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Serotines in churches

04 August 2017, Chippenham

On Friday 04 August, the East of England Section committee hosted this event at St Margaret’s Church, Chippenham, Cambridgeshire. Led by experienced bat ecologist, Chris Vine, we attended the church before dusk for a talk on the ecology of Serotine bats (Eptesicus serotinus) and their history in this particular church. Chris has monitored this small colony on and off over the last twenty years but they are not the only species to use the site for roosting; both Natterer’s bats (Myotis nattereri) and Brown long-eared bats (Plecotus auritus) have been detected over the years. During Chris’s talk we were interrupted by a Pipistrelle sp. bat emerging from above the church door!

Chris went on to show us the exit point that Serotines have been using for years, above a stone buttress on the northern side of the church and before long the first Serotine emerged. Chris talked us through his hand-netting technique before putting it into practice and we were rewarded with a very noisy adult female in the net. It was a great opportunity for attendees to see the distinguishing features of one of our larger bat species up close. Unfortunately this female did not appear to have reproduced this season. We also saw Serotine droppings and evidence that the church porch is used by multiple species as a night roost.

Many thanks to Chris for sharing his knowledge and skills at this event! If you have any suggestions for future events or the CIEEM East of England committee please contact eastofengland@cieem.net.

Author and photos: Lindsay Stronge Grad CIEEM, East of England Section Committee

Serotines in churches

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