Lis­ten out for bats in flight

Macclesfield Express - - WILDLIFE -

MY won­der­ful mate Jerry Sor­fleet lent me his bat de­tec­tor last year. I kept it much longer than I should have and it was bril­liant lis­ten­ing to our lo­cal batty neigh­bours.

I spent hours wan­der­ing up and down a lo­cal lane lis­ten­ing to the ‘wet slaps’ of pip­istrelles as they searched among the trees for dusk-fly­ing in­sects. It does ac­tu­ally sound like a se­ries of wet slaps on the de­tec­tor.

And the great thing was that as you heard the bats you be­gan to ac­tu­ally see them fly­ing around your head, catch­ing the bugs that were hom­ing in on hu­man food.

If you get a chance to bor­row a bat de­tec­tor do it. It will give you an idea of the won­der­ful mam­mals that live in and around our towns and cities. And you can even de­tect what kinds of bat are there.

Of course there are other batty op­por­tu­ni­ties fly­ing around the re­gion at the mo­ment. Keep an eye out for late night bat walks in parks and Wildlife Trust re­serves.

On a more prac­ti­cal note my col­league Adam Berry has or­gan­ised a bat con­ser­va­tion group in Mos­ton Fair­way, just a mile from the cen­tre of Manch­ester.

Adam and a team of vol­un­teers are help­ing to im­prove the whole of the Mos­ton Brook area for all wildlife but par­tic­u­larly our bat species that live in the area.

In the first two months 15 vol­un­teers from the lo­cal com­mu­nity helped to clear an area about the size of a foot­ball pitch of trees and scrub from an im­por­tant wet­land habitat.

As well as im­prov­ing the qual­ity of this habitat for species such as frogs, newts and birds, this work will help to in­crease the amount of in­sects breed­ing in the wet­land; the per­fect food for bats.

As 2016 pro­gresses we have lots more prac­ti­cal con­ser­va­tion work that needs de­liv­er­ing at the site in the Mos­ton Brook area. This will re­quire even more help and sup­port from lo­cal peo­ple. You can drop in every Wed­nes­day be­tween 10am and 3pm, there are more de­tails on our web­site. I have met some of the vol­un­teers and they are lovely. It’s a great way to spend a day, keep­ing fit and breath­ing in some fresh air close to the cen­tre of Manch­ester.

Then later in the day you can wan­der around the re­cently-laid paths and watch bats swoop­ing in for food as night fades.

If you want to do your own thing for bats you can plant lots of lovely night-scented plants, like hon­ey­suckle. This will at­tract in­sects and bats will fly in to en­joy their din­ner – or tea if you live in north Manch­ester.

To sup­port the work of the Wildlife Trust for Lan­cashire, Manch­ester and North Mersey­side, text WILD09 with the amount you want to do­nate to 70070. To be­come a mem­ber of the trust, go to the web­site at www. lanc­ or call 01772 324129. For more in­for­ma­tion about Cheshire Wildlife Trust, call 01948 820728 or go to cheshirewil­dlifetrust.

●● Two tiny bats

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