This evening half a dozen members of the Bedfordshire Bat Group and a dozen or so members of Bedfordshire and Luton Mind, the local mental health charity, gathered at Harrold-Odell Country Park in the north of Bedfordshire for a bat walk.
The Mind group, who have also been making bat boxes, enjoyed a similar ramble in the rain at Priory Country Park a few weeks ago, but it certainly hadn't dampened people's spirits and many had returned this evening in anticipation of another bat-fest!
There was a special treat before we started the walk as Bob & Jude had brought along a female Brown Long-eared Bat that had been found grounded at Chicksands a few days ago, and which seems to be lacking any disposition to fly for some reason.
Kelly then led us on a walk around the Park. It was still light when we entered the wooded section, but already a Soprano Pipistrelle was flying to & fro amongst the trees and we were able to watch it and listen to it on the bat detectors. It was an ideal evening for bats, damp but clear after the earlier rainfall, and there was further activity around the lakeside, including a feeding Common Pipistrelle.
But the best show of the night occurred at a clearing by the lake where Daubenton Bats skimmed over the surface of the lake while Pipistrelles flew overhead, regularly flying right past our heads, much to everyone's delight.
A little further on and suddenly the detectors emitted a totally different sound at a much lower frequency. I likened it to the sound of nails being frantically knocked into a wall. It was the distinct sound of Noctule Bats feeding high above the trees.
I think everyone really enjoyed themselves this evening - it's no wonder that the Bat Group is going from strength to strength!