Worcestershire Record No. 22 April 2007 p. 24


Garth Lowe

During the very warm sunny weather in April 2007, I was doing the weekly butterfly transect walk through the Knapp Reserve, when I met two friends who calmly announced they had seen a brown long eared bat flying in some trees in a corner of Papermill Meadow. They had watched it with binoculars and seen the very long ears that make this bat one of the most distinguishable ones that we have. This was around midday, and after the usual chat about what we had seen we parted and I continued with my walk and totally forgot about the bat.

I paused in the first open area at the bottom of the track down from the end meadow, to count the butterflies that are often present ini this very warm spot, and after ticking off brimstone, peacock, orange tip and green veined white, I happened to look up at a large ash tree near the brook. To my surprise there was a small brown object fluttering around the unopened buds. It was easily picked up with the binoculars and observed flying for about a minute before coming to rest on a branch. After a short rest it set off again doing the same thing, but it did eventually come to rest for a longer stay on an alder trunk just above an old woodpecker hole. This I thought could have been a roosting site, but no, it did fly again over the track and settled again on the trunk of a small wyche elm. The fluttering mode of this bat is typical as it spends much of its time gleaning insects from leaves. Part of this time it was watched by other visitors, including a family party, who happened to be passing, so I let them see it with my own binoculars as being something very very unusual. They too were able to see its long ears quite easily, and recognise it as a small bat.

This must have taken a quarter of an hour, and it was quite puzzling what the bat was up to, and why was it making itself so vulnerable to predation. Normally when something like this happens it is because mere have been some very bad nights for feeding and they are forced out in daylight to find food, or sometimes they come out in hot conditions to drink. As neither of these conditions had happened, the only conclusion was that unfortunately this bat was ill in some way to be acting in a fashion so opposite to their normal activities.

There was full sun during the whole time, the temperature was around 24C and the time was about 1 30 pm. I can only assume this was the same bat, as two doing this strange activity would start to make nonsense of all we know about bats!

WBRC Home Worcs Record Listing by Issue Worcs Record Listing by Subject