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Welcome to the Orkney Bat Group
Orkney Bat Group was born in early in 2011 as a sub-group of Orkney Field Club. Bats have been seen in the county for a very long time and recorded by the county recorder Chris Booth. In recent years more folk have acquired bat detectors and have discovered more areas where bats are active and also located a few very small roosts. We are now a co-ordinated group under the guidance of Orkney Field Club and have an organised Bat-watch every week through the summer, run training events and do as much as we can to raise awareness of all things batty in Orkney.
Batting is very much a team effort and we have a very keen and effective group of batters in the county. The added bonus are the splendid Orcadian nights...so short in the summer with incredible sunsets and shortly after...sunrises.... also the clear star-lit skies and unannounced aurora borealis. No bats...no problem...stargazing takes over...plus the night-time bird activity, bark of an otter...and don't mention the CATS!!!!
The colonies we have located so far are very small, the largest only having about 12 bats in it, which makes finding bats extremely difficult....emergence is over very quickly. We rely very much on the observations of the landowners and general public to indicate where bats occur in the isles. Very little is known about the bats in the Northern Isles so every tit-bit of information is valuable, so do let us know if you think you have seen any bats in the county.
We record and analyse the bat calls which helps with the identification of species and gives some idea of what activity they are up to, whether it be feeding, breeding or just having a general chat about life!!
Its a hard life if you are a bat in Orkney on the Altantic fringes of the UK.. The summers are short and light. The climate is windy and wet although the winters can be mild. This makes heavy demands on a bat to survive and breed so they have to be tough! This is probably why our bats occur in such small numbers and why they are especially precious..
The most commonly recorded bat in the county is the 45 Pipistrelle although we have found Nathusius in the autumn and spring. Other species have been recorded on an irregular basis.
The Orkney Field Club have funded the purchase of two spare detectors which have been indispensible this year on our many bat-watches.
Top: Anne Youngman leads a bat-watch in Firth with members of Orkney Bat-Group and Orkney Field Club.
Members of Orkney Bat Group are entertained by lekking bats on a delightful October evening....grunting bats and squealing ladies....