BioBlitz: Counting the beats

St Anne's Park

Walking at dusk in St Anne’s Park pointing walkman sized machines in the air, a group of about forty wanderers were scouring the skies for some of Ireland’s protected mammals last night. After about fifteen minutes the first set of quick beats were heard on the bat detector and excitement spread through the group.


Over the course of the evening we spotted two species of bat: Common and Soprano Pipistrelle. These are the smallest and most common bat species on the island. Tina Aughney from Bat Conservation Ireland dispelled the common myths about the flying mammals who are closer related to us than mice in terms of evolution. Their keen sight at dusk and echolocation when it gets darker also means no hats are needed as they can easily avoid flying into your hair! 

Listen here to what we picked up on the bat detector on two of the times they flew overhead. This machine is needed as the sounds are too high a frequency for the human ear (50 kHz):

The bat walk was the first event as part of the BioBlitz in St Anne’s Park and North Bull Island. I’d never taken part in an event such as this before and I’d highly recommend it. I’m going to sign up for the All Ireland Daubenton’s Bat Waterway Survey this summer inspired by this experience.

The BioBlitz is just beginning and will be taking place in six locations across the country today. As well as events, scientists and the public are tasked with identifying as many species as possible. The records will be compiled and sent to the National Biodiversity Data Centre in Waterford.

Events in Dublin include birdsong identification workshops, compost making, tree trails and visits to the seals. Click here for a list of events in the Abbeyleix Bog, Abbeyfeale Park, Bull Island and St. Anne’s Park, Cabragh Wetlands, McGillycuddy Reeks and the Phoenix Park: Local BioBlitz

Photo: Bat Walk in St. Anne's Park, Copyright ScienceCalling.com