Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Bats flying tonight

Speeding along my trimmed hedge and circling in the main open space of my garden bats were seen tonight. What a treat to capture some video of them too!

It was dusk and the pipistrelle bats were seen in various sizes. I am guessing the really tiny ones were quite young – they were almost the size of large moths. On warm evenings in the summer we have seen them out a lot but as this summer hasn’t been the best for sitting out in the evening I have missed seeing them.



Tonight’s viewpoint was from my arbour looking down the garden past my ivy and wisteria covered pergola, Acer and small pine trees toward the potting shed and greenhouse. Gosh these bats can move quickly around them! It is quite difficult to show this on a video via the internet so I altered the speed of my film by one third to enable the bats to be seen. My final film was clearer than the internet compression but it still gives you an idea of the way they fly around a garden so you might know where to look for them in your own.

If you are interested in looking for bats visiting your garden I’d say the best time would be around dusk. They are quite tricky to spot at first but once you see one in a particular area you will know where to look and then may see more there too. In no time you will notice the ‘hot spots’ for bats in your garden just as I have. Happy Bat watching!!

The video above was taken in my garden on September 3rd 2008.

26 comments:

marmee said...

very cool, we love our bat friends for all the bugs they eat. we sit and watch them but never thought about capturing them on film.

kd said...

They are fascinating and beneficial although we had a rather "bad" experience with them. Around 3 years ago, we were at the cottage, 1.5 hours north of Montreal. Around 1 or 2 in the morning I was lying half-awake when I felt something zoom past me...and again. At first I figured it was a large moth. When I turned the lights on to find out for sure, it turned out to be a bat. I trapped the bat and then released it outside. I then regretted not waking the kids to let them get a glimpse of a Real Live Bat. The next day, we returned to the city. Our neighbour, a doctor who is also interested in gardening and wildlife, was outside & I enthusiastically shared the story with her. A few hours later, I noticed two puncture marks on my neck, maybe half a centimeter apart.

Well, of course thoughts of Dracula & vampires went swarming through my mind & I phoned my neighbour, trying (unsuccessfully) to pretend I wasn't panicked and that I really was sane and reasonable. In the meantime, she'd thought about the situation, the prevalence of rabies in the area, had consulted with colleagues, and had been about ready to call me: We... all 4 of us ... had had "plausible exposure" to a bat (according to Ministry definitions -- we'd been asleep in an abode with a bat present) and therefore to rabies and, as a preventative measure, we should all get vaccinated. So all 4 of us got the rabies vaccine -- me more than the other 3 because of those 2 vampire-like puncture wounds on my neck which no-one could (would) conclusively identify as being caused by a bat. What a tale to tell! And, despite the grousing about the multiple preventative punctures (ummm, measures, ummm vaccinations, that is), I am profoundly grateful to our neighbour, her colleagues, and the Quebec Ministry of Health for taking whatever measures were necessary to ensure our safety in the light of even the most minimal threat of exposure to rabies (at that time, it was estimated that 8% of bats in the Montreal area were carriers of rabies).

An afterthought: Rabies vaccines are no longer horrifically painful injections in the area of the stomach. They're no worse than any other vaccination. Trust me -- I know :)

A second afterthought: Had we kept the bat and turned it over to the health authorities to evaluate for rabies risk, we would have possibly been spared the vaccinations depending on the findings from the bat. On the other hand, the bat would have definitely been killed in the process. Tough call.

/krys

Debbie said...

Wonderful. I enjoy seeing the bats out in the dusk or swooping around the large outside light on the garage.

easygardener said...

Thrilling - They are like mini superheroes with superspeed!

shirl said...

Hi again Debbie & easygardener and Hello marmie & krys :-D

marmie – Thanks, great to hear you enjoy seeing them too. The ‘window’ at dusk for catching them on film is a small one. It is fun trying though :-D

krys – This is indeed a story to tell! Thanks for sharing it with my post. To see bite marks on your neck the next day after a bat was seen in your room would send anyone into panic mode!! It is great to hear you had so much support. I also hear what you are saying re catching the bat too. I plan to add an update in my post later highlighting your comment -Thank-you :-D

Debbie – Thank-you, I have tried a few times to capture bats on film since I began my garden blog (two years next month). I never leave outside lights on for any length of time so I never thought of bats being attracted to lights. Now that I think about I guess the light would be like a ‘The Café is Open’ sign to bats as all the moths are attracted to the light. This would then be an easy and regular food supply. Enjoy seeing yours :-D

Easygardener– Lol – yes that is exactly what they are like!! Maybe I should leave little red cloaks out on the Arbour roof ;-D That would be a sight to see :-D

Cheryl said...

Hi Shirl....love the video.....we have had bats in our loft ever since we moved here.....seven years.....Long eared bats by the way......but this June they disappeared from the loft and the garden......any ideas??

