The Autumn inspection on 11th. October was a quiet affair with just me and Coral Edgumbe (social-distanced by a 10ft. Ladder – she was at the front and I brought up the rear!) looking at all the bat boxes, while Simon and Rosie Richardson went off on their own to do the Dormouse boxes.
We replaced a couple of the wooden boxes, and found just one Noctule and one Brown Long-eared bats in the others. In the six hanging boxes there were 6, 3, and 2 Soprano Pips. And one Soprano Pip in one of the chainsaw slabs.
But in the beginning of November I had an email from Gemma Crow, the CWT Reserves Warden letting me know that she had received a message to say that one of my boxes had fallen down. When I went to investigate I found that the last box I had hung up in the last tree on the top ride had come down, fairly soon after I had hung it up in the October visit. I couldn’t tell whether it was squirrel damage or just some rotten courlene rope I had used. Anyway, I took the chance to separate this box, AWD, from the nearby one which has had the breeding colonies in. So I “lynched” it over a bough on another Oak tree about 50m further east along that top ride. While I was at it, I looked at the other boxes from the ground. The only other bats were 2 unidentified in one of the chain-saw slabs and one Soprano Pip in another. None in the hanging boxes.
Finally, yesterday, 30th. Dec., Nic Harrison-White and I visited and took a ladder to hang AWD from a stronger strop (I’ve tried wire this time) and take down the “lynching“ rope. One of the hanging boxes above the leat had a single unidentified bat, and one of the chain-saw slabs had a single Soprano Pip and the hanging box in the corner of the second field, AWE had a single Soprano Pip.
So bats are still happy to hang around in these insulated boxes during the depths of winter. But, alarmingly, one of the chain-saw slabs had a Woodpecker shaped hole drilled in it just about where a bat would be inside! So any replacements for these are going to need some exterior protection from birds.