Small bat in flight above (sub)urban garden
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While it's not possible to be sure, that certainly sounds like one of the pipistrelles, the bats most often found around houses. The size, fluttery flight path and urban location would tend to suggest it.
Now's the time to buy a bat detector (about Â£70) and find out for sure! Bat detectors pick up the ultrasonic echolocation noises that bats make and turn them into sounds we can hear. Different species use different frequencies and rhythms giving you a better idea of what you've seen. At this time of year, maternity colonies of perhaps 50-100 female pipistrelles are often roosting under the eaves of houses, so there may be more around.
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As Colin says it is impossible to be certain without a bat detector. Your position so far from the countryside is not unusual for pipistrelles.
Your size estimate is a little out though:
House sparrow, body length 14cm
Pippistrelle, body length 4cm
There wing spans are closer at around 24cm and 20cm respectively.
This one will just have to go down as a probable pippistrelle unless you could borrow a detector.
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Thank you Colin and Graham for your comments. I was referring to the wingspan when I made the comparison with a house sparrow, as I only saw the bat in flight, not at rest (although it was a bit difficult to judge size against the sky with no reference point anyway). So that seems to be about right as a comparision in terms of wingspan. Having visited the Natural History Museum this weekend and seen a 'stuffed' pipistrelle (not much stuffing required!) I could see how tiny their bodies are and that a sparrow's body is MUCH bigger.
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I've just noticed where you are, between Anlaby and Cottingham. With a little local knowledge I can confidently agree your bat will be a pipistrelle. I know there are roost sites in Cottingham and Hessle at least, maybe others closer to you. However, I am not aware of any other bat species near you.
If you were further north around Warne and Woodmansey then I would not be so confident.
I am not certain you would get away with this today - posting a sighting without a picture (deliberately). It obviously would require a detailed description. I've tried a couple of times to post without a picture (an admirable thing)
I enjoyed the challenge and the three responses - hardly worth the effort.
(Isn't a house sparrow a bittie big for Pip. Graham?) but then we read later - wingspan, better.
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