Bechstein survey – in Herefordshire

Regular readers will know we have been hunting for Bechstein’s in Bedfordshire. So far we have had no luck, but the weather has been awful. Lia is going to come back at the end of August, but she has just spent a week looking for them in Herefordshire and invited Bob and Jude down to  play. We stayed in a lovely cottage and met up with some other bat workers who were helping her out. And what was that thing in the sky? That yellow thing that seemed to making the days warm?

Photo Bob Cornes

As night fell the team headed out into a series of fairly local woods which had been selected as being possible A large amount of equipment was man/woman handled into the woods and set up. This included not just the harp trap but also songmeter detectors and video  camera.

 

 

Photo Jude Hirstwood

On the second night, permission hadn’t come through to access a particular site  so we stayed in the cottage grounds.  We treated ourselves to a leisurely meal and then set up a harp trap, a mist net and a double height net and set up a Griffin bat detector and waited for developments.

 

Photo Bob Cornes

 

Photo Jude Hirstwood

 

Bats soon found their way into the mist net by the hedge. This gave Jude her first ever sighting of a whiskered bat in the hand.

 

 

Because this wasn’t part of the actual project we were able to use this as an opportunity to give Heather and Lia a chance to take bats out of the net, By the end of the evening we had done rather well and on listening to the Griffin we picked up horseshoes as well. How very different from life in Bedfordshire.

 

 

Photo Jude Hirstwood

 

One of the bats we caught was a most unusual looking brown long eared bat. Brown long eareds are normally very cute creatures, but this beast was somewhat different.

 

 

 

Photo Bob Cornes

 

 

In the following three days, three more woods were visited.  Bats, I am convinced .have a sense of the dramatic. So it was not until midnight on the very last night that the story reached its climax; a female Bechstein’s came into the harp trap. Lia was delighted, but I think the rest of us were even more excited that all her hard work and patience had finally paid off.

 

 

 

Bechstein’s bat Photo Bob Cornes

 

 

We are now hoping that when Lia comes back to Bedfordshire at the end of August, we will succeed in finding one here.

 

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