S3E27 This week Steve is in the Lake District National Park with Ecologist and Chair of south Cumbria Bat Group Rich Flight. Rich published the findings of a study called "Bats with Altitude" in the journal British Island Bats in 2021 and he sits down with Steve to tell us about what inspired the project, what bats were found at over 500m on the mountainsides and how volunteers surveyed for bats in challenging upland conditions.
Join the conversation on social media using #BatChat:
For more bat news, head to our website https://www.bats.org.uk/
Producer: Steve Roe @SteveRoeBatMan
Cover Art: Rachel Hudson http://rachelhudsonillustration.com/
Thank you to Wildcare and Wildlife Acoustics for sponsoring the BatChat Podcast in 2022-2023.
Quote BATCHAT at the Wildcare checkout for 10% off all bat detectors!
Visit wildlifeacoustics.com to learn more.
We're running a Listener Survey
We’d really appreciate it if you could answer a few quick questions about BatChat so that we can bring you the best possible content for future series.
You can leave your answer anonymously if you'd prefer: https://forms.office.com/e/VAvudX7NFr
Please leave us a review or star rating if your podcast app allows it because it helps us to reach a wider audience so that we can spread the word about how great bats are. How to write a podcast review (and why you should).
Bats are magical but misunderstood. At BCT our vision is a world rich in wildlife where bats and people thrive together. Action to protect & conserve bats is having a positive impact on bat populations in the UK. We would not be able to continue our work to protect bats & their habitats without your contribution so if you can please donate. We need your support now more than ever: www.bats.org.uk/donate Thank you!
Hello and welcome back to series three of BatChat from the Bat Conservation Trust. Today we're in Cumbria with Rich Flight who organised a study of bats in the Lake District fells. I'm Steve Roe a BCT Trustee. And if you're a returning listener, welcome back. And if this is your first time listening to BatChat, welcome along. Episodes are released every second Wednesday from now through to the spring. And you can join the conversation online using the hashtag BatChat. that's all one word. As we meet each of the guests in this series, you'll hear stories from people working to make a difference in the world of bat conservation, people who care about individual species, people who concentrate on one particular part of bass ecology, and people who are working with bats at a landscape scale. As well as keeping up with the latest news and hearing from people in the world of bats. We hope you'll be inspired to get involved because bats need our help. In this episode, we're with one of those people who has been looking at bats at a landscape scale. Today I'm in the Lake District National Park in the north of England with the Chair of Cumbria bat group, Rich Flight who undertook a study called bats with altitude. So it's another episode and in typical Lake District fashion, it's slightly drizzling, as always is, we're in Newbie Bridge, which is South Lakes near Windermere. And I'm sat in a grassy fields with noctules chattering behind us, with Rich Flight, so Rich, can you just introduce yourself, and how did you get into bats? And what's the day job?Rich Flight:
So I'm Rich Flight. I am currently a self employed consultant ecologist so I've been doing it for 10 or so years, I think, but got into that, I suppose originally University. So I did my dissertation on Daubenton's bats, basically, because it was one of the few dissertation topics on the list would involve live animals and doing stuff with animals like ecological stuff, a lot of it was all lab based projects. So I picked that and I knew nothing about bats at the time. And kind of got into a little bit then. And but that was down south. I used to live down down south and this was at Swansea University. And then I moved up here up to Cumbria. And I wanted to get back into ecology having spent a bit of time in outdoor education. And yeah, found the background really, and got quite interested in it. And I realised that there was, I guess, there's work to be had. And now I have my own little company, which is just me, which is I love because it's judged pot around like now, you know, in the middle of the lakes, planting some trees looking for bats doing this and that and just doing little jobs in a rural setting really, but then obviously, the bat group side of things have been quite important. And I've been involved in the bat group since day one, such an initially trained for my volunteer resources to licence and I'm now the chairman of the South Cumbria bat group. So I now try and do try and do as many little projects as possible but volunteers is always a an issue. So often ends up being me going out playing about something fun just inviting random people.Steve Roe:
What's the distribution of South Lakes where which areas do you cover with that bat group then?Unknown:
