- Distance from Montgomery – 5 miles South West
The evening started at 8:30pm with a Wildlife Trust Quiz about Bats and Moths. Two Wildlife Trust local groups had arranged to meet at Roundton Hill Nature reserve to combine their resources to survey the local Bats and Moths. They were the Montgomeryshire Bat Group and Montgomeryshire Moth group.
As the dusk drew in we were issued with high frequency, digital bat detectors. They detect Ultra sonic frequencies from 23 Khz right upto 140Khz – all way above our hearing capabilities. They detect the bats’ echolocation sonar high frequency sound emissions and turn them into sounds that we can hear.
The Wildlife Trust personnel then led us down to a small stream, a shallow ford. At this location the bats were busy swooping down to the waters edge catching insects. Turning on the bat detectors was a very special moment. As we tuned them to listen around the 50khz frequency they all started to transmit the decoded sounds of bats as they swooped past. Half a dozen detectors going off in sequence as the bats came past gave the experience a fabulous surreal, surround sound appeal!
The bats that were flying around were of two, similar types: Common Pipistrelle and Soprano Pipistrelle. The Common Pipistrelle was detected at around 45 kHz and the Soprano Pipistrelle was detected closer to 55 kHz – a higher frequency, hence Soprano Pipistrelle.
The acrobatics of these tiny bats is quite amazing. They fly at high speed and turn on a sixpence to catch flying insects mid flight. The Pipistrelle is the UK’s most common bat species.
We were later led to an uphill meadow to search for other bat species but it seemed that the water held the real fascination for the bats, and their prey, that evening.
Our bat searches over we made our way to a lit table set in an opening between trees. Scattered around within the trees the moth group had setup white boards and very bright lights that were attracting, and enticing the moths. Once the moths had settled around the lights they were gently guided into small plastic containers ready for viewing and cataloging.
One of the biggest surprises of the evening was just the sheer variety and beauty of the moths in such a small wooded area. We think that daytime butterflies are pretty, but there are many times more beautiful moths that come out during the dusk and night time.
They ranged from transparent winged, pale green ‘Emerald’ moths through multi-coloured variants, onto various brown moths and upto beautiful Large coloured ‘Hawk’ moths.
This Brown moth had a pronounced ‘snout’ and the fur-like scaly covered wings are clearly seen along with a lovely variant pattern.
Every moth had a different shape and size and it’s easy to see just how members of the Montgomeryshire Moth Group can find studying them so fascinating.
There are around 2500 different moth species in the UK – with around 500+ possible at this Roundton Hill, Nature reserve location near Montgomery.
We eventually left the wood as midnight approached leaving behind the Moth and Bat group members still labouring away. It will not be the last visit we will make and we look forward to future trips with the Wildlife Trust members.
If you’d like to take part in their activities, or join the Wildlife Trust a full listing of their activities can be found here –
We hope you’ve enjoyed our description of this Nature Reserve visit. Please feel free to leave us a little feedback below, share this article with friends using the Social Media buttons, and maybe view some of our other Walks around Montgomery.
Dave & Anthea Wilson