Leader: Martyn Phillis (HNHS Member and Member of Surrey & Sussex Bat Groups)
A bright, mild evening after a damp spell brought out the insects to attract our bats. Thirteen members joined Martyn and a Surrey Bat Group volunteer just before sunset.
Bat detectors were distributed amongst the group to enable everyone to hear, and perhaps identify the ultrasound calls of passing bats.
Close to the first of the HNHS funded bat boxes, we picked up our first Soprano Pipistrelles Pipistrellus pygmaeus, which were seen fluttering amongst the Scots Pines. Then the distinctive, but distant call of a Noctule bat Nyctalus noctula was picked up on the detectors.
We were treated to a wonderful display by these large bats to the southwest of the pond, where several were clearly seen, flying high and fast in the fading light. Feeding buzzes from our detectors showed they were catching flying beetles on the wing.
Moving along the south side of the pond, more pipistrelles were hunting over the water’s edge, flying just a few feet in front of us. Then an early emerging Daubenton’s bat Myotis daubentonii skimmed the water a few times, plucking its prey from the surface.
Returning along the east side of the pond, three more species were detected, one or two of them glimpsed by lamp light. Common Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus, Brown Long-eared Plecotus auritus and, unusually for this site, another large bat, the Serotine Eptesicus serotinus.
A final highlight was a juvenile Slow-worm spotted on the path by one of the group.
So, a very rewarding evening – two of our largest bat species, two of the smallest, and two medium sized.