Yeah, Cumbria is a difficult one, because we've got these inconvenient lumps in the middle. That will make travel very difficult. We come with quite a bit counts anyway. But getting from one side to the other is notoriously time consuming. So really Cumbria we have South Cumbria bat group, which we used to be Westmoorland and Furness, which nobody really knows where it is. So we change the name, which is essentially take the middle of the lake district, middle of mountains and go downwards and that's us. And then you got Cumberland bat group, which is the same level but go north. And then you got the West lakes, the West Cumbria, which is just the Wild West, which nobody really covers. Which is a shame. Yeah, that's lovely bats over there. But yeah, not really covered. Unfortunately, if anybody lives over West lakes and would like to get into that, then let us know and we can help you start a bat group maybe.Steve Roe:
I didn't know your dissertation was on Daubies. What do you know, what did you do?Unknown:
I did feeding ecology of of Daubenton's bats so I did the NBMP surveys, five sites around the Bradford on Avon in the Trowbridge area, and which these days now seems complete waste because I did. I was in Bradford on Avon Trowbridge, which is a haven for rare bats. And I did it on Daubies which can still find up here and now I'm in an area where I can't find horseshoes, can't find Bechstein's can't find barbastelles.Steve Roe:
So what species have you got in the lakes?Unknown:
In the lakes we have eight resident species we've got noctules common and soprano pipistrelles, brown long-eared and then we've got Natterer's whiskered Brandt's and Daubs. So we've got a couple of vagrants. So lies Leisler's and Nathusius' have been recorded in Cumbria, but as far as we know, there are no roosts. Which is weird because especially for Leisler's because you get Leislers' on the Isle of Man you get in Lancashire you get them in the borders. You get them in Yorkshire, which are all the surrounding counties and we don't seem to have them resident here and I don't know why.Steve Roe:
Such not working hard enough.Unknown:
Well, yeah, I had a conversation with John Haddow once I think at a conference dinner. And he said why I think most people would just miss missIDing them as noctules. But I intently look at every noctule recording I get just to check whether it's a Leisler's. But dunno maybe we're not looking hard enough. Maybe we just need to do projects on that instead.Steve Roe:
Have you always lived in the Lakes? I mean you said...Unknown:
no, no, no, no, I moved up here about 15 years ago. Yeah. Yeah, something like that. So now I grew up in Wiltshire, moved Dorset for a few years to work in an outdoor centre. And then after that I moved up hereSteve Roe:
to the wastelandsUnknown:
It's not wastelands it's lovely! Well, thing is I used to the outdoor centre was on a clifftop overlooking the English Channel in near Weymouth. It's like absolutely stunning. But I couldn't afford to live there. Like because we lived on site. So you don't want to move somewhere? That's not as beautiful, really. So I was like, Okay, where can we move? It's beautiful, but it's not as expensive. The North! That's not as expensive as the South, let's go north. We had some friends down the road who put us up, and we've never left, basically.Steve Roe:
So you've been pretty busy. For the last few years, you've been doing a project calledUnknown:
the paper's called bats with altitude, which was a Lisa Worledge play on words that she kept telling me I should call. So I did in the end, for the working title was bats in the fells. So then the mountains, the hills around here called fells. So it's for years, it's been called bats in the fells in my head, but yeah, the the article was called bats with altitude. So what's the project consisted of? Okay, basically, it was a speculative project, really, let's see if we can find out whether type project. So let's see if we find out whether we actually have bats in the mountains, essentially, was the was the start of it. And then anything else from fun find out from from that point. So I, you know, I'm quite into the outdoors, like, he'll walk in and climbing things at. And so I had an affinity for the mountains, and those kind of habitats originally off so I was getting more and more into bats. And I was trying to think, well, do we actually get the bats up there. We rarely are out in the mountains at night, tend to go for a walk and you come down night so you don't, don't tend to see. And so I started asking the question, and then Chloe Bellamy did her PhD are in the lakes and she's hurt. That was a What was that the habitat suitability model of the lakes. Some of the sites where she can randomly selected happened to be at the tops of mountains. And so when she was doing that, she detected a few bats. Not many, a few. And so that raised the question. Well, as a bat group, we were like, quite interested by that that was on it's very interesting, you know, because the area we technically cover but don't look at very often. So it was just an interesting find. But then I started