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International Bat Night 2017

10 October 2017

The 10th edition of the International Bat Night under the auspices of Eurobats / BatLife Europe was held on Friday 6th October 2017 at the Open Air Theatre at the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens.

Perfect conditions for bats (clear, still and warm, with plenty of insect activity) suggested we'd have a bumper night, but alas the natural world is not that simple and there were only a small number of bats seen or detected.  The event was extremely well attended, with over 200 participants packed onto the stage and other areas.

The first bat was on account of the still fairly light conditions, the best seen one of the night, as the Soprano pipistrelle made several low passes, circling slowly to drink water from the pond.  Several other bats of the same species were also seen, foraging over or between the tree canopy around the theatre. GONHS host Albert Yome, together with Gib-Bats colleagues Stewart Finlayson and Tyson Holmes from the Gibraltar Museum had earlier spent two hours setting up fine mist nets, with the intention of catching bat for further study.  No bats were caught during the course of the event, with many large praying mantises being caught and released instead.

Tyson Lee-Holmes of Gib-Bats with one of the Praying Mantises Sphrodomantis viridis.

Later, when participants were long gone and the team was in the process of taking down and packing its equipment, a sole bat was seen to have been caught in one of the nets. Once extracted, it was determined that this was a Kuhl's Pipistrelle Pipistrellus kuhlii, one of our less common residents.  After being carefully examined, photographed and DNA samples taken, the bat was released to carry on its nightly forage.

Kuhl's Pipistrelle

GONHS would like to thank the Alameda Botanic Gardens for the use of the theatre and in particular to Danny Montovio for the audio, lighting and setting up for our event, as well as to Tyson and Stewart for their hard work in supporting his event.

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