Batty goings on in Orkney

Do bats really bide in belfries? Why do bats “buzz” biting beasties? How many sorts of bat are there in Orkney and what do they make of Orkney’s blustery weather and short summer nights?

Have you already seen bats in Orkney? How can you find out what bats may be living in your area?

Anne Youngman of the Bat Conservation Trust in Scotland is coming to Orkney soon for a bat discovery weekend and will be joined by some of the County’s growing band of bat enthusiasts to give folk of all ages a glimpse of the extraordinary world of bats and a chance to share experiences of bats in the County.

On Friday 9th September Anne will present an illustrated talk at the Cromarty Hall in St Margaret’s Hope entitled “Going Batty in Orkney”. If you are baffled, bemused or bewildered by bats this is a great opportunity to learn about their fascinating world.

Anne is also very keen to meet folk who have already seen bats, particularly in Burray and South Ronaldsay, as not much is known about where bats live in the linked South Isles.

So, whatever your interest in bats, come along at 7:30pm to learn more and share your own batty experiences. This Orkney Field Club bat group event is supported by the Scapa Flow Landscape Partnership Scheme and admission is free to all.

For further information please e-mail orkneybats@hotmail.co.uk or phone 01856 852037.

The location for the Friday night talk has been very carefully chosen. The habitat around St Margaret’s Hope looks excellent for bats, but at present nothing is known about bats in the area.

Have you seen bats recently in The Hope, or elsewhere in South Ronaldsay or Burray? If so, please get in touch with the bat group on orkneybats@hotmail.co.uk, and your sightings will definitely add to our knowledge of Orkney’s bats.

On Saturday 10th September Anne will be with the RSPB Wildlife Explorers in Firth Kirk Hall (on the corner of Heddle Road in Finstown) from 6:30 to 9:30pm for a fun-filled evening of batty activities for bairns. All children aged 5 to 12 are very welcome, but those under 8 must be accompanied by an adult.

Come along and be amazed by Anne’s brilliant batty pictures and exhibits then learn how to be a bat detective and look for bats in the community garden. Take part in batty games to find out what it’s like to be a bat and make a batty souvenir to take home.

Admission is £1 for members of Wildlife Explorers and £1.50 for non-members and includes all craft materials and a batty snack. For further information please phone Aileen on 851755 or Jane on 841212.

For further information, please contact Julian Branscombe, SFLPS Manager, on 01856 852037 or julian.branscombe@orkney.gov.uk or Anne Youngman, Bat Conservation Trust on 01786 822107 or ayoungman@bats.org.uk

The Bat Conservation Trust

Is the leading NGO solely devoted to the conservation of bats and the landscapes on which they rely. The Trust’s work spans discovering more about bats and how they use the landscape, taking practical conservation action and influencing policy to secure bat populations, and inspiring and engaging people with bats and bat conservation.  Anne Youngman is the BCT’s Scottish Project Officer.

The Orkney RSPB Wildlife Explorer group launched in September 2009 and has a strong following of enthusiastic young people aged 5-12. The group explores wildlife all over Orkney and members are taking part in the RSPB’s Wildlife Action Awards.

The Scapa Flow Landscape Partnership Scheme will spend around £2.2 million over three years on 48 projects promoting and supporting the heritage – wildlife, landscape, cultural heritage, history and archaeology – in and around Scapa Flow and the South Isles of Orkney.

The scheme has received £1.3 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, with further support from Orkney Islands Council, the European Union, Historic Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, the RSPB, trusts and private donations.