David Element


Wildlife Photography and Digital Video Images


_________________________________________________________________________________________ Mammals 31 Ė Kuhlís Pipistrelles








††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† KUHLíS PIPISTRELLE Pipistrellus kuhlii (provisional)




††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† KUHLíS PIPISTRELLE Pipistrellus kuhlii (provisional)



         These photographs of (probable) Kuhlís Pipistrelles Pipistrellus kuhlii were taken in the ArdŤche region of southern France. The bats were catching moths that had been attracted to an artificial light and they were photographed using the rather unconventional method of manually focussing with a 105mm macro lens beforehand and then firing the shutter while watching the bats approaching from above the camera and aiming in their approximate direction and hoping that something might be in focus, a process that could be compared to clay pigeon shooting in the dark! Anyone who has attempted to follow the flight-path of an insectivorous bat through a viewfinder will know why this was not possible, particularly in near darkness Ė and Pipistrelles are amongst the most unpredictable of the lot! Fortunately this approach actually paid off and although only a maximum shutter-speed of 1/320 second could be used at least these two photographs came out reasonably well (and the others certainly arenít going to be put on display!). The photographs were forwarded to the Bat Conservation Trust for possible identification (with thanks to Holly Williams for following this up) and narrowed down to the four species of Pipistrelle that are known from the area by experts. The most probable identification is Kuhlís Pipistrelle as the trailing edges of the wings between the foot and the fifth finger is pale and the cross-venation of the plagiopatagium (an area of the wing) excludes both Soprano and Nathusiusí Pipistrelles when compared carefully with the reference photographs in ĎBritainís Mammals A field guide to the mammals of Britain and Irelandí, Couzens et al., WILDGuides/Princeton Press, 2017 although this morphological feature may not be 100% reliable. The face is also paler than might be predicted for Common Pipistrelles and there were aspects of their behaviour that also indicated that this might be the correct identification. This is a species that may well colonise the British Isles in due course as it has been expanding its range.



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