Rehoming Bats

Rehoming Bats

Prior to exclusion compensatory habitat was provided at two of the Shaft Road mines in 2006. They were both single entrance, stagnant mines.

Firs and Byfield formed a dynamic airflow complex, since they had many entrances. The complex provided a large range of thermal conditions for successful hibernation by all bat types. The two Shaft Road mines chosen were Grey Gables and Mount Pleasant mines. Major works were carried out to link the two mines by a cut and cover tunnel, and further ventilate the new complex by creating a large vent shaft. An incubator chamber was also built to try to entice the Greater Horseshoe bats to breed there. Subsequent monitoring using temperature loggers showed that thermal ranges were very good. Bat monitoring surveys by Eco Megas, winter captures and exit counts showed that these measures were successful for hibernation by all bat types.

Summer use at the newly created Shaft Complex after bat exclusion from Byfield was not as successful as in winter. In the Springs of 2008 and 2009, Greater horseshoe bats could not be located using any of the Combe Down mines. Later in 2008, many adults moved into Horsecombe Mine and had an unknown number of babies there that summer. It seems that these bats prefer to stay close to the traditional foraging areas identified by the radio-tracking study in 2000, rather than make use of an incubator chamber provided further away.

The bat mitigation works allowed all bats back into Byfield from early June 2009 and the successful engineering works have stabilised their roosts for at least another hundred years.

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Bat Galleries