thinking okay, right. Well, so he's found a couple of bats up there. what extent do we actually have them I think at the time I was just looking for a pet project to do and it seemed like it was good idea was any so I wanted to find out whether we had them up there. So I started off with a few little trips up there just at night, just to to sit and find them and kind of quite audaciously started off with a wasn't a proper advertised activity but I did try it locally and a couple of families decided they wanted to come along and at this point I didn't actually know if we're going to find me back so we went up into the into the hills at night complete with kids who were staying up late and we went to Stickle Tarn anybody knows that it's quite an easy route up please 550 metres up and up in the hills. And we just kind of waited and it was beautiful night it was lovely walk anyway, even if you haven't seen that, but yeah, we waited and waited and moved to Texas and we have nothing start with and somewhat down and still had nothing and I started to get really quite nervous that they said waste everyone's time and this was going to be a completely pointless project. And then as always the first bat zoom passed and we were around Stickle Tarn itself so I figured that was good too. I could focal point they might turn up. Yeah, we've got a few pips and then in the winds turned up maybe it maybe a couple can't remember two years ago now. And yeah, it was a it was a proper success. And we had we had the bat so I had my confirmation that that's where indeed up there in the mountains, but then it's question of right. Okay, how much and where and why and all the cool kind of details that you don't know.Steve Roe:
So just to explain the altitude you're working at, I know you said 550 metres there, but what sort of altitude to just start in point?Unknown:
Yes so the Lake District fails go up to about 1000 metres. Okay, so Scafell has 980 something. But the majority of them really live between probably 300 and 700 metres, I would say the majority of what your classes like the Fells. So with the project, I wanted to try and ensure that I was covering a habitat, which was unique in terms of not something that was a mountain, but surveys of people's houses and the like, would be similar habitat. So what I was basically looking for was about the tree line really, in the lake three line is around about 530 metres I think it is. So I was looking to get up there. So I decided to basically limit it to 500 metres or above. And that would mean that we potentially would get some areas that were has to have some trees around them. But actually, a lot of it would be beyond the trees, and would be quite open and barren and therefore more unique landscape. And if we found that you could say, well, they are foraging in an area which we don't normally get them in.Steve Roe:
So for people who haven't been to the lakes, what sorts of habitat is up there, that sort of altitude,Unknown:
they're actually disproportionately quite harsh environments. Being on the West Coast, we get the brunt of the weather, we get a lot of wind and rain coming in. And when you get up to that kind of altitude, it does turn to sleet and snow and hail and things like that. And so it is a really quite it's a very windy habitat, very rainy habitat and, and there's no trees. So there used to be trees, but we cut them all down to build things and do industries. And so none of our fells are treated these days. So they are windswept and arid, and there's not much vegetation either. So we've got lots of sheep as well, which keeps them vegetation down. And so there's yeah, there's they're quite barren and remote. To some extent, the beautiful, don't get me wrong, I love them. But they, you know, in terms of wildlife, they're harsh place to live. If you're going to live up there, you need to find your niche, you need to find your habitats living and when it comes to bass, I think that's quite difficult. There are cranks. So there are quite a few crags up there with crevices in them. And there are some caves, not many, there's probably more mines and caves. Because the stone isn't the kind of stone that which naturally develops caves. It's not limestone, it's granite and igneous rock. Other than that you're looking at yeah outcrops of rock with little fissures in them. So it's yeah, it's hard place for for bats to roost in. And then if they're going to fly up into them, you got to flying 45 degrees up hill, shoot to like 500 metres. And that was one of the big things about the study is to weather bats are coming from ground level, or low level and coming up to the hills or whether they're rooting up there. So if you've been going up with bat detectors all the time, or if you've been using statics to do it, yes, the statics was the way forward. So as I said, first few times I went out, I literally just went up, I went up and camped there a couple of times, and Texas with me, but it's really labour intensive and really mean obviously, just to get up there, you're looking at some