On 23 August, several of the RSK ecology team ran a bat walk at Upton House, Warwickshire, UK, for members of the public. The team included Tom Coyne (RSK), Alice Clarke (Atkins), Patrick Dixon (RSK) and me – Sophie Evans (RSK). The event coincided with International Bat Night: an annual celebration of bats! In the UK, bat enthusiasts hold events for people to engage with bats through guided walks, fun days and other events with the aim of getting people to see and hear bats.
Our bat walk was held at Upton House, a late 17th century house and estate. Its beautiful walled gardens, herb borders and a lake known as the mirror pool provide perfect habitats for lots of insects for bats to feed on. The house also offers roosting places in the form of slipped tiles, gaps in lead roofs and loft spaces.
The evening began with an informative talk about bat species, ecology and habitats led by Tom. Alice had brought in two rescued pipistrelle bat that are being rehabilitated after being attacked by cats. The public were amazed at how small the bats were and excited to see some in flight.
The walk began at about 19:30, when bat detectors were handed out and we headed down toward the lake. It was a busy night for bats: common pipistrelle, noctule, Leisler’s and Daubenton’s bats were all recorded on multiple occasions. At 22:30, the walk ended. We received some great feedback from participants. All the funds raised through ticket sales went directly to the National Trust.