2012 is the United Nations’ Year of the Bat, and with the new Batman film hitting the big screen this week, now is a perfect time to explore the fascinating world of these nocturnal flying mammals.
Night-time bat walks are back at WWT London Wetland Centre giving you the chance to head out on to the nature reserve after dark, equipped with a bat detector, to see (and hear) what’s swooping around over the lakes and marsh.
London Wetland Centre works closely with the Bat Conservation Trust, and this year they have teamed up to install an Anabat bat detector on site. This monitors bat activity throughout the night and makes a recording each time it picks up bats’ ultrasonic calls.
The detector has revealed that there is continuous bat activity from dusk to dawn at the London Wetland Centre and on the best nights over 1,000 sequences call sequences have been recorded. This is likely to reflect the quality of the habitat at the site, supporting vast numbers of insects that are so important for bats and other wildlife. The Anabat will be left in place for at least a year in order to collect more information on activity patterns of the seven bat species that occur at the site, with a particular focus on one species, the nationally rare Nathusius’ pipistrelle.
London Wetland Centre’s Reserve Manager Adam Salmon said, “We regularly carry out bat surveys here and the activity detector confirms the data we have collected over the years, proving how important these wetlands are for London’s bats. It is wonderful to have the opportunity to show visitors the bats hunting during our summer evening bat walks so that they can also appreciate this natural spectacle.”
London Wetland Centre’s bat walks run every Thursday from 19 July until 20 September, except 16 August, when the walk moves to Friday 17 for the Centre’s late night opening. The walks cost £10 and times vary with sunset. To find out more and book your place call 020 8409 4400.
Find out more about WWT London Wetland Centre at: www.wwt.org.uk/london
Bat Conservation Trust http://www.bats.org.uk
Year of the Bat http://www.yearofthebat.org