Visitors to our reedbed will notice a couple of welcome additions.
The first is a bonus for humans – a roof is currently being constructed over the reedbed viewing screen, to keep out the worst of winter weather! Hurrah. We spoil you.
The second development – far more important for the conservation-minded - comes in the form of two interconnected boxes – for bats. But these are no ordinary bat boxes. They are super-sized and capable, when full, of holding more than a thousand mums and their young.
This has been designed, built and erected in partnership with the North Yorkshire Bat Group. Its chairman John Drewett first got the idea from America, our director Simon Warwick tweaked the design, Steve Horner and LUCT volunteers built it and Chris Pennock from Tarmac, plus Paul who has been doing the excavator work at the reedbed, put it up.
That was no mean feat, considering it is almost 1.5 metres high and over half a metre wide and sits on top of a ten-metre pole.
Inside each box are five chambers with interconnecting corridors; it is painted black to absorb heat - positioned to attract the morning sun, which is just what bats love. A perfect “des res” and bat nursery hopefully.
During regular visits to the reedbed, John noticed that bats were arriving to feed in the evenings about 20 minutes later than he expected, indicating they were travelling some distance to get there.
“It became obvious that there was a lack of suitable roosting places nearby so the bats were using up a great deal of energy flying to and from the reed bed. That made no sense. So we thought a spot of intervention to provide them with a home next to a very important feeding ground was an obvious conservation plus”, he said.
So what species will be attracted? The most likely will be Soprano pipestrelles. But John is hoping for more. Nathusius pipistrelle is a recent addition to the British bat list and loves wetlands like our reedbed to live, breed and feed by. Could a new species be on the cards for Nosterfield?
John and his team from NYBG will regularly monitor the box and the activity around it and we will keep you up to date with what they find. Exciting.
Photo by Gareth Jones