Culzean Bat Weekend 6th & 7th August 2016

The idea behind the bat weekend was that Culzean has 8 out of the 10 species of bat that reside in Scotland and that the further north you travel the diversity of species drops.  The Culzean Bat Weekend was to give bat workers across Scotland the opportunity to learn more about bats, to experience bats not common in their area and to learn different survey techniques, along with the chance to meet new people.

The weekend attracted 24 bat enthusiasts, along with other rangers and conservation volunteers working in Culzean over the weekend.  Seasonal Ranger Joanne King, Head Ranger Ian Cornforth and bat workers John Haddow and Tom Hastings conducted workshops and talks on Bat Care and First Aid, Bat Identification in hand and by Using Your Ears, identifying tree roosts and how to use the latest in bat technology.

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The bate workers out on Saturday evening enjoying the ‘bat orchestra’ over the bat detectors

One of the highlights of the weekend was on Saturday evening, when the stars of the show flew (on an extremely breezy evening) around swan pond.  Bats echolocate to find their food and these calls can be heard on a bat detector.  Each species has a different call and each bat detector held by the guests picked up the different call of each species seen flying around. Leislers, Brown Long Eared Pipistrelle and Daubenton’s bats were all picked up on the bat detectors, creating a night orchestra that the guests will never forget.

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A female Soprano Pipistrelle bat found in one of the bat boxes

Sunday evening was an extremely blowy night, but the final workshop was long handled netting bats (which should not be carried out unless under the supervision of a professional licensed bat worker).  Large nets with very long handles were held to the entrance of Pipistrelle roosts, and bats were caught at they left the roost.  They were safely and quickly put into bags before being examined, sexed and measured.  The bats found were all young males, born this year.  It is possible that their mothers had raised them before abandoning them in the roost as they were old enough to look after themselves.  All bats were returned to their roosts unharmed.

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One of the bats caught during the long handled net session

Overall the weekend was well received by the guests.  Everyone enjoyed themselves, though they may need a few days of sleep to recover!!

Blog post written by Joanne King, Seasonal Ranger and Bat Weekend organiser.

Join us for our Big Bat Weekend on Friday 19th August and Saturday 20th August 2016 – for more info and for tickets please visit http://www.nts.org.uk/Events/Ticket-Date/5917/

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