Today I helped with the counting of hibernating bats in the surroundings of Wageningen. Several places in the area, such as some old brick-yards and an old ice house, are monitored every year for hibernating bats by a group of volunteers, and this year (for the third time), I joined them.
Counting hibernating bats involves looking into every crack and crevice that you can find, while twisting your body into every imaginable position in order to see every corner. All the while looking upward in a dark, mouldy tunnel/chamber/hole. However, when you spot a small ball of fur with some ears and wings, your adrenaline starts rushing, as you have found another bat. People who have never seen a bat up close most probably can’t imagine it, but bats are actually very soft and fluffy! Unfortunately, spotting the bat is not everything, it has to be identified as well. Luckily we had some experienced people with us, and after a while everybody could identify most common species. During the day we saw quite some bats, of four species in total.
In the old ice house, the bats are always hanging more in the open, and I was able to photograph a whiskered bat, deep in hibernation.