Bats About!

Having heard recently from a friend in Wales that he had noctule and common pipistrelle bats around his house in the previous week and as we had such a warm and beautiful day on Sunday, I thought it might be a good time to go out with the bat detector that night (9th March), to see if any of our local bats have started to become active.

Sure enough I had quite a bit of activity from common pipistrelle/pipistrelle species amounting to at least four individuals, recorded at the back of my house, down Church lane and towards the bottom of the village. Some of the echolocation calls were accompanied by social calls. These are the lower frequency calls shown in the Analook sonogram below. The mean peak frequency of the main call is 48.63 kHz, which falls within the upper range of common pipistrelle, many of the other calls recorded ranged from 49-51kHz which is borderline between upper range common and lower range soprano pipistrelle, so calls recorded at these frequencies are usually put down as pipistrelle species.

Common Pipistrelle Analook

Birds & Bats!


There has been quite a lot of winter bird activity around Sheldon in the last few weeks. I see in the Parish newsletter that some people have noted the starlings flying over at sunrise and evenings, it is good to see them. I have also noticed them feeding in fields along Johnson Lane.

This species has suffered a rapid decline in population in recent years in England and as a result is a priority UK Biodiversity Action Plan species and it is also on our Red list! There is evidence that this population decline is due to poor first-year overwinter survival rates, which is thought to at least in part, caused by to changes in pastoral farmland management.

The first graph below shows the East Midlands Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) index and illustrates the decline from 1994 -2012. The lower graph illustrates the decline in England as a whole from BBS and Common Bird Census (CBC) index from 1960-2011.

bbsr4sstarlSource: BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey.

cbcbbsenlstarlSource: BTO

Further information can be found at

Other birds seen around the village in recent weeks include a pair of ravens in the centre of the village; approximately 200 black-headed gulls and a dozen or so lesser black-backed gulls in fields along Johnson Lane, flocks of fieldfares have also been seen fairly regularly.


I put up a few bat boxes around the village about 18 months ago and I had chance to check them the other week, with the help of Georgina, but there was no sign of any use by bats so far, although some had been used by roosting birds, probably wrens or blue tits, judging by the droppings inside. There are no guarantees that bats will use them of course, and sometimes it can take a few years if they do, but I will continue to check them annually and hopefully put a few more up.

Below is a map of bat sightings around the village over the last 3 years, you can click on it to enlarge it, I will try and do a better quality one later that can be accessed on the side bar. These are species I have recorded on my bat detector or in a couple of cases dead bats found.

Bat Map V1 crop

Bat Map

Key: Pp = Common Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus); Ppy = Soprano Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pygmaeus); Mm = Whiskered Bat (Myotis mysticinus); Md = Daubenton’s bat (Myotis daubentonii); Msp = Myotis species; Pa = Brown long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus); Nn = Noctule bat (Nyctalus noctula).

Hedgehog in Distress!

Last Thursday I came home from work to find a young hedgehog rummaging around in the grass at the back of the house. This is bit unusual as hedgehogs are normally nocturnal. There was clearly something not quite right. It ate a small bit of dog food I put down for it. Then it started to walk off, it was then I could see it had an injured rear leg; its left rear leg was dragging behind.

I had  a look on the internet for a wildlife hospital, eventually John rang round and found someone. We put it in a box with a lid with some food and water, i took it to work next day and a chap from Carsington came out and took him away. I am not sure of the outcome, but apparently if the leg is broken, they usually either amputate the limb or sadly put them to sleep.