Batty Goings On at Point of Ayre
Clipboard and detectors at the ready, the team prepare to start the second bat survey at the restored Point of Ayre gravel pits on 18th September 2014 (l-r Louise Samson, DEFA Warden for The Ayres NNR; Bob Moon, Manx Bat Group; Stephen Smyth, Island Aggregates Ltd and Sue Moon, Manx Bat Group)
On 11th and 18th September 2014, several batmen and women were at large on Island Aggregates’ Point of Ayre site. There were however no capes or masks in evidence and, in spite of the rich bird life all around, not a Penguin in sight!!
These enthusiasts were members of the Manx Bat Group. Chairman of the Group, Bob Moon, had contacted the company with a view to gaining access to our site, to survey around the large freshwater lake which has been created by our restoration scheme. The Group are engaged on a project to establish whether the bat species Nathusius Pipistrelle is present in the Isle of Man. Elsewhere in the British Isles the species is attracted to bodies of open water and coastal locations, so the Ayres seemed to fit the bill on both fronts.
The first survey proved a bumper evening for bat activity, with over 400 sound files recorded and 3 confirmed species, namely Leisler’s, Common Pipistrelle and Soprano Pipistrelle. Nathusius however remained elusive. The second survey wasn’t just so prolific in terms of bat numbers but one recording, at what seemed to be the right sound frequency, got the Bat Group members very excited, as it bore the hallmarks of the Nathusius Pipistrelle. At the time of writing, we are awaiting confirmation of whether a new species for the Island was recorded.
Island Aggregates General Manager Stephen Smyth commented, “We’re always keen to host events like this which showcase the fantastic new habitat our restoration scheme has created and which so many species have made their home. We already had extensive surveys of the bird life on the site and now we can add 3 new species (at least) to our overall list.
For more info on the Manx Bat Group, check out their website www.manxbatgroup.org