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Barbies in Beds

Natural history takes you to some strange places. I spent several hours underground on Saturday, carrying out licenced monitoring of bats in various hibernacula in Bedfordshire with Bob Cornes and members of the Beds Bat Group. Our first site, an old icehouse, had no bats on this occasion but two Buttoned Snouts were hibernating on the walls – a new moth for me and the first hibernation record of this species for Beds (VC30).

Buttoned Snout hibernating in an icehouse

We saw a few hibernating Heralds during the day too.

Herald in hibernation

We found five species of bat, a typical result for these sites. Two Pipistrelle sp. which I didn’t photograph, numerous Natterer’s Bats, several Daubenton’s Bats and Brown Long-eared Bats and, best of all, Barbastelle. I think there were 6 Barbies in total, a new bat for me. About 90 individual bats in total!

Daubenton's Bat, typically well-concealed.

Natterer's Bat, sleeping hammock-fashion!

Brown Long-eared Bat: my favourite photo of the day.

Barbastelle: it's unusual for them to hang free on the ceiling like this. Which is a shame as they look really cool - I like the shadow too.

Barbastelle: note the ears touching in the middle of the head, a diagnostic feature of this species.

Barbastelle, showing the peculiar and distinctive semicircular flap of skin protruding from just behind the outer margin of the ear.

Many thanks to Bob for the opportunity to see these bats, and to Andy and Melissa Banthorpe for identifying Buttoned Snout from the photo.


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