News – Page 6
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Harry Shotton 1930 – 2020
Revisions to Opening Hours of Woodborough Governors’ Field
Much to the relief of children, parents and grandparents, the Parish Council re-opened the Governors’ Field on 24th July but with access restricted to 12am to 6pm Monday to Sunday. Due to the COVID-19 situation and the Government guidelines on re-opening of play areas, it was necessary to allow time for our volunteers to clean down the play equipment before opening each day, as well as weekly safety inspections and ground maintenance by the Parish Council.
Although all these activities are continuing, the parish council has decided that from Monday 24th August we can open from 10am to 6pm all week. Special thanks to our volunteers for making this possible.
Common Pipistrelle Bat
Photo by Anatoliy Ozernoy
Go Batty for Bats
Thanks to horror movies, myths and misconceptions about bats over the years, these fascinating creatures have not had a particularly good press. So, let’s gets a few facts straight.
- Bats are flying mice! This is false because bats belong to a different order of animals. They belong to the order of Chiroptera whereas rats and mice belong to the order of Rodentia. Unlike rodents, bats do not bite or chew wires or wood.
- “As blind as a bat” is a well-known saying but it is false. Actually, bats can see quite well but their hearing is much stronger so it uses echolocation to find its food rather than eyesight.
- They get caught in people’s hair. No, they do not tangle themselves in people’s hair. This is just an old wives tale.
- Not exactly a myth but strangely, bats are always depicted at Halloween. Bats are usually going in to hibernation around that time of year so there wouldn’t normally be many around then.
- They suck blood. Out of 1,400 species of bats throughout the world, only three species feed off blood and they do not inhabit the British Isles. British bats only eat insects.
So, you see, there are many myths about these enigmatic creatures of the night.
In the UK there are eighteen species of bats and twelve of these may be found in Nottinghamshire. The species you are most likely to see in your garden are Pipistrelles and of these there are two types – the Common Pipistrelle and the Soprano Pipistrelle. They are a similar size and are most commonly identified by their calls through a bat detector.
September is the mating season for bats and at this time of year they are also building up their fat reserves in readiness for the winter months ahead. Mating may continue through to October. They will then find a roosting site for hibernating. The female has the ability to retain her mate’s sperm until the spring. When females come out of hibernation around April, the pregnant ones will start forming maternity colonies which will be at a different site to the hibernating one. The usual places for the maternity colonies are trees or buildings but a warm dry loft also makes an ideal site. Males will roost on their own or in small groups.
In June the female gives birth to a single baby or ‘pup.’ During the first four to five weeks she will feed the pup with her own milk. Towards the end of July, the pups will start to venture out and learn how to feed themselves. It is about this time that they are sometimes found on the ground. If you find one in this situation, you should place them, while wearing gloves, in a ventilated box, a shoe box is ideal. Put an old tea towel inside so the bat can hide. You can also put just a few drops of water in a milk bottle top for it. You must then ring the National Bat Hotline* for further advice. During the summer months they are extremely busy so keep on trying. If you are unable to contact them, take the bat to a veterinary surgery.
Recently such a situation arose in the village. A resident found a grounded bat in her garden. She placed the bat in a box and called the bat line for advice. Someone came out that day and took the bat away to check it out and ensure it was not dehydrated. Fortunately the bat was in a healthy condition and the bat carer returned that evening to release the bat. A happy ending.
After the young are able to fly, the maternity colonies disperse and the bats will begin to look for mating roosts. Bats do not stay in the same roost through the year.
If you want to see if there are any bats flying around your house then just dim your lights and look out of the window or better still, go out in to the garden about 20 minutes past sunset. There should be no mistaking a Pipistrelle bat as they fly quite erratically between 2m to 10m above ground level. During the night they can consume three thousand insects which mainly consist of midges, flies, aquatic insects and mosquitoes. Enjoy watching bats this month before they start hibernating.
*National Bat Hotline is 0345 1300 228
Jean is a voluntary Ambassador for the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) Garden BirdWatch scheme in Nottinghamshire. If you enjoy watching birds and other wildlife in your garden, Garden BirdWatch may be perfect for you.
Presently the scheme is free to join and included will be an e-newsletter each month. Visit www.bto.org/join-gbw if you are interested.