Join the search for ‘things that go squeak in the night’ and come on down to the big bat bonanza
17 August 2007
“We’re going on a bat hunt! And you can come too!” That’s the open invitation from The Holyrood Park Ranger Service, which is hosting two special events for anyone who’s ever wanted to find out all about the wonderful world of bats.
On Saturday 25 August 2007, from 8pm to 10pm, there’s a guided walk offering the opportunity to learn about, listen to and look for the bats which can be found in the Park.
Conservation Ranger Natalie Taylor will talk about the types of bats which live in Holyrood Park and take her ‘bat patrol team’ to the most likely places to see these fascinating but little-known mammals. And electronic bat detectors will help the group locate bats; these allow the extremely high-pitched sounds bats make to be heard by humans. Bats use the returning echoes of these sounds to locate their insect prey - a system called echolocation.
Natalie said: “There are at least three species of bat within Holyrood Park - two types of pipistrelle, which is Britain’s most common bat and whose natural habitat is trees and parkland, and the Daubenton’s bat, which can often be seen skimming over lochs and reservoirs. Our evening bat walk, which ties in with European Bat Night, will provide an opportunity to learn all about and see some of the Park’s many nocturnal inhabitants and visitors.”
The ‘Things That Go Squeak in the Night’ evening bat walk is aimed at anyone over the age of eight and booking, by calling The Holyrood Ranger Service on 0131 652 8150, is essential.
And if the date or late hour of the bat walk doesn’t suit, there’s no need to miss out on the experience of joining the Ranger Service to find out about bats. On the following day, Saturday 26 August 2007, there’s a ‘Big Bat Bonanza’ fun family event at Holyrood Park from 11am to 3pm. The day’s full programme includes a wide variety of informative and entertaining activities for grown-ups and children, with trails, interactive art and crafts sessions and lots more.
Entry to both the ‘Big Bat Bonanza’ and ‘Things That Go Squeak in the Night’ event is free.
Notes for editors:
For digital photos of Conservation Ranger Natalie Taylor holding a pipistrelle bat and checking bat boxes at Holyrood Park, please contact Historic Scotland Marketing and Media on 0131 668 8959. Natalie Taylor holds a special licence from Scottish Natural Heritage which permits her to handle bats and disturb their roosts; without such a licence, it is illegal to disturb bats in any way.
Over past decades, numbers of bats and their roosts (which are protected by law) have declined because feeding areas have been lost and the use of pesticides has reduced insect numbers. And bats depend on plentiful insects such as midges, small flies and moths; in one night, a single bat can eat 3,000 insects. For further information on bats, visit The Bat Conservation Trust website at www.bats.org.uk.
Historic Scotland, which manages Holyrood Park, is committed to protecting bat colonies in the properties and sites in its care, and a number of initiatives have been introduced to support bat conservation, such as planting bushes and flowers which attract the insects bats feed on. At Holyrood Park, a number of bat boxes have been installed in trees to provide roosts; a practice which has also taken place at other Historic Scotland sites. Hollow dead trees are favoured roosting venues but due to health and safety considerations, many of these have to be pulled down.
Holyrood Park is one of Edinburgh’s most famous and popular historic landmarks. Encompassing a 5-mile radius of land, it has probably been a Royal Park since the 12th century. The Park is both a Scheduled Ancient Monument and Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is full of geological and archaeological treasures dating back thousands of years. These include Arthur's Seat, one of four hill forts dating from around 2000 years ago, a prehistoric farmstead of scooped circular hut, east of Dunsapie Crag, and the remains of medieval and later rig-and-furrow cultivation. The Park is also an important habitat for extensive ranges of plant and wildlife, including a wide variety of birds.
The Park is in the care of Historic Scotland which is responsible for maintaining the natural environment and presenting the Park for the enjoyment of the local community and visitors. The Ranger Service based at Holyrood Park cares for this unique historic and natural attraction and provides a range of important educational services.
Historic Scotland has 345 outstanding historic properties and sites in its care. These include some of the leading tourism attractions in the country, including Edinburgh, Stirling, and Urquhart Castles, Fort George, Linlithgow Palace, the Border Abbeys, and Skara Brae. For further details visit: www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/properties.
Historic Scotland’s mission is to safeguard Scotland’s historic environment and to promote its understanding and enjoyment.