Saturday, 21 November 2009

Slovakia trip update 2009

Once again there were two trips to Slovakia. The trip in May went to Eastern Slovakia, where we saw several colonies of lovely panda-faced grey long-eared bats in churches. One of the highlights was mistnetting at a housing estate just behind Lidl. The nets were set very high (above the front door, with a constant flow of people wandering in and out, telling us their recommendations for catching bats). The nets were rigged with a person permanently at each end so that when a bat was caught the whole net was lowered in order to extract it.

We adjourned to Lidl to examine the bats under the shop light. There were three beautiful blond furred bats with distinct white trailing edge on the wings: Kuhli’s pipistrelle. If one of them ever found its way to the UK we’d know straight away it wasn’t one of our common or garden pips. However, the species was only recently identified in Slovakia. Perhaps we should try mistnetting behind Lidl in Carlisle…

The August trip returned to swarming sites, the most successful evening seeing 14 species being caught at one cave. A banded Mediterranean horseshoe bat was caught that was confirmed to be 12 years old. There will be 2 more trips next year, in May and September.

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