Bat Walks and Batty Stuff

Bat walks 2018 all fully booked

Wimbledon Park 8.9.18
Canon Hill Common14.9.18
Canizaro Park 11.10.18

5.6.15 Canon Hill Common (see Friends Website)

29.5.15 at Tolworth, Book with Kingston University booking only

30.4.15 Claremont Gardens with Surbiton Wildlife Group

Common pipistrelle
Bat Box Checking
Now is the time of year for checking bat boxes. Mating roosts of common and soprano pipistrelles are often found in the autumn.

bat droppings
Bird nest in bat box
Boxes can be used by many species that dwell in tree holes, including birds. The large hibernation boxes can be popular as large communal night roosts for wrens. If you look closely you can often find bat droppings in an empty box, if when birds nests are present.

Soprano pipistrelle
wasp's nest

Soprano pipistrelles are the usual occupants and five were found on this occasion. But sometimes wasps and even hornets can colonise a box!

Croham Hurst, Bankside, South Croydon

Our first bat was detected at only 10 minutes after sunset, suggesting it was roosting very close to the Bankside entrance to the wood. The only bat species recorded during the evening was that of common pipistrelles,  but there were plenty of them.  foraging all along the east- west ridge as well as the lower  more open slopes. Several hoots of tawny owl were heard from the woodland edge adding to the atmosphere of a mature woodland experienced at night.

Daubenton's Waterway Survey (DWS) 5.8.14
A group of us recorded the numbers of Daubenton's bat passes along the river Thames at Canbury Gardens in this annual survey which has been carried out since 1998. We understand that the site is 156th most important in the south-east for Daubenton's bat or 565th in the UK (Bat Conservation Trust data, 2013).

Batty Boat Trip August 2nd
Bat sightings along the river have been quite variable this year, so we decided to take the boat through Molesey Lock. At the lock the first bat was a serotine from the east, followed by several pipistrelles foraging around the bankside vegetation. Noctules and occasionally a Leisler's bat was recorded en route to Platt's Eyott where the combined bat activity was staggering. This included an occasional Nathusius' pipistrelle pass as well as Daubenton's bat. On the return the  bat activity was much reduced, although we did register a lone Daubenton's bat as we passed the Barge Tunnel at Seething Wells.

Kneller Gardens July 25th
90 people turned up for a bat walk along the R. Crane starting at the Kingfisher bridge at Kneller Gardens. Some late arriving pipistrelle bats were enjoyed by all.

Natural History Museum Bat Fest 5.7.14 
Biggles amused many visitors to the third annual Bat Fest at the Museum, here seen with staff at the Darwin Centre.

May 2014 Roost destruction
A roost  of 42 common pipistrelles documented as part of the National roost visitor scheme  (July, 2013) was destroyed this month. This was the largest roost of this species known in the borough (larger colonies are usually mixed with soprano pipistrelles). Despite informing the LPA that bats used this site they granted planning permission on the basis that a single storey extension would have no bearing on the roost. The police were unable to prosecute as they said that the roost owner had the defence of the ambiguous consultant's report. This is a common outcome and shows the inadequacy of the law and the lack of will to protect so called 'protected' species. 

May 9th Bat Walk 'Bats of Seething Wells'.

We discussed the importance of habitat corridors and how bats use linear features like rivers, hedgerows and tree lines for navigation.Tree lines and well vegetated areas also provide cover for flight, away from the eagle eyes of predators like birds and cats.

Bats have evolved over a long period of time to take advantage of low light levels. Their eyes have more rod photoreceptor cells (designed to work in low light levels) then cones photoreceptor cells (responsible for colour vision, which work in higher light levels). Some bat species lack cone cells in their eyes.

Urban development and the increasing light levels associated with development, are causing major problems for bats.Lights which are too bright, or of the wrong wavelength act as deterrents to bats, disrupting commuting and foraging corridors. Studies  show that lighting near maternity roosts have caused bats to come out later in the night than normal as they wait for it to get dark. This has resulted in missing the peak insect feeding period, and is resulting in under developed bat pups (baby bats).

May 4th Spring Safari Orleans House come and feed midges to Biggles the Bat

Kingston Biodiversity Network will be on Thursday 1st May from 7.00 p.m. in C-SCAIPE, Kingston University, Penrhyn Road, Kingston. We will discuss the latest activity of the network and the latest progress on developing Biodiversity Action Plans and Habitat Action Plans. Rob Waite, Green Spaces Officer at Kingston Borough Council, will be speaking.

Alison Fure will also be giving a presentation entitled Bats, Rivers and Light Pollution.

Bat Walks, 2013
Between us we detected three species in all: Common pipistrelle, Soprano pipistrelle and Daubentons, but the Sopranos were by far the most abundant and vocal. The two pipistrelle species are the most common in the country and the ones you are most likely to see in your garden at dusk. Daubentons emerge a little later, are bigger and glean insects from the water surface with their feet. Despite our attempts to spot their white bellies glinting over the river, we only saw the pips. for more see: Kingston University Biodiversity Group Bat walk

Bat walks 2012

The May bat walks have got off to a poor start with many cancelled due to poor weather. Keep an eye on websites such as the  London Wetlands Centre and  London Bat Group for list of walks. Here are some of mine but all must be booked (not necessarily with me). We don't normally run walks in June as sunset is very late but if people want to join some batty activities in June get in touch.


Boat Trip
Cannizaro Park
see their website for bking details
"    "
Canbury Gardens
Daubenton's waterway survey
Cannon Hill Common
see Friends  website

Parrs Boat
 8th Annual  Batty Boat Trip 2012

This year we recorded a total of 7 bat species as well as a mink in the water at Raven’s Ait. An early serotine bat registered briefly on bat detection equipment at gardens near Stevens Ait. There was virtually nothing but  brief passes of bankside pipistrelles until we reached Thames Ditton Island, where there have been a number of recent changes regarding the lighting of gardens and at the pub, leaving virtually no dark areas. This has resulted in a reduction in the activity of light shy bat species.

Light pollution is so bad along some of the river stretches as former industrial areas have been developed into housing (e.g. Gridley Miskin’s wood yard) that the banks are becoming silent and most of the bat activity was found as we headed northwards towards Hampton Court (also a function of shelter from the strong south westerly winds). When we reached Cigarette Island there was activity above us, at the bankside as well as over the water, of both common and soprano pipistrelles, Daubenton’s bat, noctules and Leisler’s bat. There were brief registrations of Natterer’s bats on the return journey at the usual spot along the darkest stretch of Barge Walk.

A participant from the Kingston Environment Centre asked whether a leaflet on light pollution existed, to put through the letterboxes of those dwellings along the Thames at Hampton Wick/ Teddington and Surbiton, especially where there are so many bright lights covering the lawns. There is a joint Bat Conservation Trust and Buglife leaflet as well as a European leaflet on the effects of light pollution, both good, but do not specifically address rivers, which are designated wildlife corridors. The Thames is actually designated as a Site of Metroplitan Importance for wildlife but light pollution is outstripping the tolerance of most species that use it.

As we pulled into our moorings, an animal was seen somersaulting in the water. Turns out there is a mink living under the marina slip way. Unfortunately these destructive animals appear to be on the increase again along our riverside, causing problems for the small water vole population.

Addington Hills Bat Inspection

30 bats were found at the inspection of boxes on 14.4.12 see photos of Brown long eared and noctules bats at:


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