It won’t have slipped your attention that signs of autumn are upon us, and with this changing of the season comes the change in wildlife. Most of our summer visitors have headed south, with pied flycatcher and cuckoo likely to be in southern Europe or even Africa by now, and trees are bearing fruit in time for the arrival of winter thrushes and supporting species looking to stock up for the winter, such as squirrels, mice and jay.

Good crop of bilberries this year (Photo by Gavin Chambers)

Another species group that are looking to stock up for the winter are bats. Most species have finished their breeding season and young pups (bat babies) will have become independent. For the next couple of months bats will be out trying to up their fat reserves in preparation for winter hibernation. As they are so active and nights are drawing in a little, it is a great time of year to get out and see what bats are flying around.

On Saturday I led a guided bat walk from the RSPB shop to take in the Sculpture Park and over the dam. Despite the chillier conditions we were pleased to record lots of bats and see glimpses of some of them through our thermal imaging scope. Common and soprano pipistrelles were the commonest and were often seen under the street lights, there were several daubenton’s bat feeding low over the river by the Sculpture Park and every so often we had the slapping sound of a noctule bat on the bat detectors.