The Friends of Alexandra Park organise at least two Bat Walks each year. These are led by Gordon Hutchinson, who brings along several bat detectors for people to use.

We have invested in one bat detector of our own, bought with money from members’ subscriptions. This is available for members to borrow - email us.

Dates of our next Bat Walks can be found under What's On, and full details will appear on our Home page nearer the time.

Spring Bat Walk - 25th March

A cool, dull evening didn’t bode well for the bat watch, but after Gordon’s usual chat about bats, and bat detectors, the bats appeared and set all the detectors clicking furiously. Perhaps they were catching up on feeding after several months’ hibernation, or maybe the few insects around took more hunting down. Nevertheless it was great fun to see the bats whizzing around, often surprisingly close, until they could no longer be spotted in the fading light. The detectors seemed to indicate that they moved from the lake into the trees, and then perhaps to another feeding area. It seemed that there were more bats than in previous years, which is encouraging.

Autumn Bat Walk: 11th September

With the weather beautifully warm and still, it was not surprising that a large number of people signed up for the bat watch. However, after his usual introductory talk about bats in general and the bats we hoped to see (common pipistrelle and soprano pipistrelle), Gordon had an anxious wait, with no bats evident well after their usual arrival time (20 minutes after sunset). Finally the bat detectors did start to sound, and happily they were soon clicking furiously as the bats sought their ‘breakfast’ of insects over the Boating Lake – though as it was darker it was not easy to see them. This is the mating season for bats, and they are also building up reserves ready for hibernation.
On the following evening Gordon led another bat watch for the Greenwood Elfins, a local Woodcraft group. Despite drizzle and cloud overhead, the bats came out ‘on time’ and the youngsters’ sharper eyesight helped them to see the bats zipping over our heads – much excitement all round.

Spring Bat Walk: 17th April 

After a warm day and with a clear sky overhead, the prospects of seeing bats around the Boating Lake looked good. However, after his usual introductory talk, Gordon was worried that no bats were to be seen. Usually the bats are out chasing insects over the lake. So the group started to walk round the lake and then the bat detectors started to click. The bats were all around us, zipping past very close. They had apparently abandoned the lake in favour of hunting for food under the trees – maybe our body heat was attracting the insects. A thrilling evening!  

Bat walk: 12th September 

The evening was still, warm and dry, so Gordon was able to confidently predict that the pipistrelle bats would appear around the Boating Lake after sunset and his introductory talk. In due course the bats were seen, and heard on the bat detectors, but the excitement came, as always, when the bats indulged in some low flying over everybody’s heads. 

Bat Walk - April 2022

After a day of heavy rain and a cold wind, there were some doubts as to whether the bats would make their usual appearance around the Boating Lake, and Gordon’s introductory talk about bats and their habits was cut short by a brief rain shower. Then after a chilly wait the pipistrelles appeared, in rather better numbers than in recent years, and entertained the group with their customary acrobatics, punctuated by the clicks and buzzes from the bat detectors.

Gordon usually receives requests for extra bat watches from local groups, and this year 15 cubs and their leaders from the 221 North London (Hornsey) pack were thrilled to see the bats on a much warmer evening. 

Bat Walk - September 

On a warm, calm evening, one of the best we’ve had for a bat watch, 18 people turned up to hear and see bats by the Boating Lake. They weren’t disappointed, though the bats were slow to appear, their numbers were again down on previous years and they didn’t stay for long; perhaps they have found a more insect-rich area elsewhere. Nevertheless the thrill of seeing the bats swooping low overhead and detecting the ‘shouts’ they use to echolocate their insect prey, via the clicks from bat detectors, made the wait worthwhile. As usual, only common and soprano pipistrelle bats were detected. 

Bat Walk, Autumn 2019

No rain, no strong wind so a good outlook for the walk. Gordon gave us a talk on bats as the light fell and we waited for our flying cousins to appear.

We heard about the structure of bat wings, the size of the bats and the number of insects eaten per night. This helped us understand how the creatures fit in within the ecosystem (and why we should be thankful for their reduction in numbers of mosquitoes).

After the sun had gone down, the "bat detectors" were given out and we listened out for the clicks of the bats.

After the usual hesitant start then bats were flying close over our heads and in numbers.

Bat Walk, Spring 2019 

Layers were needed to combat the cold, but luckily no wind or rain so we expected to see some bats. 

Gordon used one of the smaller members of the audience illustrate the structure of a bat wing - long fingers with skin stretched between them. The usual vampire bat disclaimers were mentioned and after more bat information, the bat detectors were given out to the twenty or so strong audience.

A quiet period ensued as it got gradually darker and then on queue one or two pipistrelle bat made their appearance and after a distinct pause they were joined by a few more flying mammals.

Bat Watch, Autumn 2018

A warm day, followed by clear skies after sunset, are ideal conditions for bat watching, and we had just those conditions for the bat watch at the Boating Lake.

After a short explanation from Gordon of the anatomy and habits of the bats we were going to see, bursts of clicks from the bat detectors alerted us to their arrival.

Then it was easy to see the bats zig-zagging over the water, and our heads, searching for their ‘breakfast’ of flies. New technology helped us to decide that there were definitely soprano pipistrelle bats present, as well as the common pipistrelles, but still no sign of the Daubenton’s bat which we hope to see skimming across the lake.

Spring Bat Walk, 2018 

Not a prepossessing start to the Bat Walk with drizzle forcing the group to gather in the shelter of the Boating Lake Cafe. We shouldn't really have been surprised after this season's dreadful weather... only have to look at the mud around the Park. Enough of that, sorry. 

