Saturday, 31 March 2012

Local alert for Wigeon watchers and Bat detecting.

If you live in the north of this Fine City, and choose to stand outside in your garden between 9.20 and 9.50pm as I have done on 3 occasions this week, you will hear and maybe see a flock of 20-35 Wigeon flying East. Guaranteed.
If you hear the unknown Wader, let me know what it is please.

 On Thursday, I attended an interesting talk by Norwich Bat Group (see links). I have been fascinated by the world of Bats since I was little, and after seemingly years of putting it off, I purchased a Magenta Bat 5 Detector.
I repeat my Birdforum post here:

 Bat detecting and frequencies
Good afternoon,

I have finally taken the plunge after years of deliberation and purchased a starter Bat detector; a Magenta Bat 5 to be precise. I put it to use straight away last night, walking around a farmyard pond in Suffolk after dusk. It was a little chilly, but at least 3 Bats were heard thanks to the detector.

For future reference, here is a list of the echolocation frequencies of 16 species of British Bat:
20-25 KHZ Noctule
25 Leisler's
27 Serotine
32 Barbastelle
39 Nathusius's Pip
45 Pip
45 Whiskered
45 Brandt's
45 Daubenton's
45-50 Brown and Grey Long-eared
50 Natterer's
50 Bechstein's
55 Pip
80 Greater Horseshoe
108 Lesser Horseshoe

I had my dial between 45 and 55, hoping for Pips, Daubenten's and Long-eared, maybe Natterer's?
Having been on a couple of Bat walks before, I remembered the sound that Pipistrelles make, and brief views led me to the conclusion that I was watching 2-3 Pipistrelle species. First question: which is the Soprano Pip, is it 45 or 55 KHZ?
I then moved the dial around, hoping for more species in the area. I was picking up sounds at 20 KHZ, which I would describe as 'smacks'. The pattern was similar to the earlier Pips, and I wonder if there is some overlap in frequencies? I couldn't see any Noctules and despite the smacks maybe I was picking up Pips at 20 KHZ?
A walk along the moat that borders the farm and another Bat was heard. A very liquid quality to the feeding sound, this was at 45 KHZ.

I am really pleased I have finally purchased a detector, and I will be using this a lot over the Summer in Norwich and the Broads. But, with so many Bats echolocating around 45-55 I need to learn the sounds. Can anyone recommend any software or websites for doing this?

Finally, as an amateur in all of this, does anyone have experience of national or regional Bat conferences? The East of England conference is in two weeks time, and the workshops on habitat and sound analysis sound like they could be useful.

So, that is where I am with this new venture.

The Garganey are still at Surlingham as of yesterday, so a return visit tomorrow evening and hopefully some bats over the lagoon.

1 comment:

  1. Soprano Pip is 55kHz. There is overlap, when you get a bat its worth going up and down +/- 10kHz, as it may be clearer at a different frequency. Also if you get to 20kHz or lower you may start picking up crickets and the noise of footsteps on gravel! I still need to learn the noises for the scarcer species, because as you say the 40-55kHz covers a lot of species, so I'd be interested if you find any good resources.