Bat Walk at Ryde Cemetery May 2018
On Friday 18th May an attendance of 17 met at Ryde Cemetery for a Bat Walk conducted by Graham Street from the Isle of Wight Bat Hospital. Among them was a visitor from Austin, Texas which boasts the largest bat colony in the world and is made up of about 2 million Mexican free-tailed bats.
The walk was preceded by a talk in the Learning Centre on the rescue work of the Bat Hospital and the annual life cycle of a bat. It was fascinating to hear about the high frequency signal which bats emit and which enables them to build a sound map of the area round the roost in which they live as well as to locate their insect prey. They are extremely sensitive to temperature and the conditions which indicate that food is available, being able to hibernate and recover from it in about fifteen minutes.
Graham then demonstrated “bat detectors” which would enable the tracking of bats on the wing as everyone moved outside. Unfortunately although conditions appeared to be ideal only two bats were actually detected and seen and a few others located at a further distance but not seen.
As the evening drew to a close the silhouette of the cemetery chapels against the last traces of daylight made an attractive sight.