Wednesday, 1 July 2015

A Surprise Visitor 1st July 2015

Brown Long eared Bat  
Today was the hottest July day in England ever, with temperatures reaching a record high. Probably like many other people, myself and my wife took advantage of this welcome visitation of a Mediterranean climate to eat alfresco in the garden this evening, as such opportunities do not arise that often in an English summer.

After the meal and a bottle of wine we retired to our living room to watch yet more episodes of The Sopranos. Sad I know but we are both hooked. Due to the continued warmth we left all the doors of our three hundred year old house open to allow what little cool air there was to flow through the ground floor of the house.

By eight thirty in the evening and with broad daylight still outside we were now well into watching The Sopranos when suddenly we found ourselves not alone. We became aware of a large brown flying shape that appeared in the living room and silently flew round the room at just above floor level then rose a few feet to repeat the process. My initial reaction  was that it was a hawk moth but it was way too big and we quickly realised it was indeed a bat. A fair sized one as well, with prominent stick up ears, pale brown fur and similarly pale brown parchment wings. We are quite familiar with bats as one of the delights of summer in our rural location is that we get bats flying around in our garden every evening but to have one venture into the house was certainly out of the ordinary.

There was no panic on our part or indeed from the bat. It was obviously hunting, quite at ease in this strange extension of its normal habitat and flew at a comparatively slow pace around the room, comprehensively examining every nook and cranny in the room as well as every piece of furniture including the television, gently twisting and turning with great agility as it did so. It made at least four or five slow, measured circuits of the room rising up to the ceiling and down to floor level. It even flew in and around the inglenook fireplace and partially up the chimney before re-emerging. Its flight was wonderfully light, controlled, acrobatic even and totally silent. Not one object in the room was touched as it flew and it never settled on anything.  We just sat on the sofa totally entranced and marvelled at our good fortune to have this unexpected treat before our very eyes in our own living room. The Sopranos on the television was for now totally forgotten.

Having completed its thorough examination of our living room, and us by the way, the bat then proceeded to make a leisurely exit from the living room and flew down the hall and into our farmhouse kitchen and repeated its minute examination of every feature there, even entering the cramped utility room but again skilfully and with consummate ease evading all the potential hazards in there. 

Unlike the occasional bird that comes down our chimney there was no wild panic and crashing into windows or objects in a bid to escape but a gracefully smooth and controlled flight that even took it behind a Welsh Dresser at almost ground level before re-emerging, and  having completed its examination of the ground floor of our house's interior to its satisfaction, departing out of the open kitchen door and back into the garden on the other side of the house.

Both myself and my wife had to pinch ourselves about what had just happened. It was all over in six or seven minutes but for that time we had been privileged to watch from our own sofa, a bat flying gently around our living room.

I checked on the internet and found that our welcome visitor was a Brown Long-eared Bat. They are reasonably common and well distributed in Britain but who cares about that. They are not so common in one's living room.


  1. I'd pay good money to have that experience Ewan. Do you think they're trainable?.There might be an opening for 'dial a bat'.

  2. Who knows Steve. It was quite an experience and I doubt will ever be repeated
    All the best