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Wow Shirl, I haven't seen that many bats in our garden. I usually only see one zipping around. I guess it could be two of them but certainly not more. Love the video.

Nancy J. Bond said...

That's a lot of bats, and think of all the bugs they're eating. I have a bat story of a slightly more scary variety - while driving home from my parents very late last weekend, a bat flew in front of the car and I was sure I had hit the poor thing. I had to travel slowly due to the potholes in this secondary road, and as I slowed down to navigate around one, the bat (which had obviously just been stunned and held against the grill by the force of the moving car) flew up over the hood and straight up the windshield and launched into the night again. Scared me half to death! Though I'm happy it was okay. :)

Cinj said...

We had a bat in our garage a few months ago. My crazy BIL thought we ought to shoot it, MIL was in favor of drowning the poor thing. I just kept the door between the garage and house closed and opened the door via remote. I prayed like mad that the poor fella would leave before they got here. Lucky for us it did. I don't know what they've got again the poor creatures, I think they're fascinating!

The music on your video statled all of the birds nearby away, poor things!

shirl said...

Hi there Cheryl, Lisa, Nancy and Cinj :-)

Cheryl – Glad you enjoyed it :-) I am not an authority at all on bats however I could say that we are seeing less too. I might wonder that with our wetter summers the insect population in some areas has gone down and as the bats searched for food it has taken them away from your garden. Are bats not creatures of habit? I might guess they could return to your barn to roost for winter if they have done that before. I hope you see them again. Have a good weekend :-D

Lisa – I am not really sure how many were speeding around my garden that night. However in warmer nights we have seen a few more. They are so fast that it is difficult to count them as you will know. I love to see them fly in pairs as they spin around each other as the pass over the garden. Fascinating to see. Have a good weekend :-D

Nancy – Tricky to tell how many there were, but yes they would be picking up bugs as they passed over. Gosh… you must have been stunned for a while driving too!! Thanks for sharing your story too :-) Have a good weekend :-D

Cinj – Another story – great! Great for the bat too that it got out of your garage alive :-) They are fascinating, I agree, but I wouldn’t like one in my garage of house! We have two neighbours that have had them in their houses. One bat got into a lounge through the chimney – it was probably disturbed from somewhere in the cavities of the house after insulation was added. My neighbour opposite had a number of them in an extension attic space (not part of the main attic). After not bothering about them for a few years he then decided that he wanted them out. Through Laws here in the UK he was not allowed to block the entry/exit point that the bats used. He had to call out ‘The Bat Man’ (seriously) who then deal with them. I have no idea how – it was a few years ago. Bats are a protected species here and I am assuming that ‘The Bat Man’ got the bats out and it was he who then sealed the entry point. Lol the birds were all tucked away asleep in the trees and hedges when I took my video. I love editing the music into my videos :-) Have a good weekend :-D

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Hi Shirl, I see that this is the kind of vid that when you blink you've missed it. Great that you managed to film them at all as I know how fast they zip through the air. To the batcave!

There's plenty of bats in my garden too but as you say this hasn't been a summer for sitting outside a lot in the evening, or during the day. ;-)

Have a lovely weekend!

Border Reiver said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Border Reiver said...

Great to see the bats over the arbour Shirl. I haven't done it this year but there's a lane in Somerset I know tall hedges with a street lamp, stand under the lamp and it's a bat frenzy of activity. Brilliant

One comment though, where did you get the music from? Surely it should have been "another one bites the dust" by Queen, given one of the comments, or maybe something from the Flying Pickets (flying bats, picket fence - oh dear!), possibly even "in the air tonight" by Phil Collins..... oh dear, sorry Shirl :-)

(and I deleted the original posting as I can't spell)

Mike - Fenphotography said...

Nice video, I did try and photograph these before now but have given up, I think its impossible.

Linda said...

Awesome video - Linda

Blackswamp_Girl said...

I am SO JEALOUS, Shirl! I have had a bathouse up for over a year now, trying to attract some bats to live at my place. Unfortunately, I've had no takers in either of the last two spring/summer cycles. (I think we did put it up too late in 2007 to catch the bats while they were looking for a place to call home, though, so I'll give it one more year before I move it and try another spot.)

Cheryl said...

Hi Shirl......just read your comment re juvenile greenfinch...I thought it could possibly be Trichomonasis.....I clean and change feeders every week....also clean the ground around the feeders.....is there anything else I can do, as I do not want this to spread....

shirl said...

Hi again Cheryl :-D

Re possible Tricho - you are doing everything right to stop it spread.

What I have done in the past has been to slow up filling the feeders too so the finch groups split up a little. But that also has consequences when the birds then go to other feeders that aren't cleaned as regularly. The cycle can then continue when they return to your garden but not always. I really think you are doing all you can.

