Today we teamed up with Mark Wardle, the Head Ranger at the National Trust in Slindon, to put up thirty bat boxes in Slindon woods which is home to a barbastelle colony that is subject to an ongoing study. The study has so far identified a number of maternity roost trees in the area, as well as key flight lines and foraging areas within the surrounding landscape.
The bat boxes have been put up in order to increase roost provision for this colony and in addition facilitate monitoring via box checking. The design of the boxes is such that a licensed bat ecologist is able to check them from the ground using just a high powered torch (and binoculars where applicable) for presence, and to identify most species without having to use ladders or remove bats from the boxes. This ensures that checking the boxes causes minimal disturbance.
The boxes were erected in clusters to facilitate checking in a logical manner, and placed in areas known to be used by the maternity groups within the woods. The farthest distance between two maternity trees confirmed to be used by this colony was just over 1.3km.
Below is a short video of Sean putting up one of the boxes, which is hosted on our new YouTube account. Keep an eye out and subscribe as we’ll be adding more interesting video content to our channel including Alcathoe, barbastelle, and Bechstein’s emergence videos.