Friday, 20 September 2013

Rare bat spotted at Welney Wetland Centre

There’s exciting news from Welney Wetland Centre. Thanks to a community science project, one of the UK’s rarer bat species, the barbastelle, has been found flying around the local nature reserve.

These medium-sized bats are cuties (if, that is, you like bats). My mother rather put me off as a child, telling me a tale of her friend who, walking home one evening, managed to trap a bat in her swinging Sixties beehive hairdo. I’m sure the story is rooted in myth, legend and poppycock, but it left its mark on my young imagination. If this 
hand-me-down bat story causes alarm, just don’t backcomb your hair before setting out on a Bat Safari (see below).

If you happen to glance a barbastelle you can identify it by the distinctive pug-shaped nose, dark fur and wings. Its wingspan clocks in at 26 to 29cm, combined with a diminutive body length of 4 to 5cm. The barbastelle, right, feasts on small moths, flies and beetles, all plentiful at Welney.

Leigh Marshall, centre manager for Welney Wetland Centre, part of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, (who does like bats) says: “This has been a very exciting discovery for the team at the centre and brings the total number of bat species recorded here to eight.

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