Bats are regular visitors to the Fen.They feed on insects, especially those associated with water, and will fly up and down streams and rivers looking for prey. Although visible at dusk they are difficult to tell apart by sight, but they can be identified using a bat detector. This is an electronic device which picks up the ultrasonic sonar pulses, which are too high a frequency for us to hear, and converts them into a series of audible clicks. Each species has a different pattern which can be recognised.
There are currently four species of bat known from the Fen. Click on their names to find find more information, including their call as heard on a bat recorder.
Bats feed on insects, mostly from the streams. The insect life of the streams depends on healthy vegetation (the 'stream macrophytes') which in turn depend on fast-flowing and well lit water. It is a priority in our management plan to restore these conditions.
Bats also need somewhere to roost and the use of bat boxes to provide
shelter can provide this. We have taken advice from bat conservation organisations
about the type and siting of appropriate boxes and have installed some
in the fen. Three bat boxes are placed where the waters of the Itchen,
Lockburn, Floodstoc and Keats' Walk are closest together. They are impossible
to see from inside the Fen but are clearly visible from Keats' Walk. Bats
like their boxes to have adequate hanging space for maternal roosting in
the summer, riverside dining, free from predator or bird access and with
clear flight paths for the pups to start flying.