bat seeker

But… You promised bats!

Where have the bat posts gone? You promised us bats! Yes. Yes I did, however, life got in the way. Since my last post I had a bad reaction to all of the mosquitos bites I got and things in general got really busy! Due to all of that, I haven’t had time to get out for our regular dusk strolls. But do not fret, I have a new adventure that I will be posting about soon.

During the glorious month of Halloween, my Gomez (aka my husband) and I will be heading off for an adventure in Japan! I’ve been dreaming of this trip for many years and I’m beyond excited that we will finally be going! One of the best parts (besides seeing family and visiting all of the things on my crazy ‘to visit’ list) is that our first few nights we will be staying in a hotel with a giant Godzilla head on top of it! GOJIRA!!! Ask me how excited I am. No really. Ask me!

Back to bats for a moment. Japan has a lot of bats and I will be taking our bat detector with us. To find out more about The Ryukyu Flying Fox click here and for the Japanese House Bat click here.

In writing news, I am doing my (I swear it this time) final read through of Freaks & Grimm and then it is off to a couple more readers. Once I get their feedback, it is being sent to a publisher. I loved writing this book, but I have another story scratching at my brain currently (a 1930s based novel), as well as another novel idea for the continuing story of Freaks & Grimm.

If we are able to fit in a few more Bat Adventures before the cooler weather drives them into hibernation I will do a blog post .

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The Bat Days of August

12-18, August 2019

Sadly…. this will be a short blog post. I wasn’t able to go on any bat adventures this week. Last Sunday, the day we had our best bat sightings yet, I was bitten 17 times my mosquitos (from the knees down). There was a reason the bats were so active that night. Unfortunately, I had a bad reaction to being bitten and had a few sleepless nights and decided to avoid being out after dusk due to the fact I didn’t want to get any new bites. How that the bites are healing up, we are hoping to get out this week.

One of the reason I got so badly bitten is I won’t use bug spray. The natural stuff doesn’t work on me and the chemical laced stuff is bad for the environment.

Here is a link to an article about why we need bats! https://www.bats.org.uk/about-bats/why-bats-matter

Type of bats: Large Brown Bat
No. Mosquito bites: Too many to count!

Here is a link I’ve created to all of our bat sightings.

Important: Do not handle bats. They can carry the rabies virus. Only those who have been properly vaccinated and have knowledge of bats should be handling them. If you find a bat in your home call a bat rescue. Do not call an exterminator, call a rescue. Bats are important for our environment. I have links below for rescues.

Types of bats in Ontario: https://onnaturemagazine.com/bat-guide.html
High Park Nature Centre: https://www.highparknature.org/wiki/wiki.php?n=Mammals.Bats
Bat rescues: http://www.ontariowildliferescue.ca/wildlifecentres/?care=bat

Bats, Bats and more Bats!

You are likely thinking to yourself, will Lizzie’s blog only be about bats? No… not to worry, I will blog about other things, such as there will be some Freaks & Grimm updates coming as well as Japan planning. I’m on a bit of a bat blog frenzy because they are only really active for a few months here as they hibernate for several months. That’s right folks, in colder climates such as Southern Ontario, bats will hibernate in the fall/winter months (approximately six months), usually from late fall (Oct/Nov) until spring arrives (Mar/Apr). During hibernation bats will wake up every once in a while to hydrate themselves, otherwise we won’t see them. I need to get my bat adventures in when I can!

Contrary to popular belief not all bats hibernate in caves, in fact due to urbanization, many bats will hibernate in attics or the walls of homes. Generally it is Big Brown Bats that will be found hibernating in homes. Some Canadian bat species such as Silver-haired, Red and Hoary Bats will migrate several hundred kilometres between summer and winter roosts to warmer climates. 

Here is a great article by Canadian bat expert Brock Fenton. Funnily enough Brock is my neighbours cousin and I hope to one day meet him. That would be the ultimate bat nerd moment for me! https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/bat

Thursday, August 8, 8pm.

It was a cooler night (finally) and a bit breezy so I didn’t have my hopes high. We decided to wander along Vine avenue and we were pleasantly surprised. We saw a bat (swooped by us) at the Sweet Potato parking lot. We also had a strong signal on the Bat Seeker as we sat in the park.

High Park never fails to disappoint us. We heard some very strong bat sounds just south of Humberside.

Type of bats: Big Brown Bat
No. Mosquito bites: 0

Saturday, August 10, 8pm.

