A project focusing on finding more on the Nyctalus bats within Threave Garden and Estate
What is it all about
Project N started in 2015 at National Trust for Scotland’s (NTS) Threave Garden and Estate in Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway. Nyctalus species have been readily recorded throughout the estate over the years in which Echoes Ecology has been delivering training courses there, but where these bats were roosting and what species of Nyctalus they were was a mystery. Whilst noctule bats are known to be present in the area there have been no confirmed Leisler’s bats (i.e. a Leisler’s bat has never been caught and handled at Threave). This of course does not mean they are not present! Leisler’s bats have been confirmed to be roosting at NTS Culzean Castle, around 40 miles away.
The aim of Project N is to find out if both species of Nyctalus bats are roosting within the estate and surrounding areas, and to locate some of the Nyctalus roosts (both species are tree roosting).
This is being achieved by carrying out bat surveys at sunset and sunrise to obtain directional movements of bats coming from and returning to roosts, and then methodically working back to narrow down the areas in which they may be roosting. During the day, aerial tree assessments are being completed on trees within the areas of potential which have suitable roosting features. Inspections of pre-installed artificial bat boxes are also being carried out.
So far four tree roosting locations have been found within the woodland, one of which was a roost within a woodpecker hole from which 18 noctule bats were counted emerging from. The species was identified by hand. These roosting locations are being monitored every year with more surveys being carried out to find further roosts. We believe Leisler’s bats are roosting somewhere close by and it would be a great find to add a confirmed roosting location of theirs to the growing list of bat roost locations at NTS Threave Garden and Estate.
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