Just a short post this morning to mention a succesful Bat Night at Compton Verney. The event was organised by the in-house Learning Team and was fully booked for an engaging early evening presentation, followed by a grounds walk to locate bats.
The evening was led by Sean Neill who represents both Warwickshire Bat Group and the Bat Conservation Trust. Sean talked and displayed images of the many bats to be found throughout the world, including the surprisingly large ‘Flying Fox’, and the gasp inducing ‘Vampire Bat’, both of which enjoy much warmer climes than our own.
Much attention was given to the eighteen species of bat to be found in the UK, and particularly to those types most likely to be found on site. The most prominent species at Compton Verney are Pipistrelle’s and Daubentons, but we’ve also recorded Noctule, Long Eared and Lesser Horseshoe bats on occasion – it’s a little known fact that whilst gallery and learning centre spaces are kept clean and tidy, loft spaces above are preserved as roost sites for bats. Provision was made during the restoration of the buildings, including the addition of specially constructed bat entrances to the loft spaces, which were also sealed off from general access.
During our bat night, as the hot chocolate and information was consumed, the light outside faded, at which point we zipped up our jackets and headed out to track down some bats. Naturally, being wild mammals we couldn’t guarantee the bats would turn up on time. It turned out to be quite a challenge; the lower temperatures being a strong influence.
We were in the end succesful, at least in picking up some echo location ‘pips’ on the many bat detectors, but these were only to be found sporadically as the odd brave bat flew past in search of food. On a warmer night we would normally expect more of a visual treat from low flying Daubenton bats as they skim over the lake surface, and aerobatics from Pipistrelles as they swoop up around the Yew trees.
The evening was, as usual a rare occasion for our visitors to visit the grounds during the evening, and once we entered the darker ice house coppice, which was more protected from the easterly breeze, we enjoyed the star peppered sky and calm atmosphere at the lakeside. As one responsible for the grounds, I certainly love the opportunity to ‘open’ up the grounds in this way, and I hope the visitors who braved the chilly evening also enjoyed a generally unseen part of Compton Verney.
Many thanks to all who showed and continue to show their support for Learning and the Grounds at Compton Verney. ( Don’t forget you can get in touch via Twitter @ComptonVerney #CVGrounds )