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Bat Watch On The Common

1st of September 2010

Bats on the Common are not only to be found on the cricket field, as was clearly demonstrated on a beautiful June evening for a small group of the Friends of Chipperfield Common. There are also plenty of the furry, flying variety as Colin Chambers from Dacorum Borough Council’s Environmental Services was able to show us with the help of his Electronic Bat Detector.
Colin had started off by taking us round the Common’s veteran Sweet Chestnut trees to explain the remedial work that had been done in the earlier part of the year to give them more light and space and to reduce branch damage from splitting. Then as dusk was falling he produced his small hand-held Bat Detector. This picks up the high frequency signals emitted continuously by these fascinating creatures to direct them towards their insect prey and away from obstacles. Colin explained that each variety of bat has a different frequency. He set the detector to pick up signals from the Pipistrelles and after a short wait in the vicinity of the Apostles Pond, during which time Colin showed us the Common’s only specimen of a wild service tree, the detector picked up the signal of our first bats. Soon, the air above us was marked by the constant passage of bats flying to and fro and we were all given the opportunity of holding the detector and feeling its vibrations as it picked up their signals.
As darkness fell, it was time to leave and to thank Colin for arranging a fascinating evening.
Mary Nobbs

Editor’s note: Wendy’s articles will return next month

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