Last Sunday (the 22nd), I took a late afternoon stroll along the side of nearby College Reservoir, where I spotted this curious bat darting back and forth over the water besides the edge of the wood. I fought my way through some particularly vicious brambles before procuring a clearer look-out onto the lake; it was here that I spent an immensely enjoyable half-hour watching this superb Common Pipistrelle bat! I was very surprised to encounter one so early before nightfall, and also this late in the year, considering that many should presumably be snuggled up in crevices or bat boxes for the winter!
That said, I was extremely pleased to spend the dying light of the late afternoon watching this individual, as it continually flew back and forth in front of me, plucking up insects of the lake surface and darting here and there in an attempt to catch some in mid-air. It followed virtually the same flight path for the duration of its stay, which made for a good photographic opportunity. I must have taken over 600 images in an attempt to get a few in-focus frames! It was very difficult, with its darting and unpredictable flight pattern, but I managed a handful of images that I am relatively pleased with!
The Common Pipistrelle, Pipistrellus pipistrellus, is what this looks likely enough to be, although separation from the Soprano Pip is near impossible! I initially though the bat was Daubenton’s, due to its proximity to the water, but later learned that this species largely sports a white belly and underside, which is lacking in this individual. Pipistrelles are said to be able to consume over 3000 insects in one night!
All images were taken using a Canon 7D mkii and Canon 300mm f2.8 lens, largely at ISO 2000, 1/1000th sec at f2.8!