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A welcome boost for bats at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

22nd October 2018

NHSN are delighted to announce a new, collaborative project with Northumbrian Water which has seen five new bat boxes installed at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve (GPNR). It is hoped that these small, wooden refuges will add to those already situated on the reserve, and provide further opportunity for the sites bat species to roost, hibernate and pup in relative safety.

This project comes as Northumbrian Water is carrying out essential work to reduce flooding in nearby Killingworth and Longbenton. Something which will see the excess water from Killingworth Lake carried down the waterway at the heart of GPNR – the flow and quality of which will be diligently monitored by Northumbrian Water throughout the scheme.

The Whitecroft Burn – which bisects GPNR and empties into the reserves main lake – provides breeding and foraging habitat for many species, including otters, kingfishers, and grey wagtails. It is also home to a wealth of aquatic insects which, in turn, provide sustenance for a number of bat species – many of which can be seen year-round at GPNR. Among these, Britain’s largest bat, the Noctule, and both Common and Soprano Pipistrelles. With records also indicating the presence of myotis species nearby.

Since NHSN acquired GPNR in 1929, only eight bat species have been recorded on site. It is hoped that with small-scale improvements to the habitat – including the installation of boxes – and increased monitoring in coordination with the Northumberland Bat Group, this will rise in the very near future.

Lynn Preston, Northumbrian Water′s Project Manager, said:

“When we′re working in an area, we′re always looking for ways that we can help protect and enhance the environment. Bat are a protected species and they play a vital role in our ecological system, so it′s really important that we look after them. I′m delighted that we′re able to help contribute to the nature reserve and hopefully encourage the bat colony in this area.”

Clare Freeman, NHSN Director, said:

“A healthy bat population is a great indicator of ecosystem health and Gosforth Park Nature Reserve is home to wide range of species. A number of these, including Common and Soprano Pipistrelle, are known to use bat boxes. The boxes kindly provided by Northumbrian Water will provide our bats with a welcome refuge, a safe space to breed, roost, hibernate and ultimately, flourish.”