Rare bats discovered at Whitlingham Country Park

A rare bat species, known as the Nathusius’ pipistrelle, has been discovered at Whitlingham Country Park. The results of surveys carried out by Norwich Bat Group showed the site to be one of the most important in The Broads for this uncommon and little-known bat species.

2017 is the first year that Norwich Bat Group has joined the National Nathusius’ Pipistrelle Project run by The Bat Conservation Trust. The project has already revealed important information about this species by trapping and ringing to identify individuals. It has been discovered that, as well as being a resident species in the UK, Nathusius’ pipistrelle also migrates between north east European countries such as Latvia and Lithuania and the UK. The bats migrate south during the autumn months to escape the harsh winters and return in the spring, crossing the North Sea on their journey to and from Europe.

This summer, Norwich Bat Group trapped and ringed Nathusius’ pipistrelle at eight separate locations across the Broads National Park and two other sites in North Norfolk. The trapping methods do not harm the bats and they are released immediately after confirming identity, weighing, measuring and ringing with a unique ring number. A total of thirty two trapping sessions have been carried out by twenty two dedicated volunteers and fifty two Nathusius’ pipistrelles have been ringed in The Broads, with thirteen of them at Whitlingham. Essex and Bedfordshire Bat Groups joined Norwich Bat Group to help on two evenings.

The numbers of this rare bat discovered in the Broads, and particularly at Whitlingham, supports the staggering statistic that although the Broads National Park only covers 0.1% of the country, it is home to over a quarter of our rarest and most significant wildlife.

Each year, Norwich Bat Group and other bat groups around the country will be sending their results to the National Nathusius’ Pipistrelle Project. The combined data will develop a more comprehensive understanding of this migratory bat which is needed for the long-term conservation of future populations.

Andrea Kelly, the Broads Authority’s Senior Ecologist said of the project,

“The Broads Authority have funded and supported this vital project and we hope it will lead to the Nathusius’ pipistrelle being better understood and therefore better protected in the future.”

Nathusius Pipistrelle

Thursday 7 December 2017