Home > News > News > Wild Bunch column – Bats in Frome

Wild Bunch column – Bats in Frome

On Friday 10th May, a group of enthusiasts met members of Frome Wild Bunch for a briefing at Frome Town Hall, before we embarked on a bat survey. This event was very well attended and full of folk interested in learning more about the bats we have in Frome. Andy Avery from the Somerset Bat Group (SBG) provided expert guidance about the count. He explained that we would be using three bits of kit; echo meters, bat detectors and an identification card. We formed 11 groups of six or more people and headed for locations around Frome, to identify and record the different bats that were around that day at dusk. It was very exciting. We all familiarised ourselves with the technology, delegated a group member to log our findings on the iNaturalist app, and set off. 

It was a perfect evening: it was warm, the sky was clear, with the possibility of seeing the Aurora in the northern sky to top it off!

Our group headed for Willow Vale and very soon we heard and saw a Soprano Pipistrelle. Usually we only get to hear the bats on the bat detector, but as it was a light evening we saw quite a few of these amazing mammals. Bats are our second biggest mammal group, they hibernate in the winter, roost during the day and come out at night to feed and mate. Bats shout through their mouths and the frequency is above our hearing range, although children and women can sometimes hear their cries. We had an ultrasound microphone attached to our echo meter and the software identified the type of bat we were hearing.

We all returned an hour later to the town hall where SBG were logging and mapping the results of the survey, recording data about the bats we detected in our various locations. We made over 169 observations that night – a record for Somerset. The most frequent bats detected were the Common Pipistrelle and Pygmy Pipistrelle.  We also counted specimens of Common Noctule, Serotine and Lesser Noctule. We located a long-eared bat and many others. The results were logged on the iNaturalist app and the results will be analysed at a later date. Everyone really enjoyed the whole experience.

Bats in Somerset

16 out of the 18 bat species in the UK can be found in Somerset, including the small Pipistrelles to the much bigger Noctules. The diverse landscape Somerset offers can accommodate all these different bats. National surveys of the bat population only started in 1977, when the Lesser and Greater Horseshoe bats distribution was half of what is recorded today. It seems many bat species are increasing. All bat species are protected, and positive measures have been put in place that protect the endangered Horseshoe bats in Somerset. There are areas where these bats are found and work is being done to help protect them, including habitat management, talking to farmers and raising awareness of these amazing mammals, including monitoring bat populations like we are doing in the Wild Bunch.

Bats benefit from organic cattle-grazed farmland and meadows, hedgerows and woodland areas where they benefit from the insects. They like feeding over the River Frome. At night, scented plants attract moths and these are food for our bats. Also, bats require safe places to roost, and some of the older buildings in Frome are perfect roosts.

If you would like to find out more about bats visit https://somersetbat.group.

Frome Wild Bunch

To join the Wild Bunch or receive our newsletter, email fromewildbunch@gmail.com See the Wild Bunch Facebook page for more details about us and what we do at www.frometowncouncil.gov.uk/our-community/community/wild-bunch

22 May 2024
Last Updated
14 May 2024
Published in