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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

The Parkland Walk is a natural feeding corridor for bats, sitting as it does with Highgate and Queen's Wood at one end and Finsbury Park, with its large pond, at the other. The pond at Finsbury Park is a big draw for bats as it hosts such large numbers of insects.

The pipistrelle, at 4cm long, is the smallest and most common of Britain's 18 species and is one of the 7 that have been recorded on Parkland Walk. Bats are the only mammal that can truly fly, as opposed to glide. As flying uses up a lot of energy, they feast on large numbers over long distances and for much of the night. The tiny common pipistrelle can consume over 3,000 gnats, moths and flies in a single night.

Where and when to see them on the Walk
Bats sleep lightly during the day and leave their roost 15 - 30 minutes before sunset. Best places to see them are where there are small clearings in the tree cover. They generally fly at about 6 metres above ground so look upwards to see them swooping silhouetted against the evening sky. In Muswell Hill look at either end of the viaduct, in Highgate just in front of the railway tunnels and as you go through Crouch End and Stroud Green check around the bridges or by the open grassland areas.

Daubenton's bat
Sometimes referred to as the 'water bat', the Daubenton's bat ( see picture at the head of the newsletter) forages for small flies, such as midges, caddisflies and mayflies, just above water; it can even use its feet and tail to scoop up insects from the water's surface as it forages. Daubenton's bats roost near water, under bridges or in tunnels, and in holes in trees. During the summer, females form maternity colonies to have their pups. Daubenton's bats hibernate in caves, tunnels and mines over winter. They have been recorded in surveys of the railway tunnels at the Highgate end of the Walk. It's name was given to honour 18th century French naturalist Louise-Jean-Marie Daubenton.

Photo courtesy of Bat Conservation International and Minden Pictures.

Long eared bats
Less common on the Walk but have been noted in surveys and are likely to have come from Queen's Wood or Highgate Wood as they prefer mature broad-leafed woodland for nesting locations . They have a wingspan up to 28.5cm. They emerge from their roosts fairly late in the evening. 

Bats will roost in trees, caves, bridges, barns or houses, although, as modern building techniques change, that is less common now. Bat boxes help provide alternative sheltered accommodation.

Picture: Paul van Hoof

The tunnels at the Highgate end of Parkland Walk have now become a protected bat sanctuary where they often tuck themselves into gaps between bricks. Surveys indicate numbers are increasing annually.

Bats hang up-side down when they sleep which begs the question 'Why don't they fall when they are asleep?' Well, the tendons in their legs and feet are designed so that the weight of the bat causes the toes and claws to grip the foothold in the roost firmly, even when asleep. In most mammals the knees bend forwards. Bat knees bend the other way which helps them fly away from the surface on which they are hanging.   

All text from Friends of Parkland Walk. Read more from the group and sign-up to their newsletter  at www.parkland-walk.org.uk.

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I can't see that any of what these organs of temperate reporting have to say contradicts what Liz has shared. As she said, there is rabies in bats. But the risk of contracting it from them is very low

The Government agency, the Animal and Plant Health Agency, informs us that there were 10 cases of rabies being identified in bats in 2018. But they add the following:

Thankfully though, our winged friends like to keep their distance from us humans, even when they share the same building, making it unlikely that you will ever be in direct contact with a bat and be infected via a bat scratch, lick or bite. These beautiful creatures are best observed from a distance if you are lucky enough to spot one!

The NHS tell us that, in fact, there's only been one case of bat-to-human rabies transmission.

I think we need to keep our warnings in proportion to the risk. Trump is doing enough scaremongering for us all.

jThat meabs don't ignore it because it suits you. 

If Baldwins ever do close, would there be an opening for a Harringay Wet Market for bats etc near Parkland Walk or the New River? I'd greatly value Dolly's opinion.

Dolly, apart from the trolling re. bats, do ye have any interest in the old 5G masts?

You are the troll without a sensible point to make. 

Seriously chuckled at this. Bravo, etc.

All the argument aside - I have the pleasure of sometimes seeing them flying over my garden and enjoy spotting them.

Same way as I enjoy watching foxes (and currently their tiny cubs) playing and visiting my garden on a regular basis. Same way as I enjoy seeing bees, butterflies and any other creature - just being alive, free and happy.

Great post Hugh, thanks

Out loud laughter about the concept of a rabid(!) “bat lobby” spreading the untruth that the evil bat community is actually just misunderstood.

Very committed trolling. Well done Dolly.

A Trolly Dolly, indeed...

I find my tin-foil hat an extremely useful protection,  both again 5G waves and unprovoked bat-attack, I've modelled it on the good old British tommies tin hat, with a wide brim to deter winged mammals! 



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