Aerial acrobats – Somerset Life article

We’re famous! (almost).   This article on your Bechsteins work was published 28th Feb 2013 in Somerset Life magazine.

Excerpt below:

If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise. No, not teddy bears, but the rare Bechstein’s bat species. The Somerset Bat Group elaborates

On a muggy, starless night, in the midst of the ancient wood a trap has been set. Looking for all the world like a giant, squareshaped harp on legs, the trap, constructed from strong steel and light aluminium, employs a mesh made from fine fishing line. Its intended catch is lured using sounds pitched above the level of normal human hearing. What is the purpose of such an elaborate device? Somerset Life goes down to the woods to investigate

The harp trap is a good way to catch a variety of woodland bats with the minimum risk of harming them, explains Paul Kennedy, a licensed bat worker who is supervising tonights catch. Bats fly into the strings of the harp and are directed downwards into a large canvas pouch with pockets into which they can crawl and from which they can be extracted.

Paul and fellow volunteers from the Somerset Bat Group are using harp traps to survey over fifty woods in the county for bats. The project is being coordinated across the southern counties of England by the Bat Conservation Trust, the national charity devoted to the conservation of bats.

The projects focus is a particularly elusive species Bechsteins bat thought to be among the rarest of all 17 bat species resident in the UK. They live only in ancient woods, and not in every wood by any means, Paul Kennedy continues.