Is it a bird or a plane? No, it’s a bat

7 May 2014, Comments Comments Off on Is it a bird or a plane? No, it’s a bat

st madoc 5With cartilage shaped like an ‘S’ supporting its wing membrane, it could be mistaken for a visitor from Krypton. But it’s been found happily living in Wales by A Rocha UK’s Gower-based partner St Madoc Centre.

Local bat expert Rob Colley, found a single Natterer’s Bat (Myotis nattereri) at a roost inspection in their woodland cave. That makes it the sixth bat species to have been recorded at the centre since A Rocha UK’s first survey of 2009.

It’s also a timely discovery as it comes around the launch of A Rocha UK’s brand new leaflet ‘How To Be A Bat-Friendly Church’. The publication encourages churches to think and do better about bats.

‘This is an excellent addition to our species list,’ said St Madoc’s Conservation Ranger Sarah Leedham. ‘Natterer’s is one of the rarer bat species which, although widespread in Europe, is generally a scarce and poorly known species.’

Sarah explained Natterer’s diet consists mainly of flies, small moths, caddis flies, lacewings, beetles, small wasps and spiders. ‘The bat is likely to have hibernated in the cave for the winter and will be off to a summer roost,’ she added.

A free download from A Rocha UK’s website, the new resource ‘How To Be A Bat-Friendly Church’ encourages churches to change their attitude towards bats, and to join A Rocha UK in protecting them. ‘We’re encouraging supporters to print out the leaflet and give it to the relevant person at their church,’ said A Rocha UK Conservation Director Andy Lester. ‘Pass it on to your leader or PCC – or whoever’s responsible for church gardens and buildings.’

Bat fans can also learn more about these fascinating creatures at St Madoc Centre’s Night-time Nature Prowl and other activities – including their A Rocha UK event, the Gower Wildlife Holiday. Bookings are going well, so those interested will need to secure their places.

From 7th-14th September, participants will be able to explore 76 acres of spectacular landscape and join in practical conservation work. There will also be opportunities to visit Celtic churches and castles, enjoy vast beaches and go for a swim. Cost of full board is £250 (enquiries to info@stmadoc.co.uk 01792 386291 www.stmadoc.co.uk). (Pictured – just some of the spectacular Welsh scenery at St Madoc. Photo: Sarah Leedham)

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