Here’s where you can see bats in Buckinghamshire
PUBLISHED: 10:06 07 July 2017
© Barry Sutton
The more you know about these long-lived, far-flying insect hunters, the more amazing they are. So make time to see them this summer
Bats are simply amazing.
Take the common pipstrelle, Britain’s most widespread bat species. It’s tiny enough to crawl into a matchbox, but strong enough to fly hundreds of kilometres on a summer night, and gobble thousands of midges.
Bats are nocturnal creatures, only seen very occasionally during the day, and the focus of many myths and folk lores. As such, sometimes misunderstandings can arise and bats sadly aren’t always seen as the most charismatic of animals.
But what’s the truth?
In fact, like us bats are mammals. They give birth to live, defenceless young that feed on their mother’s milk. UK species of bats range in size from the pipistrelle, weighing only about the same as a 2p coin, to the noctule, which weighs in at up to 40g (about the same as four £1 coins!).
All British bats eat insects, which makes them a gardener’s friend. Each species has its own favourites, but they all need a lot to keep them satisfied as flying uses lots of energy. A pipistrelle bat can eat more than 500 tiny insects in just an hour!
Bats are also at risk. With fewer wooded areas, ponds and open grass spaces for them to feed and roost, their habitat is shrinking.
Britain is home to 18 species of bat, 17 of which breed here. And now is a great time to see these winged wonders as they emerge from their daytime roosts and limber up for the hunt.
Finemere Wood is the best place to see bats in our region. It’s a magnificent woodland home to birds, bats and butterflies, where you can forget the stresses of everyday life.
This is a well-surveyed woodland with the North Bucks Bat Group carrying out funded work, including ringing Bechstein’s bats. This rare and secretive species of bat relies on the presence of tall trees, where they seek out insects to pluck from branches and leaves.
This is a great reserve to learn more about bats, as there is an interpretation board with information on some of the bat species that can be see at this reserve.
Do you need any special equipment? A bat detector (from £60) is nice if you can afford it. Or an ID chart by the Field Studies Council costs about £3. Now get out and have some batty fun!
Learn to help bats
Bats are under threat from lack of food and habitat, and new development. The Wildlife Trusts’ action pack shows how everyone can make gardens and green spaces more bat friendly. See wildaboutgardens.org.uk.
Wherever you live there is a Wildlife Trust that covers your area. You can support their work by joining your local Wildlife Trust today. Visit www.wildlifetrusts.org to choose the Trust you would like to join.