Wildlife Blog: Have you seen your local bats?

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25 August 2020


There are now 1400 species of bat found worldwide, accounting for 20% of all mammal species and can be found on every continent except Antarctica.

Here in the UK, we have 17 breeding species out of a total 18 (up to 10 have been identified in Milton Keynes), who are the best pest controllers we can ever have. However, with the ever-declining rate of insect species this has unfortunately led to the decline in the bats main source of food. But we know they can recover, and they need your help!

To help bats and other wildlife in Milton Keynes, here are some simple things that you can do:

  • Reduce your pesticide and herbicide use.
  • Embrace nature in your garden by creating a bug hotel.
  • Create a washing-up bowl sized pond.
  • Leave scruffy edges around your garden or cut your grass less.
  • Try and use local organic produce as much as you can.

For more information on gardening for bats please visit the Bat Conservation Trust website.

Where can I see bats in Milton Keynes?

At this time of year there is more bat activity in the night sky with juvenile pups learning to feed for themselves and adults seeking mates. They will be starting to fatten up in preparation for the autumn swarming and winter hibernation.

Bats can be found in all of our parklands but the best places to check out are along the river corridors, woodlands and the Grand Union Canal. From Great Linford Manor Park to Stony Stratford Nature Reserve and the Floodplain Forest. Walton and Furzton Lakes are also good spots to see these amazing stars of the night, go out around sunset and usually 30 minutes after, pipistrelles begin to emerge to feed on 3000 insects per night!

Due their super functioning metabolism bat species have an amazing ability to adapt and are able to host a number of viruses and remain unaffected by them. Still, the likelihood of anything being transferred is extremely low, plus a special wildlife licence is required to handle bats.

We have a few bat walk events coming up at the end of the summer but many have sold out fast due to restricted places due to social distancing. Keep an eye on our events page for cancellations.

Don’t forget to celebrate International Bat Night from 29 - 30 August 2020!



Discover our parks

  • Walton Lake

    Facilities:

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    Originally built as a 'balancing lake' for the River Ouzel, Walton Lake is one of the richest spots in Milton Keynes to enjoy wildlife.

    Refreshments
    There are no facilities on site; there are pubs in both Woughton and in Simpson (about the same distance to the south)

  • Stony Stratford Nature Reserve

    Facilities:

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    In 2008 with support from the Riverside Parks Group, work began to re-establish Stony Stratford Nature Reserve as a major local wildlife park. Parties of volunteers have cleared islands of scrub allowing Wildfowl to nest. There are also renovated and painted bird hides and the ponds have been cleared of invasive vegetation as well as the restoration of a sand martin nest bank, which has enabled Kingfishers to nest successfully.

    Refreshments
    There are no facilities at the reserve, but Stony Stratford high street is just a few minutes away.

  • Furzton Lake

    Facilities:

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    Furzton Lake’s open views make it a popular choice for joggers, cyclists and walkers. Created to act as a basin for floodwaters during rainy spells, the lake has matured into an easily accessible and peaceful oasis for local residents, office workers and wildlife.

    Refreshments
    The Furzton Lake Hotel is open for meals, snacks and hot and cold drinks.

  • Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve

    Facilities:

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    Set within Ouse Valley Park, the Floodplain Forest is the newest nature reserve in Milton Keynes and the most impressive wildlife habitat creation scheme in the city’s history.

    Refreshments
    There are no refreshment facilities at this location.

  • Great Linford Manor Park

    Facilities:

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    Great Linford Manor Park is a special, heritage-rich park set within the old village of Great Linford. It contains features that were first laid out centuries ago, including ponds and a Wilderness Garden which represent the English Landscape style of garden design that became popular for country estates during the 18th Century.

    Refreshments
    Refreshments and food can be found nearby at The Black Horse and the Nag’s Head which are open for lunch and supper. Milton Keynes Arts Centre has a small café where drinks can be purchased.

  • Nature inspired activities which you can do at home or in your local parks.
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