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Ecologists go batty in York


12:30am 6th November 2011

Ecologists recently had to supervised the pruning of trees along flood banks in York to ensure local bats were not affected.
Tree inspectors, on contract to the Environment Agency, identified a number of trees which might pose a risk to the public or might block access for maintenance of the banks. Specialist tree surgeons have been called in to work on the trees.
But as the area is well-known for its bats, the work was closely supervised by an ecologist in case any were disturbed or injured by the work.
Environment Agency ecologist Sue Penn explains:

"On this particular patch of land, which includes public footpaths and a cycleway, we try to avoid working on any trees which could have bats roosting in them, but the few we have to prune are for health and safety reasons.
"I supervised the work and luckily we didn't find any bats or bat roosts in the trees we pruned at Clifton Ings. We'll also be doing some more tree work at Rawcliffe Meadows which I will also keep a close eye on."
During the bat survey this summer a range of bat species were found including Common Pipistrelle, Soporano Pipistrelle, Noctules, Whiskered and Brandt's Bats. Bats like the ings as they support a wide variety of insects - a staple of a bat's diet.
October and November is a good time of year to carry out the tree-cutting work as the bats will be between their summer and winter roosts, minimising the chances of disturbing any. Bats are a European protected species.
Bats are creatures of habit and some species of bat use cracks and holes in trees as their roosts. They navigate using hedgerows, flying above them as if they were roads.

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