Bog bats and earwigs

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A soprano pipistrelle from one of the Flanders boxes.

Flanders Moss NNR

Flanders Moss is a great place for insects, supporting a huge population of a whole load of species (including midges)! And this attracts things that eat them, one of which is bats. But though there is plenty of food for bats there are few places for them to roost. usually they need big old trees that are hollow or have cracks but most of the trees at Flanders are too young. So to give the bats a helping hand we have put up boxes to allow them to live next to their food supply. The first lot of boxes have been up for a couple of years and we checked one for Chris Packham’s visit in July. So last week we checked the rest to see how many have been used and also put up some more.

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There are 9 boxes up in the woods along the edge of the moss and attached to the viewing tower and we put up another 5 including one big extra spacious box.

To check bat boxes you must be trained and have a licence so experts Eilidh McNab from the Central Scotland bat group and Lis Ferrell from the Bat Conservation Trust came out to do ours. I was just the labour carrying equipment.

 

Of the 9 boxes already up we found signs of bat activity (i.e. piles of poo) in all the boxes and counted 12 bats. All these bats were pipistrelles, and a couple were taken out on the boxes by Lis and Eilidh to identify them as soprano pipistrelles.

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One way of identifying the different pipistrelle species is to look at the vein pattern in the wing.

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3 Pips in one of the boxes.

What was interesting was that as well as bat poo there were also 2 birds nests, probably tit nests and it is possible for both tits and bats to share a box at the same time. There were also about a million earwigs so some boxes seemed a bit crowded!

 

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One of the birds nests removed from the bat box.

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New boxes to go up at Flanders.

For more information about the Bat Conservation Trust in Scotland go  here  

And for a link to the Central Scotland Bat Group facebook page – more info here

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