Bat detectivies

Share this article

We've teamed up with North West Kent Countryside Partnership and our Nature Forum to find out which species of bats call Thamesmead home.

A couple of days in advance of International Bat Night (which is on the 27 August), we met at Tump 53 nature reserve for a bat walk led by North West Kent Countryside Partnership. 

In true detective style, everyone was given a 'bat detector', which is a device which translates bat’s ultra-sonic calls into lower frequency sounds that we can hear. Using our 'bat detector' devices our walk leader, Lucy, was able to identify different species of bats by the frequency of their calls and then the group was able to ‘tune in’ to the bats on their devices.

The bats were a little shy - it took a little while for them to come out after the sun had set. The group walked around the nature reserve while learning about bats, their habitats and how to use the detectors. Then the bats came out and the group watched them flying over the pond at the entrance to the reserve, and listened to their calls through the bat detectors.

As it grew darker, we left Tump 53 to explore the surrounding area. We took a short walk to a nearby hotspot of bat activity where the bats were visible as they flew in and out of pools of light, cast by streetlamps and attracting small insects for the bats to feed on.

As we made our way back to Tump 53, we came across four different species of bat- the Noctule, the Common Pipistrelle, the Soprano Pipistrelle and the Nathusius’ Pipistrelle. 

We will be holding future bat detective walks to find out if we have other species of bats in Thamesmead. Please keep an eye on our 'What's on' section for upcoming walks. We hope to see you there!