Exciting Bat News, Banks Meadow Reserve

August 15, 2020

Report on bats at Three Owls Meadow Reserve, Marsh Road, Banks, PR9 8DX on 15th August, 2020. Thanks to an invite from Dr David Unwin, I did a bat survey on 15.8.2020 over land adjoining Shore Farm and Flavourfresh Salads’ greenhouses, in company with Rob Yates and his wife Janet. The land is about 2 acres is extent and is comprised of rough grazing land with tall ruderal plants, with ditches and with a moderately sized hedgerow on the western boundary. The weather was ideal, calm, dry and reasonably warm, with a temperature of 18O C at 21.100 hrs. The survey was commenced at 20.48pm and finished at 22.07pm. According to Dr Unwin a bat survey had been done some 7 years previously and, amongst other species, a species thought possibly to be whiskered bats (Myotis mystacinus) had been observed. This species are not that common in West Lancashire. For the survey I used a Batlogger bat detector (Elekon, Switzerland) and the data was analysed using Elekon’s software, Bat Explorer. Results of survey.






























Species No recordings of individuals Total no of calls





Soprano pipistrelle







1







18







Common pipistrelle







46







697







Whiskered/Brandt’s







8







178







Brown long-eared







2







35



Explanation of table. It should be noted that this is not an exact statement of the bats that occur on the land. It is simply a snapshot of what was observed on that particular night. When a bat is flying it is constantly emitted a series of high frequency calls so that a single individual in the case of the soprano pipistrelle was recorded emitting 18 separate calls and so on for the other species.











Soprano pipistrelles (Pipistrellus pygmaeus) aren’t common in this area. The table states whiskered/Brandt’s Myotis mystacinus/ Brandtii) because the two species are impossible to separate by their call and so they have been regarded as a single species. In fact, it is more likely that they are whiskered bats because of the habitat types to be found during the survey. Brandt’s bats are more closely affiliated with true woodland.  Brown Long-eared Bats  (Plecotus auritus) are rarely recorded on bat recorders since their signals are extremely quiet and the observer needs to be within 5 metres of so of the animal, so it is likely that there were more of this species flying over the area, and I did see some bats that didn’t register on the recorder, which were almost certainly this species.


Summary. Since this land is situated in a landscape that is principally comprised of land intensively managed for agriculture,  it is evident from the results of this brief survey that this small plot is “punching above its weight” in terms of providing foraging opportunities for bats.  Since all British bats feed on insects, then there must be plenty of insect prey present. It is especially interesting and gratifying to record whiskered/Brandt’s bats. I have been working on bats in this general area for 35 years and I do not record these species very frequently and most of those recordings haven’t been close to Shore Farm. It is wonderful to see the hard work of local people and Flavourfresh Salads Ltd being rewarded in this way. If only more companies were so wildlife friendly. I will try to keep a close eye on what happens in the future.


Charlie Liggett     C.Biol., M.I. Biol.


Merseyside and West Lancashire Bat Group







 







 



 


 

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