bat

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. 

Let’s Get Batty!!!

A new week, a new update on our bat adventures!

Monday, July 15th, dusk.

Tonight we decided to wander up Quebec Ave and then Clendenan. As we walked along we were getting some faint action on our bat detector, but really didn’t see anything for quite a few blocks. When we hit the corner of Quebec and Humberside a large bat flew over us. This isn’t surprising as the night before we saw lots of bats in and around Humberside (high school) and the abandoned lawn bowling grounds a block away. I want to return there this week for more batty goodness!

Type of bats: Hoary bat? Big Brown Bat?
No. Mosquito bites: 2

Wednesday, July 17th, dusk

Tonight we saw and heard a lot of bats! I also got a lot of mosquito bites. We had a lot of rain and in combination with the humidity there are a lot of bitey bugs out.

We first walked west along Glenlake Ave. and as we approached Clendenan we saw two Big Brown Bats chasing each other. It was as if they were playing with each other. We then walked up Evelyn Ave towards Annette and heard quite a few bats. Next we made our way back over to High Park and there were a lot of noisy bats flying over. By this point, it was too dark to see them.

Overall, tonight was a good night for bat watching!

If you are curious about what a Big Brown Bat sounds like, check out OSU Bio Museum website.

https://u.osu.edu/biomuseum/2017/08/09/bat-sounds/

Type of bats: Big Brown Bat
No. Mosquito bites: 5

Thursday, July 18, dusk

Where are my bats at! We heard barely a peep tonight. There seemed to be a lot less bugs out, so maybe the bats weren’t having as much of a feast as last night. We did hear one bat on Pacific Ave. near Glenlake Ave. It swooped down really low, but it was too dark to see it. A disappointing night of bat adventures!

The one mosquito that was out… of course feasted on my right calf.

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

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

Saturday, July 20th, 9pm on

Nice night for a walk in a thunderstorm! It was super humid and we were getting some great bat action… then there was lightning and a down pour. We decided to head home. We were fortunate to see and hear several bats.

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

Bats and Mosquito Bites!

I love bats! I always have. I have fond memories of playing hide and seek or tag at dusk as a child and gleefully watch them swoop over our heads as they feasted on mosquitos. When the other children screamed in fear that they would get caught in their hair (a myth by the way), I stood mesmerized as I observed their nightly activity with joy!

I was reminded last summer how much I loved bat watching after going to a bat walk at the High Park Nature Centre. We were able to use their bat detectors. During the walk we didn’t have much activity, at least not in the location they took us. Afterwards, Thea (Thea and Adam had joined Zoltan and myself) rented one of the bat detectors and we went for our own walk. A few hundred feet from the Nature Centre is a rink and a pool. They had their very bright lights still on. Around the lights were many insects dancing around and at least a dozen or so bats swooping in for a feast. The bat detector was singing and we were squealing with glee! My passion for bats had awoken again!


Fast forward a few months later and Zoltan and I got married. As part of a wedding gift to us, Thea and Adam gave us a Batseeker Bat detector. Since getting it, I have been itching to use it! Since spring, we have been taking it out with us, but it wasn’t until just recently that we have been getting activity. The hot weather brings out the bugs and the bats!

Recently, we have been going on nightly bat seeking walks every night (when it isn’t raining) and the last few nights there has been a lot of activity! Especially, in my neighbourhood. Our streets are lined with trees and old Victorians with lots of places for bats to roost and feed. We are going to search for bats while we can (until the cool weather sends them hibernating) and I thought what I would do is blog about it. Below is some of last weeks activity. I plan on blogging when we go on our bat adventures.

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.

July 13th — (High Park/approx 10 pm) We went to the skating rink in High Park to see if we could pick anything up. We saw some very high up, but the detector wasn’t getting anything. Because this is a lower end detector, they may have been too high up. On our walk out, amongst the lower hanging trees, we finally heard bats.

Type of bats: Hoary bat? Big Brown Bat?
No. Mosquito bites: 2

July 14
— (High Park/The Junction/approx 10 pm) We walked along Glenlake (near High Park Avenue) and immediately picked up activity. It was too dark to see where the bats were flying, but we could tell by the sounds of the detector that they were flying low. We then walked along Pacific Avenue and Medland Avenue and picked up some activity. It wasn’t until we started back down High Park Avenue until we got the most activity. There is a house where I see bats flying around dusk and as we stood near that house the bat detector went wild!

Type of bats: Big Brown Bat (according to the type of sounds we were hearing)
No. Mosquito bites:

July 15 — (High Park/The Junction/dusk) We started our journey along Glenlake (going west) and up Pine Crest Road. There was a lot of activity and because it was dusk, we could see the bats.

We continued north on Pine Crest Road to Humberside and the High School grounds, then over to Clendenan. There was a lot of activity on the school grounds and the old lawn bowling grounds (on Clendenan). These were much bigger bats. Even as we walked up Clendenan we heard and a saw a much smaller bat (likely a smaller brown bat).

Type of bats: Big Brown Bat (according to the type of sounds we were hearing)
No. Mosquito bites: 3

Prior — We have checked out High Park and University of Toronto, but I think it was still to cool those nights. We will be revisiting them.

Links to bat information:

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