HappyMouffetard said...

Lovely to see video of the bats. We have them circling around our house some nights - it's always exciting when we manage to glimpse them flapping by!

shirl said...

Hi again Yolanda, Border, Mike, Linda, Kim and Happymouffetard :-)

Yolanda – It certainly is – great I can slow down the action during editing ;-) Yes, they really are super fast! Yep… I wonder where the nearest batcave is. Yes, it has been a wet summer and many in the UK are having issues with flooding once again. Thanks, we did have a good weekend – wishing you a good week :-D

Border – Thanks, I’m delighted I finally caught them on film! Yes… I can imagine a combo of a tall hedge + street lamp would be a good spot to see bats. I can imagine you enjoying that :-D Lol – the music is from a selection with my video editing software. I don’t know if I could compete with your music suggestions –great choice ;-)

Mike – Thanks, yes I remember you saying you were going to try to get photos this year. After watching them the other night I cannot see how anyone could get photos of bats. It must be possible though as you can see them in books :-D

Linda – Thank-you, I was thrilled with my capture :-D

Kim – Oops… and here’s me not trying. Hope you get lucky with you bat boxes. Perhaps moving them might help. I’ve no idea where you would ideally locate them. Good luck :-D

Happymouffetard – Thank-you, sounds like our bat visits are very similar. I agree it is always exciting seeing them flapping by :-D

Miranda Bell said...

Hi Shirl - well you've certainly fired up people to tell you of their stories and experiences - makes a good read with a coffee and toast!

We're very lucky here in Brittany with the quantity of bats living in our barns and woodland- just last night whilst out with Lucy - walking down our garden - the wind was so still you could have heard a pin drop and then the sound of fluttering came and I was aware of a number of bats flitting back and forth - they are loads in our woodland and at night can be seen flying in the clearing amongst the oak trees.

On a more serious note though there have been a number of cases in France this year where bats have got quite vicious and people have had to take precautions with rabies vaccines as it seems more prevelent amongst bats at the moment.

But not taking away their huge value to the gardener - I'm so glad we have them! Enjoy.... Miranda

Barbara said...

We have bats in our village too. They live in the old houses here. Just yesterday evening when we were making our evening walk to the forest, we saw them quickly fly over our heads.

Jane said...

Lots of bats in Corfe Mullen I'm glad to say. At the moment I'm trying to survey them. So far I've seen Noctules, Serotines and Common and Soprano Pipistrelles. We have them flying around our garden and I've often caught sight of them in my infra-red camera at night. I love standing in the middle of them feeding and feeling their wings skimming against my cheek. Flying mice is a good way of describing them... they are VERY cute and much misunderstood. Well done capturing them on film. Jane

shirl said...

Hi again Miranda, Barbara and Jane :-)

Miranda – Sorry. I thought I answered your comment. I don’t know about reading the stories and eating breakfast! I can imagine bats enjoying barns and woodlands. It must be great seeing them there. Oh… yes there was a case in Scotland of a bat worker dying in with rabies after being bitten by a bat back in 2002. I can understand why precautions are being taken with you. This man was the only one in the group that didn’t have the vaccine. All the others survived so clearly it works! Yes, as you say they have value to the gardener too :-D

Barbara – Sorry, once again I thought I had answered this. Yes, old houses do seem to be a favourite haunt for bats. Yes, they do fly over at head height don’t they? Enjoy your evening walks :-D

Jane – Yes, I have been reading your posts. That’s quite a variety of species you have down there. I remember you went on a course to handle them too – don’t know if I would have liked that but I am guessing you loved it! My infra-red camera doesn’t have the range that yours has so I don’t tend to capture them as well in the dark. It must be fun to see. Mm… feeling their wings on my cheek – must admit don’t think I would be comfortable with that. Cute – still not sure on that one but misunderstood I would probably agree with that. Enjoy yours :-D

chips said...

after seeing 5 bats flying arround in my garden tonight read all your coments and watched the vid which was great. just one question where do they go to sleep or rest. there is a small bunch of large trees about 10 house up from me. could this be the place. any one know ?????

shirl said...

Hi there Chips, I’m delighted that your bat sightings have brought you here :-)

To answer your question I’m not sure if bats would roost in a tree unless it had holes with ledges. I would suspect they wouldn’t hang around open branches.

I would say they are most likely to roost in holes in buildings or purpose built bat boxes. They can slip in/up the tiniest of gaps. Perhaps some have made their way under your house roof through any gaps or perhaps in other houses beside you. Pipistrelles are the most common and they will leave droppings outside their roosts so that would give you a clue. They are small little thin line drops.

Equally bats can use a number of different roosts during an evening. I guess you just have to keep and eye out where they go just as it gets dark. They are fascinating to watch :-D