The bats are waking up from hibernation now, and more are using the Bat House. Five species were recorded in todays survey.
Three species were using the front cellar room:
- Greater Horseshoe – have returned from their winter hibernation sites.
- Lesser Horseshoe – in the purpose build wooden chimney shaped box.
- Common (?) Pipistrelle – against a rafter, difficult to see, so may have been a Soprano
In the back rock vaulted cellar, mostly tucked up in crevices were:
- Natterer’s Bat
- Brown Long Eared
- Lesser Horseshoe – hanging free with its wings folded round it
Lesser Horseshoes were also in the west upper loft, which is only accessible from the outside and not inter-connected to the main Bat House cellars. Unusually there were using the old Chimney, as well as hanging from the ceiling netting.
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There are several Badger setts throughout the valley, many have been in use of many, many years and have developed into huge complexes of tunnels and entrances.
The sett entrances are dug into. and under, the roots of trees
The large spoil heap at the entrance has a worn smooth track, showing it is in active use
Badgers dig shallow latrine pits, some to mark the edges of there territories, or as in this case, the en-suite near the sett.
Bedding remains clearly seen, where the badger has cleared out their old bedding, and replaced with new
The Bats resident in the Keeper’s Cottage bat house are surveyed and recorded every month.
Overall the numbers remain down for Feb, following the trend of 2015. Perhaps the warmer winter means the bats are waking up more often to feed and fewer are in their long term hibernation sites like Keeper’s.
The Survey on 21st Feb 2015 found Natterer’s and Brown Long Eared Bats in the rear vaulted cellar. All were tightly packed into the little crevices between the rocks that make up the arched vault.