It was a warm sunny evening and we met outside St Matthews church just before dusk. Kay Snowden and Neill Talbot from Use The Divi BuilderAvellana Ecology gave a talk about the bats we were most likely to see; pipistrelles and noctule bats. We learnt that pippistrelles weighed the same as a 20p, they breed in autumn and winter and single pups are born the following summer. Pippistrelles hunt all night long for little flying insects, particularly gnats and mosquitoes. Apparently they sleep in the day in little high up crevices often hanging from their arms!

After the talk and as the light was fading we walked to Cotham Gardens Park and split up into two groups. Our group with Neill walked down the hill until our bat detector started making intense clicking and buzzing sounds, and there up in the canopy of the trees were three or four bats flying around in the trees above. It was lovely to experience the spontaneous gasps of delight at the sight of the bats!

It’s brilliant to have bats in Cotham. If you want to detect them at night when its dark, bat detectors are available, why not share one with your neighbours and have occasional batty evenings? If you look up in the sky at dusk especially near trees and hedges you may see bats!!

Neill and Kay recommend the Bats conservation Trust. They have good leaflets and links where you can learn more. They also recommend the Woodchester Mansion webcam and some one that came to the talk told us about Bat Man – I’ve now listened to the ‘This American Life’ Bat Man podcast and it’s fascinating!

Look out for our October Green Cotham Talk, it will be from Ann Baker from the St Matthews wildlife gardens who will be giving us a slide show of the plants and insects in the St Matthew’s Gardens and I’ll be talking about our Green Cotham gardening plans and how we can garden in autumn in a way that is sympathetic to wildlife. There will be questions and discussion, do bring your thoughts and own stories of gardening for wildlife during the colder months.