Rare bat species is found on Bute

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A rare species of bat has been discovered on Bute for the first time by an Edinburgh wildlife expert who was born and brought up on the island.

Helen Simmons recorded the rare Leisler’s Bat (Nyctalus leisleri) at both Loch Fad and Loch Ascog on May 25 and 26.

Helen, who is currently working as an ‘expert for nature’ with the Scottish Wildlife Trust, used a new piece of technology called an Anabat detector to record the species.

Until last year the Leisler’s bat had only been found in a few locations in Scotland, all in a small pocket of Dumfries and Galloway - and while the species has since been recorded in a number of locations in central Scotland - and on one occasion as far north as Nairn - Helen’s discovery last month was a first for Bute.

Helen said: “This is a significant find because not only has this bat never been recorded on the island but this record has significantly extended their known range within Scotland.”

Helen was born and brought up on Bute, but left the island to pursue a career in conservation and ecology; she has a BSc honours degree in zoology from Glasgow University and a MSc in Conservation from Oxford Brookes University.