all our hibernation surveyors are suitably experienced and wear suitable PPE including hard hats.  We always look out for each other by working in teams with at least one person who knows the site well and a suitably licensed bat worker.  Going into a random mine or cave you don’t know, unsupervised, with no protective gear, could be the last mistake you ever make.  Don’t try this at home!  Do try it with your local bat group and you will have a lot of fun and hopefully see bats as well.


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