locations, you're looking at an hour and a half to just walk to the location. And then either you can't there or you have to walk back down the dark. It's just logistically it's very, very difficult. So I quite quickly realised that I needed another method. And this is actually a few years ago. Now this is the server because 2016 and 2017. So it's not not that recent, actually, it's only recently I've just written out this all statics are starting to become a lot more widely used and AnaBat Expresses hadn't long been on the market. So we managed to get a grant from the lovely National Park Lake District National Park. And that meant we could go for I think we already had as a bat group, maybe two AnaBat Expresses. And I think the bat group then funded another one. And the National Park funded four I think if I remember rightly so we ended up with seven which is which was great, because that meant that a number could be deployed anytime, basically. And it was yeah, it's purely based on statics. So I was getting volunteers and so advertised with both the bat group and the bat group was quite restricted distribution. So the Cumbria Wildlife Trust fortunately helped me put out the message and a whole bunch of their members basically said, Yeah, we wouldn't be up for helping. They went out and, and put the detectors out for me. I didn't really know what to say. I kind of did that whole coordinating thing, but actually didn't go out very much on my own. I they did it for me, which was very, very useful.Steve Roe:
So how many volunteers do you reckon were involved?Rich Flight:
So we had 20 volunteers, I think in total, but as with all kinds of volunteer things, yeah, some people went a lot and some people went out hardly at all. Yeah, we had one person in particular Jane Newport who did 23 of the tetrads on her own, which, yeah, 23 different locations around the lakes to take the detective to that was, you know, and retrieve them as well is two trips, obviously. So she was very committed. So she was my star of the projectSteve Roe:
So how long are you leaving them out for at a time?Rich Flight:
What it all depends on how long, well kind of depends on how long batteries last, doesn't it? So they were left out for longer than they needed for essentially, just to make sure that she's run down. I think AnaBat Expresses is tend to last for about two weeks. I think the most we got was 20 nights out today, I think, which was pretty good. The worst we got was one, which I don't know whether the person didn't take the battery, or whether it was faulty. But yeah, I've got like half a night's worth of data and then it just dies. But yeah, ran out two weeks, probably about average.Steve Roe:
So you've got no trees at that height. So how are you securing the detectors to stop them being interfered with?Unknown:
When I first took a static up, I did strap it to the Lake District ski clubs ski-tow. That was like a structure. I can bolt it turns like they are great, that's great. But I don't realise there's not really many ski tows or anything around in the lakes that I can attach things to and secure them. So the fortunately with AnaBat expresses they are waterproof. So what we did is we just buried them essentially. So sometimes they would just be in piles of rocks. Sometimes they'd be under moss. And with literally just the microphone sticking out as as an object which is great. Because it really disguising them where to get well. You literally cannot see them unless you know where it is. Or not so good is that actually when you come back in two weeks time, you sometimes don't know where it is either. So you spend several Yeah. fraught minutes wandering around going I have lost it or something stolen it. And then you realise you look at the wrong pile of rocks. So yeah, I did give them a give my volunteers expressed. Sorry, that's theSteve Roe:
For listeners at home there is a there is a literal steam train going past us at the moment.Unknown:
If you picture the railway children, that kind of thing. This is where we are right now. We'll let it go past... Yeah. So we didn't lose any. We had one I think that developed a fault whether that was because of water got in I don't know. But they're pretty good. Me I've I've had I'm expresses that I've been flooded for 24 hours in culverts, and they still survived with a tiny dribble of water in them. So they're pretty good at being waterproof. But yeah, it was just important for them to make detailed notes as to where that was, so they could find it when it came backSteve Roe:
So how many locations did you survey and how did you decide on which mountains you were going to wander?Unknown:
