Saturday, 28 November 2020

What's flying in Old Buckenham

Bats of Old Buckenham
In July 2018 a bat survey was conducted in Old Buckenham. Three survey sites were chosen: Rod Alley pond, Ottomer pond and the Pound opposite the Almshouses. This was part of a wider British Trust of Ornithology study monitoring Norfolk’s bat populations since 2013. The Norfolk Bat Survey aims to improve our understanding of these elusive creatures and promote the conservation of the only freely flying mammals in existence. 

Passive acoustic monitoring equipment was used to detect the high frequency clicks emitted by bats (often beyond the frequency audible to the human ear), and the surveys provided interesting results. One night of recording was completed per site, with 1,514 sonograms (graphs representing the patterns of sound, unique to each bat species) recorded in total. These confirmed at least nine distinct species, representing half of the UK’s bat species. This included one western barbastelle bat (Barbastella barbastellus), classified as Near Threatened globally and Vulnerable to extinction within Europe with numbers decreasing according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
The Ottomer pond survey showed 1,323 individual sonograms and conclusive evidence of eight bat species, just days before several diseased ash trees were removed. Many of these bat species depend on trees for roosting and feeding, so plans to plant additional trees on the village green will help these local populations. Fresh water in the village ponds and surrounding gardens and ditches, long grasses on the Green supporting insect populations (essential food sources for bats between spring to autumn), and plenty of tree cover all provide suitable habitat for these creatures to thrive in Old Buckenham. It will be interesting to repeat the surveys next year and see which species can be found. If you would be interested in taking part in a possible future survey then please contact Steve via his email address
Bat species detected in Old Buckenham on the nights of Wednesday 11, Thursday 12 and Friday 13 July 2018 were:
Western barbastelle (Barbastella barbastellus)
Brown long-eared (Plecotus auritus)
Common pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus)
Daubenton’s (Myotis daubentonii)
Nathusius’ pipistrelle (Pipistrellus nathusii)
Natterer’s (Myotis nattereri)
Noctule (Nyctalus noctula)
Serotine (Eptesicus serotinus)
Soprano pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pygmaeus)

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