Residents from Aldingbourne and beyond spent Thursday and Friday night getting up close and personal with bats in the Parish.
Almost 50 people, including several children, took part in two special ‘bat discovery walks’ organised by Aldingbourne Parish Council. With the aid of electronic detectors, residents managed to find five different species of bat including Brown Long-Eared, Noctules and Daubenton’s, as well as the more common Pipistrelles and Soprano Pipistrelles.
The walks were led by Sussex naturalist Michael Blencowe, who also gave a talk in Aldingbourne parish church at the start of each evening about bats and their behaviour – in which he revealed that genetically speaking, the closest relative of the bat is the horse! Michael also explained how useful the bat’s diet is to us all, with a single pipistrelle able catch 3,000 mosquitoes in a night.
Previous official surveys for the Parish Council have revealed seven different species present locally, including the rarer Barbastelle bat.
Parish Councillor Katherine Jarman, who organised the walks, said:
“It was great to see people’s excitement when their detectors suddenly started picking up the bats’ calls as they started to come out for the night! We also managed to see large numbers of bats swooping down to the mill-pond to catch insects.
“We are very grateful to Father Paul Armstead for giving us permission to hold the talks inside the beautiful St Mary’s Church Aldingbourne, and to churchwarden Julian Buxton for all his help. Special thanks too to Michael Blencowe for leading the walks and for his fascinating talks.
“We hope to organise more bat events in the future”.