Funny things bats. You can go months without seeing a single bat and then in one day you see a bunch of them! Or is it a herd, cloud or colony?
Our first bat encounter today was in Equi Terme a small spa town in the hills just the other side of the Parco Regionale delle Alpi Apuane from Carrara. Small is the operative word as all we could see were the ‘Sulphur Baths’, which were packed with Italian weekenders, or the grotto, which was not. As cave visits go this was not too shabby although we couldn’t do the full tour because of fears of being trapped the wrong side of a raging torrent of flood water. Well, there was a dangerous looking puddle anyway so the guide said we had to cut it short. Even so, we still had nearly an hour of walking up and down through narrow passages looking at plenty of sticky-uppy and sticky-downy bits formed over thousands of years of dripping. Everything a good cave should have – including a bat! One lonely looking Pipistrelle having a kip up in one of the nooks.
Our second meeting with bats was here at the mill, no more than 25m from where I sit. These are also Pipistrelle and this really is a pride of bats, or is it a murder or descent? As you can see in the photo, there must be at least 10 of them many with teeny-tiny little bambino bats. Apart from the droppings, very cute.