Tiny bundles of fragile wings and fur
fragile wings and gingery brown fur. They are noted for their gentle personality, sitting calmly in researchers’ hands if caught by their special harp traps.
Perhaps that wouldn’t be the description their prey used: night fliers like craneflies, moths and mayflies that emerge alongside our rivers are caught in their hundreds by the foraging bats. They do this using a kind of sonar called echolocation; making calls and listening for echoes which are so high pitched we can only hear them using ultrasonic detectors or bat detectors.
Fortunately for us, these bats like to shout loudly, fly early in the evening and travel out of the forest down our valleys for many kilometres. This means we are able to spot them as they go about their nightly forays.
I was fortunate enough to be asked to find the bats of The Catlins back in 2013. I found not just the bats, but also my home.
I have not returned to the UK and am now a New Zealand resident, in large part down to the people and the bats of The Catlins.
If you would like to come out bat spotting this summer, as part of the South Otago Forest & Bird summer events, we will be in Owaka at the Community Centre 7.30pm tomorrow. After a short talk we will head up to Tawanui to watch our very own rare bats. Contact me for more details: firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 0223 914 698.
A female long-tailed bat, a New Zealand native land mammal.