St Aiden’s nature reserve is located between Castleford and Leeds and is brimming with wildlife activity. It is an ideal location for bats as it has a large body of water that attracts insect and woodlands around the site provide wonderful places to roost. Our volunteers selected this site as a location to carry out monitoring activities as part of the National Nathusius’ Bat project which was launched in 2014.

The Nathusius’ bat is known to be a long-distance migratory bat and their movements between the UK and mainland Europe are not yet fully understood. This bat is at risk of high mortality rates due to wind turbines that have been placed in their migratory path. The project aims to assess the threat of these turbines on the species by using Bat groups across the UK to carry out monitoring.

WYBG used bat detectors set up 2 lures and harp traps to identify the species at the site. The harp traps are the safest way to capture bats and cause them no harm so they can be harmlessly examined to identify the species, health, gender and age of the bats. We were able to observe several species of bat flying at St Aiden’s and identified a Whiskered, Barbastelle, Common Pipistrelles, a Nocutle and even a Nathusius’ in the hand. It was wonderful to be able to see the great diversity of species that this site offers and contribute to the national and European data on this long distance traveller.

For more on the Nathusius’ Bat project (click here)

For information, location and facilities at St. Aiden’s (click here)