I split the Lake District National Park into tetrads of three kilometre tetrads. I then highlighted all the ones that had ground above 500 metres. Okay, so we ended up with at tetrads that contained habitat that was above requisite 500 metres. And then it's just down to volunteers, this thing and when you're dealing with volunteers, you can't be too prescriptive, you've got to go with what they can achieve. So we had this online form. And we had a system where they could take the detectors to one person to another to another and then sign them out and pick with tetra, they're going to make sure that it was recorded on the online form so that if anybody else wanted to put put a texture out, they knew that that one had been used and so on. And so we're very good. We didn't have any accidental double ups. People always chose a tetrad that nobody else had looked at. And it was just down to where they could get to really so we did have a bias. The majority of our surveys were from the east of the lakes, and therefore, the Eastern fails were covered more than the Western fails, as I say, you know, the west of the countries. Yeah, a bit more remote to some extent. So, yeah, we ended up covering in total 47 sites out of the 80. And that was over two seasons, but mostly that 2016. And then we just did a little bit of extra stuff in 2017.Steve Roe:
So how many seven hours? Is that in total, then?Unknown:
Oh, that's a very good question. In terms of nights that the detectors were recording, I think it's around about 650 nights, the recording obviously out for much longer, but as I was saying the batteries died.Steve Roe:
So did A) did you get bats? and B) which were the most numerous species and what were your interesting results?Unknown:
The main crux of it was to see whether there were about and obviously I had the Inkling having been up there and found bats already that I was going to get them. So the other thing I didn't mention is that had been up to the Coniston copper mines as well in the winter, and we'd found hibernating bats up there as well. Just a couple, but you know in the men I've got that in the summer. I've got bats in the winter and so therefore uncompromised his spell. Again, it's about five six hundred metres, I think. And so I'm fairly confident we will get that. It was just a question of what when and I didn't expect to get all species because you kind of think, certain species can fly quite a long way the same species don't like to. So I didn't expect to get brown long-eared bats, for example, because it's so open no trees and such a long way from habitat that you'd expect to get them. But as it turns out, I've got every species that we get in Cumbria. So all eight of our resident species, I think we got obviously Myotis, especially when you look at zero crossing is very difficult to tell the difference. So I did record virtually all nighters as Myotis as opposed to split splitting them out. Where it was obvious, I did split them out.Steve Roe:
So that's things like Natterer's and Daubenton's.Unknown:
Yeah, but then the I was always whenever I did that, I always had that nagging doubt in my mind of, okay, so I think this is obvious. But then if you've got a species that is flying in an atypical habitat, how is that going to change its echolocation? Am I Am I actually looking at a whiskered? There's now like, sound like a Natterer's? Yes. So I was that it was only when I was really confident. Did I split that out? So that means that particularly whiskdered, Brandt's massively underrepresented? Yeah, so common pipistrelles by, by far and away with the most common which actually, for me, was a bit of a surprise. I mean, you had concepts first, then it was generic Myotis, which obviously, will be split out well could be split out if you could do into their individual species, and then soprano pips. But yeah, I was surprised and the difference between soprano and commons because you kind of think of soprano as being quite water loving bats. And there's a lot of water up in the fellas, you know, it rains a lot for start. There's a lot of streams a lot of times a lot of boggy ground. And yeah, I kind of hear I mean, those people listening down south and probably think, well, that's quite normal. But actually, here we are in that crossover territory, where common and soprano pipistrelles are equally abundant in Cumbria. So when I go and do a survey of a building, I'm just as likely to get one over the other and then think when you go to Scotland, you're more likely to get your sopranos than common. So we are at that kind of crossover point there. So to get such a big waiting for commons, showed a definite habitat preference. I'm just speculating, really, when it comes to why really no evidence to to explain it, other than competitors, maybe being more opportunistic. And maybe the because soprano pictures like water. And they are quite small watercourses that come down, maybe they're just not big enough to be a poor. Obviously, the tarns are quite, you know, can be quite sizable from in the in the hills. But ya know, it's tricky one. In terms of other species. Yeah, we say we have the Myotis. In general, we've definitely had Daubenton's put around the tiles, which you'd expect. And there are occasional Natterers', but not many, I would say and then yeah, a lot which will probably probably whiskdered and Brandt's the hibernatingt bats we had in the mines, they were whiskered/Brandt's, I think probably Brandt's, I think that's a few years back, and then just in line with Chloe's research, which again, is it's something that kind of surprised me, even when I read her stuff, is that noctules weren't very common up there. And she found that the noctules were definitely had an affinity with lowland areas, which kind of does surprise me in terms of the physiology of a noctule bat, you think, well, they're a big bat. They've got strong flight muscles, you know, they could fly against the wind, you wouldn't thought it'd be an issue. And they fly quite high. Naturally, you'd think they'd be up there. But yeah, we got a fewSteve Roe:
