Haslemere Natural History Society

Providing a focus for enthusiastic naturalists of all ages

Bats at Frensham Little Pond (National Trust)

Date: 28 August 2021
Field Meeting

Leader: Martyn Phillis (HNHS Member)
Weather conditions were very promising at the start of our walk. A warm, still evening with 90% cloud cover was ideal to bring out the insects, and following them, the bats.
Soprano pipistrelles Pipistrellus pygmaeus were the first to emerge, shortly after sunset. High amongst the tall conifers, north-west of the pond, they flitted about, silhouetted against the sky, above the bat boxes funded by HNHS a few years ago.
Near the south-west corner of the pond, the distinctive call of a large noctule bat Nyctalus noctula was picked up faintly on the bat detectors. Shortly afterwards, one appeared above us, hawking for large flying beetles and moths. Its distinctive ‘chip-chop’ call could be heard clearly on our detectors as it swooped about at high speed.
We were soon surrounded by soprano pipistrelles, flashing past very close, just above our heads. Our bat detectors rattled loudly as they gobbled up the midges homing in on our group.
Common pipistrelles Pipistrellus pipistrellus first appeared on the east side of the pond, at one point taking advantage of our midge cloud in the same way that sopranos had earlier.
To finish, we watched a splendid display of Daubenton’s bats Myotis daubentonii skimming the water in front of us at the dam, plucking their insect food from the surface of the pond.
Then a final surprise as we reached the car park – a large serotine bat Eptesicus serotinus passed unseen above us a few times, its calls clear on the detectors. It will have been catching flying beetles emerging from the mature pine trees.

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