I’m really glad the gulls didn’t get me because I wanted to see some bats – Greater Horseshoe Bats (GHBs).
Going down to Devon was definitely a ‘family’ thing, not a ‘work’ thing, or a ‘birds’ thing, and so I hadn’t really thought about the wildlife aspects of the visit – except the killer gulls of course.
But the book by James Lowen about 52 wildlife weekends which I reviewed for British Wildlife quite a long time ago (I liked it) told me that I was very lucky to be at peak bat time in Devon.
After seeing Kingfisher and Dipper from the pub by the River Dart, the Abbey Inn (quite nice), we went to Buckfast Church and the GHBs were pouring down the hedgerow, and across the open gateway, in front of us. I know a bit about bats – but not that much – and I would have known that these were biggish bats but they just whizzed past in the gloom so it was a bit difficult to tell. Luckily, although luck had nothing to do with it, we had a bat detector.
If you are used to the ‘clippety-clop’ sound of Pipistrelles on the bat detector then the notes, at c80kHZ, of GHBs were sweet music to the ears. It’s a lovely noise.
It was fun. I’ve never seen GHBs before, and I have always wanted to. And now I have – and it was memorable.
There is a good website where you can see the bats, live (or recorded) in their roost – and there are lots of babies at the moment so it’s quite interesting. And it will give you lots of interesting information about the bats too.