29 Mar 2020

27 Mar 20 - My Neighbour, But Who Are You? #BWKM0

Having lived in my Dorset house since 1996, I first saw today's subject within a few days of moving into the house. I've just seen it again & I still don't know its name. It's last light & I've just looked out of the window & seen my neighbour again. Erratically at dusk, I see small Bats flying over the front & back gardens, especially on the dry, warmer evenings. When I first moved in to the house, I assumed they were Pipistrelle Bats, which are the small, common Bat species at the time. But knowing there were other small Bats, I left them in my notes as small Bat sp. Then a few years later, I discovered that there were three species of Pipistrelle Bat: Common, Soprano & Nathusius'. The first two species are widespread & considered common & the latter species is scarce. I know all three species occur at Studland, as I was lucky to bump into a Bat survey team in Sept 18 who had permission to catch & ring Bats that evening as part of a wider study into Bat movements in Dorset. They were good enough to allow me to stick around for the evening.
Common Pipistrelle Bat: Studland (13 Sep 18)
My assumption is my local small Bats are probably either Common Pipistrelle Bats or Soprano Pipistrelle Bats, but I don't know which species or possibly both species occur. One of these years, I will probably either buy, or try borrowing, a Bat detector to try figuring out my local species.
Soprano Pipistrelle Bat: Studland (13 Sep 18)
The photos aren't great, but all I had was my iPhone camera which was pretty old then & is even older now. The ringers were using torchlight to process them, and clearly it wouldn't have been acceptable to use flash to try to get a better photo. The features in the hand are pretty subtle, but the identification is much easier with a Bat detector as Common Pipistrelle Bats call at 45 kHz compared to 55 kHz for Soprano Pipistrelle Bats. I presume Nathusius' Pipistrelle Bats & Whiskered Bats (which we also saw that evening) call at different frequencies & perhaps my local habitat will rule those species out.
Nathusius' Pipistrelle Bat: Studland (13 Sep 18)
Whiskered Bat: Studland (13 Sep 18)
One of these years it would be good to spent some time trying to look at my local & other Dorset Bats species & learn more about their identification & preferred habitats. But it's still be on the To Do list.

Check tomorrow to see the next day's wildlife sighting at when I will be confined at #BWKM0.