Bats are amazing and certainly not scary! Our Reserve Manager, Richard Spowage, manages our 700 acre reserve for wildlife, including a variety of bat species, and gives us an insight into these nocturnal and fascinating creatures…
“Here at Pensthorpe we believe we have ten species of bats, based on work carried out by the Norfolk bat survey, including possible detection of Nathusius pipistrelle which is a rare migratory bat that heads to the UK during the summer months from Europe. The Norfolk Bat Survey, run by the British Trust for Ornithology, aims to improve understanding of the distribution and activities of bats across the county. The Norfolk Bat Survey monitor 1km squares across Norfolk of which we have 3 that are monitored throughout Pensthorpe. The survey was a solus survey as part of a countrywide programme to understand the distribution of bats across Norfolk. One volunteer visited us in June 2017 to set up bat detection units to record bat calls for three consecutive days. One unit recorded 1,782 individual bat passes in one night!
With such a variety of habitats at Pensthorpe it’s no surprise, woodlands, meadows, lakes and the river Wensum offer great areas for bats to forage.
It’s easy to forget to manage the surrounding environment, to allow for optimum conditions to attract bats. It’s difficult to know what bats specifically require but we are keen to include them in our habitat management plans. These plans have to be as varied as possible, rich in flora and fauna and offering good food sources, not just for bats but other aerial predators, from birds to dragonflies as well. In some of our woodland we are now developing north to south rides which are ideal for hunting bats. Rides are straight pathways within a wood, traditionally six metres to nine metres in width, to offer an increased biodiversity within the area.
We also provide bat boxes and aim to maintain dead wood and cavities in trees wherever possible to provide more natural roosting opportunities.”
For those of you who are interested in learning more about bats and other fascinating creatures that only come out after dark, we are holding a NEW “Creatures of the night” event here at Pensthorpe at the end of August. It will offer you the chance to explore the park with Richard, after dark, and learn about the resident owls, bats and moths that call Pensthorpe home. Find out more here.
Volunteers Week is a national celebration of the hard work and dedication of volunteers across the UK. This year, Volunteers Week takes place from 1-7 June. Volunteers make a vital contribution to our communities. They work in a wide range of settings, from schools and hospitals to charities and community groups. They give their time,… Read more »
World Curlew Day is a global awareness day that celebrates the curlew, a large wading bird that is found in many parts of the world. The day is held on April 21st, which is the feast day of Saint Beuno, the patron saint of curlews. Curlews are beautiful and iconic birds. They are known for… Read more »
This February the decision was made to catch our flock of 56 greater flamingos at Pensthorpe. One of our two year old chicks had a lump on his head that we wanted the vet to check out and we decided it would be an excellent opportunity to catch the whole flock to give them all… Read more »