We've had moths, we've had nightjars - now it's the turn of that other Summer-night attraction - bats. These can be regarded as an 'indicator species' whose presence, absence, or relative well-being in a given environment is a sign of the overall health of its ecosystem.
So it is really exciting that recordings near the river at Peter Shallcross's Wallmead Farm have detected an astounding so very encouraging number of these creatures.
We often see them if we're outside at dusk, flying apparently silently above our gardens and streets - but it's a privilege for the under-30s that they can hear them as well: one of the first proofs of advancing years is not being able to any more.
To many of us they're a bit of a mystery - as the Wikipaedia entry says, 'the only mammals capable of true and sustained flight'. And until recently, counting them could pretty well only be done in their roosts in caves or ruined stone buildings - and sometimes where they're less welcome, such as one of Salisbury Cathedral's porches!
But now, ‘Bat detectors’ have revolutionised what we know about the distribution of different species, where they feed and what they get up to.
For the batophiles, there's a more details of the report by Gareth Harris, the Wiltshire Mammal Recorder, on the recordings, at MoreNews.
Photo: Barn owl
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