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Batty about bats

The exceptionally high quality of illustrated talks given to Southampton Natural History Society was maintained by the recorder and Chair of Hampshire Bat Group, Nik Night who faced little opposition in describing bats as superheroes of the night.

Common Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus)

Common Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus)

In an extremely interesting and well structured talk, Nik Night covered an enormous amount of information from basic descriptions through to detailed accounts of threats to habitat, and a comprehensive call for action. The undoubted highlight of the evening was the sharing of exceptional thermal imaging videos of bats leaving and entering roost sites, as well as feeding over water. The military grade thermal imaging cameras which were made available on several days (or nights) to Hampshire Bat Group by Ian Baker for research purposes are so sophisticated that they can detect the minute changes in surface water temperature as a bat approaches, allowing the heat reflection to be seen as well as the thermal image of the bat itself.

Using the latest thermal technology from Selex Optronics, Ian Baker in conjunction with Hampshire Bat Group put to together some remakable sequences which are available on his Vimeo channel.

Thermal imaging is extremely useful in identifying the exact numbers of bats entering and leaving roost sites as well as showing behaviour usually unseen at night.

Members of Southampton Natural History Society can do a lot to help the study and conservation of bats in and around Southampton, and it all starts with recording sightings. Data is the key and the more information that can be collected about the current situation of bats in Southampton the better. And don’t worry if you can’t identify a particular species – just knowing where bats can be located will enable others to discover the more detailed information.

For more information about bats and what you can do to help, pleaser visit Hampshire Bat Group.