Batman Returns


Since moving from the south-west of England I’ve seen an enormous increase of wildlife in my garden. There’s been evidence of foxes, although I haven’t seen any yet, and only last week it was the turn of a sparrow-hawk to put in an appearance. It was down on the ground but had not caught any of the sparrows or tits that are making use of the bird feeders in the garden. 

Yesterday was nice and sunny, both of my dogs were in the garden, doing what dogs do on sunny days. Laze around. Suddenly, one shot up, attracted by movement, only to find a small bat with a damaged wing fluttering around. There are 18 species of bat in the UK (17 of which are known to be breeding here), all of which are protected by law because their numbers have decreased so dramatically. So first step was to get the dogs inside so as not to disturb the bat more. 

Now cames my dilemma. What  do I do about bat with a broken wing. I’m not sure about the law but I know bats are protected and there’s massive fines if you mess with them too much. Subsequently, I found it can be up to £5000 if found guilty. Next thought was, where’s my camera? You don’t often get this opportunity to see a bat out during the day, let alone photograph it. 

Using the 55-200mm lens you don't have to get too close but you can see the damaged right hand wing

 

This little bat is not hanging around as it suddenly takes off and flies across the garden towards my garage. Next thing  it’s crawling up the wall, real fast like, I always thought it was only Batman that could do that. However, when I look really closely at the photographs I can see a little hook on the edge of the wing. 

Up it goes, pretty fast as well.

 

Eventually the bat seeks shelter under the window ledge. 

Having crawled about 4ft the bat is hiding in the shade

 

Now at this point it looks pretty settled, so time to turn to good ol’ Google to see if I can find out any information about what to do next. A quick search turns up the website for the Bat Conservation Trust which is a registered charity in England and Wales (1012361) and in Scotland (SC040116). On their site are guidelines on what to do if you find a bat, pictures to enable you to identify them, plus loads of other useful information. Having identified that the bat is probably a Common Pipistrelle and how to capture it, I’m now ready to go back and tackle it……and it’s gone. It’s nowhere to be found in the garden so I can only assume that it managed to fly away although it did look very weak when it was down on the ground. Maybe it just needed some height? Did it survive? Who knows? 

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