We had the pleasure to be poolside at a friends BBQ last night. When dusk hit we got out the Bat Seeker. We saw and heard at least two different bats flying around. The bats we saw were much larger than the ones we have recently seen and around the same size as the Silverhaired Bats we’ve seen at High Park. I’m wondering if that is possibly what we saw. If you know what kinds of bats tend be be in Toronto’s Rouge Hill neighbourhood, please let me know.

This is a great read for bat lovers. https://dr6j45jk9xcmk.cloudfront.net/documents/2790/guide-bats.pdf

Type of bats: Silverhaired Bat?
No. Mosquito bites: 3

Sunday, August 11, 9pm.

Tonight was the best sightings we’ve had yet. There were at least three bats flying around our back yard at the same time and we watching the magical dance of two bats playing together! The sounds coming out of the Bat Seeker were insane!!! The reason the bats were so active was the mosquitos were really thick tonight. I hope we get a few more nights like this!

Type of bats: Big Brown Bat
No. Mosquito bites: I lost count. They feasted tonight!

Here is a link I’ve created to all of our bat sightings.

Important: Do not handle bats. They can carry the rabies virus. Only those who have been properly vaccinated and have knowledge of bats should be handling them. If you find a bat in your home call a bat rescue. Do not call an exterminator, call a rescue. Bats are important for our environment. I have links below for rescues.

Types of bats in Ontario: https://onnaturemagazine.com/bat-guide.html
High Park Nature Centre: https://www.highparknature.org/wiki/wiki.php?n=Mammals.Bats
Bat rescues: http://www.ontariowildliferescue.ca/wildlifecentres/?care=bat

Myths and Truths About Bats

This week I wanted to cover some myths and misconceptions about bats. As I was researching information to post here, I actually saw this question in a forum. “Will I turn into a vampire if a bat bites me?” Yes, this is a question someone actually asked.

Myths

  1. Bats are blind — Bat are not blind. I repeat bats are not blind! I think that people assume that because they use echolocation to navigate and find food.
  2. Bats want to drink your blood — This myth stems from an actual bat named a Vampire Bat. Vampire Bats generally feed on cattle not humans. And… if a Vampire Bat bites you, you will turn into a vampire. Just kidding… you will not turned into a vampire!
  3. Bats will fly into and get caught into your head — Unless you have bugs in your hair… this likely won’t happen.

Truths

  1. Ecosystem — Bats are incredibly important to our ecosystem. Not only do they keep down mosquito population they also pollinate flower. To find out more, click on the following link http://www.batswithoutborders.org/role-of-bats-in-our-ecosystems.html.
  2. Rabies — Some bats carry the rabies virus so it is very important not to handle bats unless you have been vaccinated. If you do get bitten (which is rare) or scratched by one, please go to emergency. It’s better to be safe.


Thursday, August 1st, 9:30ish pm.

Another busy week. Tonight was the first time we were able to get out. Also… how is it August already?

Tonight we walked down my favourite street. Once you hear the name, it will make sense. That street name? Gothic Avenue. Thinking about it now, that should have been our first bat walk. Gothic Avenue was busy with feeding bats. We hadn’t even walked 1/2 a block and heard 7 to 8 bats. Unfortunately, it was too dark to see them, which is too bad because most of them were flying really low.

We plan on going back over to Gothic Avenue, however, we will go much earlier.

Type of bats: Big Brown Bat
No. Mosquito bites: 0


Friday, August 2nd, 8:30ish pm.

Tonight was a much cooler night and due to that a lot less bugs, however, we hear a lot of bat action on the bat detector! It seems that bugs are attracted to lights and due to that most of tonights bat action was closer street lights. Tonight we heard quite a lot bat sounds along Clendenan just north of Annette and south of Annette. We also heard quite a few bats in the athletic field for Humberside High School and on High Park halfway between Glenlake and Humberside.

My husband came up with a genius idea for me to create a map for our bat sightings. Here it is. 

Type of bats: Big Brown Bat
No. Mosquito bites: 1

Saturday, August 3rd, 10:30ish pm.

We only faintly heard two bats tonight. We were likely out when they weren’t busily feeding. Dusk and 4 am ish seem to be their busy feeding time.

Type of bats: Big Brown Bat
No. Mosquito bites: 0

Sunday (4th), 10:30-11ish pm

Again I think we were likely out when they weren’t busily feeding. Last night we wanted to show our friends how the bat detector worked, but unfortunately, only got a faint bat signal. Of course, after we went our separate ways, we heard a very low flying bat at the corner of High Park/Glenlake.

