As you may know, we have a rare colony of Lesser Horseshoe bats at Hestercombe. They come here every Spring (or early Summer) to have their babes and live inside the lofts of the Visitor Centre until the pups are big enough to fly off on their own.
Last year we released a short film using infra-red footage showing how the bats hang from each other to learn to fly. It is on show just past the Visitor Reception, or follow this link: http://vimeo.com/46677664
This week we have a team of researchers from Bristol University Mammal Research and Bat Ecology Unit coming to Hestercombe to study the effect of lighting on maternal colonies - like the one that lives at Hestercombe. We are all aware that there has been a massive increase in artificial light from streetlights and human development today however there is so far only a little research into the effect of this light pollution on our natural ecosystems. The study being undertaken by the University will monitor the bat's behaviour under certain circumstances such as changes in noise and sound.
On Friday the team will visit Hestercombe to begin to tag 30 bats with 'Coded Nano Tags'. These will then allow information to be gathered about individual bat activity patterns. The findings should help discover whether light pollution affects activity at maternity roosts, whether lighting disrupts the weaning behaviour and should help develop management recommendations that will be applicable at regional and potentially national scales.
Read more on the research project here: http://www.batsandlighting.co.uk/