The Conservation of West Monkton Society (COWMS) recently commissioned an independent ecological ‘Walkover’ survey, combined with a series of remote monitoring’s for bats, in West Monkton village and its immediate surroundings carried out on 19th September 2018. The results reveal the village is home to nine separate species of bats, including several rare ones, including Barbastelles (on the international ‘Red List’ of threatened species and thought to be extinct in the UK until 2008) and Lesser Horseshoe bats, which are protected at nearby Hestercombe House, under a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). In addition, the calls of Leisler’s bats were also recorded, until now the known western-most colony was thought to be near Bristol. Only 9,500 are known to have been recorded in England.
Three Anabat Express monitors were set up, placed in trees beside Dosters Lane, in an orchard hedge towards the end of Blundells Lane and in a patch of ancient woodland in fields on the A38 nearby. Despite this being carried out right at the end of the active bat season, or the fact that two of the three detectors were disturbed for at least two days of the week they were in place, in total well over two thousand separate ‘hits’ were recorded!
The survey was carried out by Abricon, a licensed, independent Bristol-based ecological consultancy, and the resulting bat calls analysed by a licensed bat ecologist, and by other two in-house licensed ecologists.
A full list of bat species recorded were Common Pipistrelle and Soprano Pipistrelles, Myotis, Lesser Horseshoes, Long Eared bats, Barbastelles, Noctules, Serotines and Leisler’s. These different species have varying roosting needs (Barbastelles for example roost in the tree bark of ancient trees and move around each night) and foraging requirements of up to 2.5 km radius, (1.5 miles) of fixed roosts, involving woodland, pastureland and wetland habitats. All of these are currently available within the village and its surroundings and help to explain the success of the bats in the area.
If you would like any further information, please email COWMS – firstname.lastname@example.org