This last month we’ve been going batty over bats, who we’ve discovered really like Marple’s rich history - almost as much as we do!
Russ Hedley ran a bat walk for us, where we walked down the Peak Forest Canal, looking at and listening to all kinds of crepuscular wildlife. Russ shared some fascinating bat facts: did you know there are 18 species of bat in the UK, and that the most commonly seen one up here in the North West is the common pipistrelle, which can eat over 3000 insects every night?!
When we reached Marple Aqueduct we were introduced to bat detectors, which are small black boxes which turn the bats’ high frequency echolocation into noises humans can hear! You just turn the dial to the frequency of the bat, and you can hear something like this!
We also heard soprano pipistrelles. Any guesses for why it's called a soprano pipistrelle? That's right! It echolocates at a higher frequency.
We’ve also been working with a Canal and River Trust ecologist to survey Samuel Oldknow’s Marple Lime Kilns to see if there are any bats roosting there. It’s important to know this before we do any work, as bats are a protected species. Volunteers joined us on three evenings in August to watch the Kilns to see if any bats emerged. We had hand-held detectors and others fixed in trees to pick up any sounds the bats happen to make.
We didn’t see any bats emerging from the Kilns, but we did see (and hear!) lots flying around eating insects!