Natterer's is interesting, because you have the tree line in The Woodlands specialist. So yeah, find yourself is interesting, isn't it?Unknown:
Well. Yeah, absolutely. And this, therefore, kind of leads on to what they're doing there. And that became the next next question, really. So initially, it's like, Alright, let's do get that. Okay, tick. Got that. Which back to get. All right. We've got all species great tick. Done that. So then, as you say, it kind of begs the question, right? What are they doing there? Now, we're definitely had foraging. That's because they're feeding policies. And let's be honest, if they're up there for anything they've done, they're going to be foraging. But when we say before I did the study, I had found a couple of hibernating bats up in the case on the minds of them. So I wonder whether there are certain species which go up there habitually forage, for example, maybe the common pipistrelles, Daubenton's maybe because the habitat, you know, can be exploited. But whether there's some species who we only encountered when they were doing their late summer, early autumn, swarming hydration investigation kind of activity and maybe there is an element of commuting from one one area to their hydration location. Certainly round here are the main hydration site that I study is link pot and the easegill area, which is on the very border between Cumbria and Yorkshire. And it's a mall on site and it's it's not as exposed and extreme as the top of the mountains but is a barren moorland and it's just got these these limestone pots in the in the in the ground was going to like a massive cave system. And yeah, you look you look there and we get Natterer's and we get brown long-eared's and we are quite some distance from decent woodland, you get odd little scrubby trees, but not not the habitat you'd expect to get. So they obviously do have to pass across open area to get there. And so there is potential. That's what we're doing. Those few Natterer's and brown long-ered that we're encountering, maybe that's what they're doing that, whereas the common and soprano, and the Daubenton's bats potentially they are going there and more habitually foraging.Steve Roe:
So when you're saying you get in passes, how, what sort of numbers are we talking about? You get in hundreds of passes in a night or you're talking one or two passes? What's your sortRich Flight:
of? Yeah, very massively. So you'd get, you'd get whole nights where you had nothing. And you get sites where you had very little, I mean, we had whole sites, we had nothing. So we had we had bats on far more than we didn't. But there were definitely sites where we'd hadn't had nothing. We've talked about elevation before there's there were the highest bat that we recorded was 650 metres. I did have two or maybe three sites that were higher than that one, but they recorded no bats. So the highest bat record is 650 metres, which isn't, isn't ridiculously high. Obviously, the higher you get, the more barren it does get. I mean, you get the top of someone like Scafell. And it gets really sleepy and remote and horrible. So yeah, there were areas where we've got no bats at all. And then there are areas where we've got absolutely loads. And that again, led me to think about the swarming behaviour. So one of the sites where I just turned up, just loads them was kind of around a quarry, and it's in the near the copper mines again. So you've got this quarry, and then there's the mines near it. And it's just, you know, floods and floods of bats or bat calls been that way. And so yeah, potentially, we'd get 1000s of calls on one kind of survey period, basically. So it varied massively, but I think the majority were, you know, 10 calls night kind of thing,Steve Roe:
And did you find any sort of correlation between them in lots more calls and sort of sheltered areas like quarries or, or where there were areas of large amounts of vegetation compared to really windswept sites or anything like that.Unknown:
