Bat detectors used by association members

An enthusiastic group of Otter Valley Association members went bat watching one night earlier this month.

An enthusiastic group of Otter Valley Association members went bat watching one night earlier this month. There are 17 species of bat in the UK, but not all are to be found in East Devon. Bats' nocturnal habits mean they are best seen at dusk, when they come out to catch insects. Before setting out, members of the party were able to have the rare experience of seeing a pipistrelle and a daubenton's bat at close quarters, and to learn about bat habits and habitats. Bats communicate using high frequency calls, which are beyond the range of human hearing. This is called echolocation and, by using a bat detector, which picks up the sound, group members got electronic warning of the presence of bats, which made spotting them much easier. Different bat species echolocate at different frequencies, so it was possible to detect the type of bat present. Walking along country paths, listening to bat calls and watching their sweeping flight, made for a magical evening. The group thanked Pete Youngman, of the East Devon AONB team, for putting them in touch with a bat expert and bringing along the bat detectors.