JBG Batty Jollies

by Sally Dalman

Whilst the ‘Roosters’ were busy planning their surveys for the summer, the rest of the group were twiddling their thumbs a little, and feeling the need to go out batting. So we decided to organise some casual batty jollies, going to new sites, wandering around in the dark, gossiping and generally having fun.

The first site we visited was La Coupe in St Martin. Luckily everyone ignored the dodgy directions and arrived safely. After a gentle stroll up the hill and around the lanes to La Saie, we had a rummage around the dolmen and guardhouse (no evidence of bats, but well worth a look!). It wasn’t until we got down to the beach that we heard the first bat, a common pipistrelle according to the oracle that is Henry. Unfortunately, we didn’t hear another bat until we’d crawled back up the hill (it’s very steep!). Luckily there was a gathering of bats munching the mosquitoes just at the top, so we all got a sneaky breather whilst the bats put on a show for us, flying around our heads, in-between us and generally showing off. Again, common pipistrelles were the only species we saw, but who doesn’t love a common pip?

The next site we visited was Hamptonne woods, which if it were to be described by a bat estate agent, it would be described as a des-res; trees of varying age, size and condition, running water, wet grasslands, very quiet and undisturbed and all round perfect habitat. Add into the mix that Ani & I had found what we thought may have been an old roost there last summer (the pooh sample sent for DNA testing came back as inconclusive☹) and grey long-eared bats have been heard lower in the valley in a previous survey, we thought we were in for a treat. It wasn’t to be. Whilst we all enjoyed the walk, as it was a lovely evening, we saw or heard very few bats, and those we did hear were very late. It may have been due to the reservoirs lower in the valley being THE place to be seen, if you’re a bat, so that it was only the uncool gang we saw; who can tell. It may be worth another visit though, at a different time of year.

The last site we went to certainly lived up to its name, Stinky Bay. Or Le Pulec, to give its proper name. Again, the bats were not in great number, but we did have a wander around L’Etaq, and noticed a few potential roost sites that may need further investigation. We had a chinwag at the fisheries, and decided we all needed to come back again in the daytime to try their crab sandwiches, before heading down the slip to the stinky seaweed that gives the area its nickname. The seaweed was certainly piled up high, and ponging rather, but that’s a good thing, if you’re a bat. The rotting mess attracts lots of flies and other creepy crawlies, which the bats take great pleasure in munching on. We also had the pleasure of spotting a long-eared owl, against the skyline, hunting at Les Landes. So another good evening all round.

Whilst these walks aren’t to replace the surveys, they are a very informal way of new and old members getting to know each other, sharing knowledge and generally having fun. Surveys can be difficult to arrange, as there are so many contributing factors to line up, so when there are no surveys on, we’ll continue with the jollies.

Thank you to everyone that has come along so far, we’ll be arranging more for September.

Hope you’re all coming to our walks this weekend to celebrate International Bat Weekend?
Happy Batting ☺