No, disappointingly, no, it was frustrating. So I did do a try to do some stats on the habitat. So I went back and I did ask for volunteers to record the habitat, but it kind of fell by the wayside. So what I ended up doing is looking at the location on like a GIS and an aerial plan, and splitting up each site or splitting up the sites into how close they were to certain features. So how close they were to footpaths, to water courses to water bodies, to Woodland to buildings. And I wanted to find some connection, but I couldn't there was no no obvious connection, which in the article I say is probably not due to there being no connection. It's probably just due to my poor stats ability put that way. Yeah. There's definitely a connection with elevation. Okay, so go above a certain height and you dropped you stopped getting that's basically there's definitely connection with temperature and rainfall. Okay, so where we had warm nights, you got more bats, we had rain, he had less bass. But that's that's all basic stuff. We know that already from, from just doing any surveys, there isn't any connection between footpaths at all. And that and that I think makes sense. Because at the time that they're out, there's nobody around. So doesn't matter whether for personal. And there definitely is a connection with water, water, because I've been to the tarns and they hang around the water. So the trouble is, I think I didn't know nobody really picked locations, slap bang on the tongues because they're too well trodden. So you during the day, you get loads on a sunny day, you will get hundreds of people going up to certain areas of the lakes and they will hang around the towns and they will go swimming in them stuff that so I think all my volunteers are a bit nervous about putting detector too close to times. So therefore you're getting bats passing from one place to Aton. And that's what you're picking up. You're not necessarily getting the time of the focal point. But I don't know, it was statistically wasn't robust. Maybe that's one of the things you need to get to get to the project. And yet well, this needs more research. This needs more research. This is more research. And from one study, you decide that actually there's another four studies that you need to do, you know, I don't know we'll see. We'll see I've I've moved on to other things. I am I'm getting involved with The students from Cumbria University at the moment, I'm helping them with their dissertations. And I've tried to push them towards it to, to answer some of the questions that I haven't answered. But I think the idea of ramping up the hills back and forth all summer didn't appeal to some of them. So yeah, one year, I'll get I'll get some sucker will agree to go up and down the hills for me.Steve Roe:
And he said, You found evidence of all the bat species do that include the two vagrant that's known as well, no, no.Unknown:
Nothing that I could say was definitely them. So certainly, certainly there's no Nathusius', because I think they would be fairly easy to, to see on the detector because because they're out in the open. They're also using a lot of low pips who's using a lot of low frequency calls. And so there'll be no reason for Nathsius' to be crossing over into common pipistrelle kind of frequency, the Leisler's I don't I still don't think so. I mean, the large bats were few and far between anyway, unless, and to be honest, around here, large bat equals noctule. So I was able to look at them with quite some detail. And I had nothing that would suggest a Leisler's to me. So yeah, again, drew a blank. I'm just not very lucky with him.Steve Roe:
So do you think the bats are roosting somewhere? And they said they're in mines and caves? Probably more associated with this type of autumny, winter time here? Or do you think they're coming from the lowlands and flying up there?Unknown:
So I think it's a bit of both, but I think it's more the latter. So one of the things I did is I compared the first bat that we had each species to the mean, emergence time of the bats, okay. So I call it m m n set the mean species emergence time. So I looked at the literature looked at what what's the average time that each species emerges? And that Okay, now, which when the first recording we get of the, the species, and the theory being, obviously, if your bats are appearing on the detectors around about their mean emergent time, then they must be resting somewhere nearby, because, you know, they've got that pretty quickly. And some species, like come on pipistrelles and Daubenton's. And I think soprano pipistrelles as well. We got them quite early on. In the in the evening. Yeah, definitely before you'd expect them to be if they're flying up from from the low level. So therefore, the assumption is, they are roosting there. Some of them are, the vast majority of them didn't move. So vast majority of of the species were there was a lag, there was a at least half an hour, maybe 40 minutes, maybe hour a lag before you got them after their mean emergence time, which therefore suggest that they're coming up from the lowland areas and and feeding up in the hills. Because, yeah, you'd assume they're probably foraging on the way they're going to take the time. That was the other thing I looked at, like, kind of the average flight speed of a bat was quite hard to find, I don't know anybody who's actually done it, I can't find you wouldn't trust had it on their website, I just believe them. But you kind of think, well, if the backs of roosting, say a kilometre