Type of bats: Big Brown Bat
No. Mosquito bites: 2 but those happened at the pub patio we were on.

Important: Do not handle bats. They can carry the rabies virus. Only those who have been properly vaccinated and have knowledge of bats should be handling them. If you find a bat in your home call a bat rescue. Do not call an exterminator, call a rescue. Bats are important for our environment. I have links below for rescues.

Types of bats in Ontario: https://onnaturemagazine.com/bat-guide.html
High Park Nature Centre: https://www.highparknature.org/wiki/wiki.php?n=Mammals.Bats
Bat rescues: http://www.ontariowildliferescue.ca/wildlifecentres/?care=bat

Bat Adventures and Crow Sighting Map

My husband came up with a genius idea for me to create a map for our bat sightings. I’ve also added in crow sightings. Here it is. 

Where Is My Bat Signal?

A new week, a new update on our bat adventures! How many bats will we see with the cooler weather? {that changed quickly and the weather got hot again near the end of the week}

Tuesday, July 23rd, 10:30ish pm.

We haven’t been able to get out last night or tonight. Our schedules wouldn’t allow it, however, when I got home, just as I settled into the couch, we heard a bat chirping outside! It sounded like this — https://www.futurity.org/bats-brains-sounds-1110342-2/

Type of bats: Big Brown Bat
No. Mosquito bites: 0

Wednesday, July 24th, dusk.

Tonight was a slow bat night. We caught some chirps, but didn’t get anymore than that. I found that with the cooler, breezy night, I wasn’t seeing many bugs. Bats eat their weight in bugs and they may have been feeding closer to where the bugs are more active. Possibly closer to Grenadier Pond. One night I will test out this theory.

Here is a link with information on bat feeding habits. https://www.batworlds.com/bat-feeding/

Type of bats: Big Brown Bat?
No. Mosquito bites: 0

Saturday, July 27th, 8:00 pm

I haven’t felt well for the last few days. I seem to be fighting off a cold. Today I needed to go for a walk and am glad I did. We decided to walk through High Park and wholly Batman there were a lot of bats out! It makes sense as there were a lot of bugs aka flying vampires. Damn mosquitos. The best part was that it was still light enough out that we could make out the types of bats we were seeing.

Tonight we wandered the west side of the park. I wanted to be closer to Grenadier Pond, but the mosquitos were to thick so we went to the top of the hill, and we were not disappointed. We saw both small brown bats and large brown bats. They were also flying very low. We then wandered over by the pool and there seemed to be a huge feast of bugs over there, we were picking up multiple bats at a time on the bat detector. It was a really great night for observing bats.

If I had a bat detector as a kid, my parents would never have been able to get me to come in at night.

For those wondering how bats feed, here is another link on Echolocation — https://askabiologist.asu.edu/echolocation

Type of bats: Big Brown Bat, Little Brown Bat
No. Mosquito bites: 3

Sunday, July 28th, dusk

Tonight was our best night yet! When we first got to the park, we started at the north end. We entered the park shortly after 8 pm, which was too early, but knew we would be at the south end by dusk. As we approached the Old Mill bridge along the Humber River we were in for a treat. There were at least two, possibly three bats flying near us and when a I say near us, they were swooping by just a few feet from us. They were so close we could hear them chirping without the bat detector! When we listened to the bat detector we could definitely hear a few bats at a time. If we weren’t getting eaten alive by mosquitos we would have stayed much longer.

As we were leaving the park at the south end we saw some more bats. They were also swooping quite low and close to use. One thing I noticed about the bats here is they were flying in a large continuous circle why they fed. Did you know bats fly with their mouths open? Makes sense.

To find out more about the bats of Toronto and other wildlife, please click here!

Type of bats: Big Brown Bat
No. Mosquito bites: 6, but it could be more.

Important: Do not handle bats. They can carry the rabies virus. Only those who have been properly vaccinated and have knowledge of bats should be handling them. If you find a bat in your home call a bat rescue. Do not call an exterminator, call a rescue. Bats are important for our environment. I have links below for rescues.

Types of bats in Ontario: https://onnaturemagazine.com/bat-guide.html
High Park Nature Centre: https://www.highparknature.org/wiki/wiki.php?n=Mammals.Bats
Bat rescues: http://www.ontariowildliferescue.ca/wildlifecentres/?care=bat