‘Unexpected’ find of uncommon bat

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A GROUP learning to use bat detectors got an ‘unexpected’ surprise when they discovered an uncommon bat on Moreton Hall.

Nick Sibbett, chair of Woodland Ways, led the bat training session last month, which started with a talk about the 17 different species that live in Britain and tips on how to identify each type from their high-pitched ultrasound calls.

He then took the trainees on a bat hunt in Home Covert, next to Sebert Wood Primary School, where the Serotine bat was found - there are common and rare species of bat in the UK, the Serotine, which is the UK’s largest, sits in an uncommon category in the middle.

“It wouldn’t be a surprise to find it in rural areas of Suffolk but to find it in the suburbs, on a housing estate, really was a big surprise, because it’s associated with woodlands, tree-lines and hedges,” said Mr Sibbett.

“To find a bat so unusual to the area in a training event was a great boost to the trainees - there was a lot of surprise and quite a lot of delight that, using their newly found skills, they managed to discover, not just something that was interesting to themselves, but that was of interest generally,” he added.

The discovery was made using an electronic device known as a bat detector, which picks up the ultrasound signals that bats emit and converts them to audible frequencies which can be used to distinguish between the calls of different species.

The Serotine bat was identified by its ‘very syncopated’ call which Mr Sibbett said sounds like ‘gangster rap’ music. It was recorded and further analysis confirmed the find.

It has been reported to the Suffolk Biological Records Centre, based in Ipswich Museum, which keeps records on all wildlife species in the country.

“It’s now part of the bigger picture of understanding where and how bats live in Suffolk,” said Mr Sibbett, who has been bat detecting twice a week since the beginning of June.