away, and they're gonna just go hell forever, bat out of hell type thing. Just to get for site or they can amend feed a bit on the way you think things putting the latter so that that raises the question, why do they bother me? Is it a lot of effort to get up into the hills? If, if you've got perfectly good habitat down in the in the valleys? Why would you bother to fly all the way up into the hills to feed up there? And that was kind of like, Yeah, another bounce? Bounce off question. Again, I've only got theories about it. But there is definitely food up there. Mostly, this is a thing. Obviously animals will exploit a niche exploit to habitat if there's resources they can, they can get hold off. And so anybody has been up in the lakes, anywhere in the legs to be fair, but But up in the mountains in the evening, you get bitten you get there are insects are plenty. And so in the boggy areas, the Tom's for that there are lots of lots of insects, which therefore means there's an unexploited niche, no rats are going up there and night. If you go during the day, you will see wheatears you'll see many puppets, they're all picking off these insects during the day, but at night, who's eating them? Well, the bats if they can't reach there, they have to come up from from the low levels. So you've got this unexploited niche where, Okay, fair enough, that's fine. But then that begs the question, which one's making the effort to go there because it must still be more expensive, you know, if there's plenty of images down on lower levels, which there is because, again, anybody who's been camping in the lower levels, knows you get bitten down there as well. It begs the question, right, which backs got there and therefore, you kind of think, well, I know that I think Leeds University have done work on Daubenton's and the male bats and touch the young bats being displaced. up Valley into the less favourable areas by potentially more dominating maternity roosts, who are more keen to get off to get their food in close proximity. And the males get displaced to the less good areas by grumpy mums basically. And so maybe that's the same here, maybe we've got a situation where the males are heading up the hill, where they can exploit it because they can because they don't have to go back and feed anybody. They don't. They can be out the whole night, feeling up in the hills and then come home in the morning, and that's fine for them. But for a female feeding babies, that's not an option.Steve Roe:
Nice, Rich Flight was great speaking with you. Thank you very much.Rich Flight:
Thank you. Pleasure.Steve Roe:
And thank you so much for meeting me on that drizzly day back in the autumn. And thank you to you for listening to this episode. I hope you've enjoyed it. If you take a look at the show notes, you'll find a link to the full published study that you've just heard about in the journal British Island Bats, as well as Rich's social media links. Now, a couple of episodes ago, we launched BatChats first ever competition. children's authors, Emma Reynolds and Angela Mills have kindly donated prizes. Angela has donated a copy of Bobby the brown get signed by both Angela and Chris Packham, and Emma has donated a copy of her newly released book Amara and the bats to enter the competition to win one of these brilliant books. All you have to do is write us a review about this podcast BatChat. And the two winners will be picked at random at the end of this series. Not all podcast apps allow you to leave reviews. So if you're an Apple device user, leave us a review on the Apple podcasts app which is already installed on your device. If you're an Android user, you can leave us a review on the podcast addict app. And if you're not listening to this on a mobile device, you can write your review on the pod chaser website. instructions of how to leave your review in each of these places can be found in the show notes of this episode. Remember, we need to be able to contact you if you win. So when you leave your review, make sure you give us your twitter or instagram handle in the review. If you don't use these drop us an email to email@example.com. With a copy of your review, we're only able to post the prizes to addresses in the United Kingdom. And if you missed any of that, it's all in the show notes of this episode. I'll be back in two weeks with John Russ talking about his new book Bat Calls of Britain and Europe. And I'll leave you with a taste of what's to come in that next episode. I'll see you then.Jon Russ:
And he said what you'll be doing is you'll be putting little red flags on Orkney voles, letting them go in this enclosure and watching them all summer. And I thought I could spend all summer doing that. Let's find out what this bad one is. So I went to see Paul Racey and he was quite enthusiastic he said it'll be absolutely brilliant. You'll be a you'll be on a rubber dinghy on the river Dee and the river Don going under bridges with a torch trying to find mating bats. And I thought that sounds a bit more interesting relief than looking at Orkney Voles.