Listen out for bats in flight
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. lancswt.org.uk or call 01772 324129. For more information about Cheshire Wildlife Trust, call 01948 820728 or go to cheshirewildlifetrust. org.uk.
●● Two tiny bats