Sharpham Stories - Bats in the dimpsy
Published: 15 August 2019
Daphne Pleace writes stories about Sharpham - here she talks about our forthcoming Bat & Stargazing walk
Bats in the dimpsy
I have recently moved house and a few evenings ago, tired of unpacking and cleaning, I went into my tiny west facing garden for a few moments to enjoy the stillness (and a glass of wine).
It was the time of ‘dimpsy light’ as we call it here in Devon. Just past sunset: quiet and still. Not a breath of wind, not a sound, no more scolding blackbirds, no more swooping house martins… but wait! What was that? Too quick and too small even for a house martin…
“A black glove thrown up at the light” was how D. H. Lawrence described it in his poem simply entitled ‘Bat’. And bat it was; probably a common pipistrelle as they are the most frequently seen bat in the UK - though sadly bats, like much of our wildlife, are being seen less and less and in fewer places.
The good news for Devon though is that for a variety of reasons we do batter than other counties, recording 16 species out of a possible 18, including the rare Nathusius’ pipistrelle (pictured right) and the Greater Horseshoe.
Here at the Sharpham Trust we’re quite batty too. Along with our partners, the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project and Devon Wildlife Trust, we’ve recorded 8 species so far.
One of the reasons Devon - and particularly the Sharpham Estate - does well for bats is because we have less light pollution. Street lighting disorientates bats, and they love the darkness and variety of habitat on the Estate.
We’re taking advantage of both our bat population and our dark skies for our Bat and Stargazing Walk coming up on Sunday 1 September. There’ll be a tour of the night skyscape, courtesy of Dartmoor Skies, and we’ll have a moth trap out too, so - weather permitting - it promises to be a packed evening.
I will definitely be there… for sure there will be a story to tell afterwards. There are always stories to tell from night-time adventures.
Find out about Sharpham events here: www.sharphamtrust.org/events
Daphne is a volunteer story-teller for the Sharpham Trust. She blogs at www.daphnepleace.co.uk/blog
Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat picture courtesy of Phil Richardson/Devon Bat Project
Nathusius' Pipistrelle picture courtesy of Mnolf [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons