Summer Bat Count at Parc Slip!

208 bats were counted leaving the roost!

Soprano Pipistrelle Bat by Amy Lewis

Soprano Pipistrelle Bat by Amy Lewis

Have you ever visited the Parc Slip office wondered why the conference room smells so weird or the building fascia looks so tired and needing replacement or a good lick of paint?

Well here is the answer, for a number of years the office has been home to a maternity roost of Soprano Pipistrelle bats (Pipistrellus pygmaeus). The soprano pipistrelle is small, with brown fur, black wings and a black face. Not to be confused with the common pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus). They are almost identical in appearance, but the soprano is slightly smaller. The most reliable way to distinguish the species is by the frequency of their echolocation calls.

In the springtime females will form colonies and a single pup is usually born during June or July. The young can fly after around four weeks and forage independently after six weeks. A good tell-tale sign that they have returned in the pile of bat poo on the windowsill!!!

For at least the last 3 years we have been monitoring the female adult numbers in the roost, by physically counting them when they emerge at dusk to feed. So, on a damp evening this June we took the chance and over a period of an hour, our socially distanced, survey team counted 208 bats leaving the roost that evening. The good news is that the numbers have been consistent year on year, even after our strange winter weather of late.

The short video shows the bats having a good chat before emerging, making plans shall we / shan’t we and telling their pups the rules for staying home alone, so turn the sound up. Then short footage of the adults emerging for their night-time feeding session, they are come out fast so you may have to play it a couple of time and don’t blink!

Watch the video here!

Remember bat roosts, all bat species, their breeding sites and resting places are fully protected by law so should not be disturbed in anyway.

Catherine Lewis
Wildlife Education Officer