Introduction

Wild Time

Spring

Feel the beat of spring

Be dazzled by bluebells

Harken to a bittern's boom

Seek a swooping sand martin

Pen poetry among daffodils

Sway with dancing grebes

Get sent packing by a grouse

Take a ringside seat

Track down a tiger

Watch a rare sky dance

Chatter with a natterjack

Enjoy the great rush north

Look up in awe

Shine a light on newts

Eavesdrop on a nightingale

Go spotting early orchids

Follow a sat-tagged osprey

Gape at hunting hobbies

Nurse a passion for purple

Scour riverbanks for Ratty

Tip-toe among fritillaries

 

Summer

Hail the success of avocets

Go batty as night falls

Bewitched by a buttercup

Play the summertime blues

Thrill to damsels and dragonflies

Go after Dartford warbler

Make a splash with gannets

Stake out a badger sett

Hurrah for the king

Rejoice in Manxie's chorus

Delight in a glow worm

Fall for THE fastest bird

Be spellbound by orchids

Journey to a seabird city

Exalt at a skylark's song

Party with the puffins

Lounge with a lizard

Haunt a churring nightjar

Head seawards on safari

Discover the rare spoonbill

Join the toadlet exodus

Spot our largest butterfly

Wear a hat for terns

Hunt woodland beauties

 

Autumn

Admire our eager beavers

Marvel at migration

Forage for Autumn's bounty

Go nuts over squirrel nutkin

Ramble through purple

Gaze in awe at reds' rut

Wander in the wild wood

Cheer on the salmon run

Try a wild goose chase

Foray for fungi

 

Winter

Pay homage to the Russians

Go on a winter ghost hunt

Wonder at wintering waders

Fall in love with a seal pup

Hear Britain's tallest bird

Revel in roosting wagtails

Kiss beneath mistletoe

'Ooh' & 'aah' at murmurations

Lie in wait for an otter

Rock 'n' roll with geology

Wrap up for a raptor roost

Go batty as night falls

Image © Frank Greenaway / Sussex Wildlife Trust

Explore the nocturnal world of the bat.

The best way to discover more about bats is in the company of an expert 

As dusk falls on a late summer’s evening, the swallows go to their roosts under the eaves and the swifts make one last screaming sortie over the rooftops before heading up high to dose the night away.  The light thickens, the last robin sings his song, and then the bats come out.

Unseen and unnoticed by most of us, the countryside fills up with these nocturnal insectivores, fluttering out to feed for the night. Pipistrelles flit over the garden, brown long-eared bats swoop along the hedgerows, Daubenton’s bats skim over the river, noctules hawk high up above the canopy.

Bats find their way around by echolocation, using a series of very high pitched clicks and burps and listening out for the echoes that bounce off their surroundings and their prey. Although not audible to the human ear, we can use a special bat detector to listen to the echolocation calls of bats. Each species has its own characteristic pattern and frequency of calls. The pitter patter of a calling pipistrelle turns into a buzzing burp as it closes in on its moth meal, while a noctule shouts ‘chop chip chop chip’ as he swoops over the tree tops.

How to do it

The best way to discover more about bats is in the company of an expert. Check your Wildlife Trust's website for bat walks and other batty events, where you will be able to use a bat detector and learn more about their lives.  International Bat Night takes place during the last weekend in August.  Put up a bat box and give them a helping hand in your garden! The location is all important: nail it up on a sheltered sunny spot, high up under the eaves if it’s on a building and preferably away from outside lights. Buy one or make one.  Take part in this year's bat-themed Wild About Gardens Week!

If you can’t get to the special places listed below…  Although bats have declined in numbers they can still be found in towns and villages. At dusk, spend some time in the garden or go to your local park, and look up: you never know what you might see.

Special spots

Enjoy watching bats swooping at the cave entrances at Brown’s Folly whilst overlooking the lovely Bath skyline at dusk. Take a bat detector and listen out for the bizarre alien ‘space invader’ noises of the nationally threatened greater horseshoe bat, famous for its unusual leaf-shaped nose and large ears, just one of the species found here.

Angus, Montrose Basin 

Cambridge, River Cam - join a special bat punt safari!

Channel Islands, Alderney

Derbyshire, Hilton Gravel Pits

Devon, Higher Kiln Quarry 

Dorset, Brackett’s Coppice

Essex, Hanningfield Reservoir - hundreds of soprano pipistrelles roost in the centre and can be seen emerging on late summer evenings. Events are run to enjoy the spectacle.

Gwynedd, Gwaith Powdwr

Lancashire, Aughton Woods

Lanarkshire, Falls of Clyde 

Yorkshire, Sprotbrough Flash

Long-eared bat © Liam O'Hara