Kingston University Biodiversity Action Group

12-05-2016: Eel’ve been batting around on the Hogsmill!

While I couldn’t resist the pun, it does sum up what we’ve been doing this week on the Hogsmill.

We had our annual bat walk around Middle Mill this year on Monday, followed by eel training on Wednesday.

Alison Fure started the evening by giving us a talk about bats, and a bit about their ecology. She was able to show us a dead bat which had been passed onto her, it had been killed by a cat, who had taken it home to its owner. 

She explained that at this time of year, if the weather has been bad, underweight bats (normal weight should be around 6 grams for a pipistrelle, but could be 3-4 grams) exiting hibernation are a bit weaker and also prone to being predated easily or just dying by being caught out in bad weather. 
She has had a number of injured bats brought to her to nurse back to health, as well as reports of bats which have been killed. 

We were lucky with the weather as it had been raining throughout the day, but volunteers persevered and turned up…

…and were rewarded when they heard and saw both common and soprano pipistrelle bats flying and feeding along the Hogsmill at Middle Mill. 

Our second event was the eel training on Wednesday. Where we trained 7 new people on how to undertake eel checks. 

As we had continued to be unlucky with the rain, when we got to the trap, the river levels were so high, that it wasn’t safe to go into the water. 

But we managed to show people how to do the checks by using an eel stunt double (aka Mr twiggy) to show people how to do the count and describe how we handle eels without injuring them.

After that the team posed for a photo for World Fish Migration Day before we all departed. 

We have a session in the river bank nest week - keeping the water cress off the other plants as well as pulling up the invasive balsams, picking up litter and putting up new posters which were washed away when the river levels rose this week.

If you are free to help on Wednesday from 1.30-4.30pm. Please drop me an email on with your contact details including a phone number so that I can call you back. 

If you can also think of better puns for our headlines let me know by posting the comments in the box never know, the next headline for one of our regular events could be one of yours :)

Until next time. 

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