18.6.09

Moth Trapping (continued)

Lake

…So, as I was saying, on Monday night about 10pm Josh and I headed out to do some moth trapping. Josh got the trap for his 21st birthday and up until now we haven’t had much chance to use it.


Moth Trapping


For the uninitiated, a moth trap consists of a UV emitting light which attracts moths (scientists are still debating the reason for this) into a funnel from which they can’t escape. You can then record them at your leisure before letting them go unharmed.


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Josh quickly got to work setting up the trap, while I – as his glamorous assistant – sat and watched, eating crisps, drinking tea and trying to convince myself that I wasn’t getting freaked out by sitting in a dark wood in the middle of the night.


However, lets be honest, I have a completely overactive imagination and could see axe murderers or marauding forest monsters around every corner.


Awful picture of the moth trap


And so we waited for moths to arrive…and we waited…and we waited. I was getting bored and as a result the axe murders and monsters were increasing by the minute.


In the end we gave it up as a bad job and headed back to the car. While we were packing the stuff away we saw a few bats flitting around our heads and stopped to watch them. However, we soon realised that there weren’t a few bats flying around. They were everywhere. Hundreds of dark shapes flapping around our heads. The air was reverberating with their wing beats.



It was obvious that we were near a roost and soon located it in the roof of a nearby building.

[caption id="attachment_918" align="aligncenter" width="455" caption="There are at least 6 in this picture..."]There are at least 6 in this picture...[/caption]

We later found out that this is one of the biggest bat colonies in Wales, but we had discovered it all by ourselves and at the moment we were all alone, in the middle of the night, having one of the best wildlife experiences of our lives.

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We sat there with our torch on ‘fog mode’ (it seemed to disturb the bats the least) and watched as hundreds of flitting shapes materialised in our torch beam. Occasionally one would land on the wall and climb up into the roof, and then we would get a really good view.

Compared to other mammal species, we know very little about bats, but we think that these bats are Soprano Pipistrelles. Can anyone confirm or correct this please?

Such an amazing find, we will definitely be going back. Just ironic that we chose that area to moth trap…no wonder there were none around!

3 comments:

  1. That's pretty cool! I'm proud of you for not freaking out---bats are scary to me. I think they get a bad rep from vampire movies and what-not. I should be more open-minded!

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  2. Well Soprano Pipistrelle do prefer Riparian habitats and lakes etc over Common Pipistrelle. I am feigning intelligence, all my knowledge comes from http://www.bio.bris.ac.uk/research/bats/britishbats/.

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  3. The bat roost at the visitor centre in cwmrheidol has been monitored by North Ceredigion Bat Group for about 15 years. The bats you saw coming out were Soprano pipistrelles and have totalled over 900 bats in past years. Not so many these days but our colony counts this year were around the 400 mark. The roost is a very important maternity roost, where all the female bats give birth to, and raise, their young every summer. See the Bat Conservation Trust website for more info on bats. Also check our bat group blog next summer, in early June, when we arrange our annual colony counts of this roost - you're welcome to come along and learn a bit more about them if you want.

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