Gordon gave a talk an introduction to British Bats and those to be found around the world and luckily the rain stopped. (Un)fortunately he was interrupted in his presentation with an early arrival at the Boating Lake. This was our largest bat the Noctule which we only see from time to time. This time it hung around high-ish above the Boating Lake searching for food and everybody managed to get a good sight of it.

After the sun went down (invisible to our eyes), we walked along the Boating Lake and it wasn't long before we started to "hear" the Pipistrelles on our Bat Detectors. They swept by lower than the Noctule at around head level and delighted the group with their aerial antics.

Wandering further around the lake, we heard them all along the way. 

Although, probably due to the inclement weather, we didn't see as many Pipistrelle bats as usual, this Bat Walk will be remember for the best sightings yet of the Noctule (and some people may have even spotted a Daubenton's Bat skimming the water.

Autumn Bat Walk, 2017 

Another fully booked Bat walk were told stories of Vampires and Giant Fruit Bats. 

We usually keep a look out for Britain's largest bat - the Noctule. This bat usually flies quite high and is not often seen at the lake. So we were especially pleased to see one make an early appearance. It flew over the lake for 5 to 10 minutes.

Here is a sound recording of the Noctule from one of the bat detectors.

A little later the Soprano and Common Pipistrelles were out and flying just over our heads.

We had great views and heard a lot via the bat detectors.......  

Spring Bat Walk 2017 

Good news! After noticing a reduction in the number of bats seen over the last few bat walks, it is a pleasure to report that this time they were out in their droves.

Our usual good crowd of about 25 people listened to Gordon's talk on our only flying mammals before jumping at the opportunity to use the "Bat Detectors".

Gordon was helped out on this occasion by Theo who is giving us some of his time to help towards his Duke of Edinburgh Award.

The enthusiastic participants were entranced with the Pipestrelles flitting around their heads.

Back next Autumn....

Talk: Introduction to Bats

Lisa Worledge of the Bat Conservation Trust gave us an entertaining talk on Bats covering many aspects of their psychology with examples of the thousands of bat species around the world.

She then concentrated on our own native species with lots information on the species that we are most likely to encounter including the pipestrelles. She encouraged the audience to make bat noises......

The small size of our bats (easily fitting in palm of a hand) when compared to the 2 metre wingspan of the largest bats in the world is quite an eye opener. For anyone who want to pursue bats further, please join The London Bat Group only £7.50 at

Autumn Bat Walk 2016

Due to some slight over booking and great enthusiasm from our members and the general public, there was a recorder number of people on our Bat Walk, but there still enough Bat Detectors.

The Pipistrelles were out as usual and it is always gratifying to hear the expressions of (mostly) pleasure when they scoot about our heads...

was one endorsement from Social Media. 

Spring Bat Walk 2016 

Dry weather, but a cold wind was not the ideal weather for our Spring Bat Walk. A good number of people still braved the elements and finding a sheltered area our bat detectors came into their own.

Bats were heard and bats were seen very clearly against the bright sky.

Autumn Bat Walk 2015

The usual good number of people and two well-behaved dogs gathered for our twice yearly Bat Walk. Gordon had led a walk for the Elfins the night before and promised a good fluttering of bats.

We heard about Vampire Bats, but none have been reported locally....

We heard about Giant Fruit Bats, but none have been reported locally....

So armed with our "Bat Detectors" we set off and from the off the clicks and buzzes of the Pipistrelles were heard.

They swooped over our heads and in probably greater numbers than for past few years.

Gordon also pointed out a new sound, a social call to listen out for. It just sounded like a click of interference until it kept being repeatedly heard. Great to learn something new. 

Spring Bat Walk 2015

We met for the Bat Walk by the Lake and Gordon gave us an explanation of the anatomy of bats. They have all their fingers with most of them extremely stretched to provide a base for the wing.

There were plenty of gnats about so we were happily anticipating of a good showing of pipistrelles.

We heard how the bats would sound on the detectors then came the moment to listen out for them. They didn't disappoint... The sky was still quite light when the first flying mice skimmed past our heads and another good display was enjoyed by all.

Indeed it was again a fully booked, successful walk. 

Autumn Bat Walk 2014

Another successful Bat Walk was held in September, 2014. Gordon gave us a briefing on the habits and folklore of bats with guides to the various species and size comparisons before the light completely disappeared (pic). A licensed Bat Handler was in attendance who added to the interest by confirming that we have both Common and Soprano Pipistrelle bats in The Park - they echo locate at different frequencies. Also she picked up the trace of another bat to be identified.....

Bat Walk,  April 2014

A bat walk, led as usual by Gordon Hutchinson, took place on April 9th, with 34 people booked and 34 turning up on the night, about 10 of whom were youngsters. 

Clouds of flies hanging in the air above us as the light faded suggested there would be plenty for the bats to eat, and indeed the bats duly appeared among the trees next to the boating lake and over the lake. 

There have been occasions in the past when we have seen large numbers (30+?), but this time I would say there were maybe 10, common pipistrelles as far as I could tell.  We always keep an eye (and ear) open for daubentons over the boating lake but did not spot any.   

Temperature seems to be a significant factor in how many bats we see - it was probably around 10 degrees.  We have seen the larger numbers when it has been warmer. The presence of the Drive-In cinema operating nearby did not seem to be a problem – there was no noise or light pollution affecting the boating lake area.

As always, the opportunity to learn a little bit about bats and to see the bats flitting close by, proves very rewarding for the people who come on the walk.

Bat Walk,  September 2013

After a talk, including dismissing some myths about bats (they are not blind, they do not fly into your hair...), we had a possible early sighting of a noctule bat flying overhead with some house martins all intent on reducing the number of insects which we could see above our heads. Gordon showed us how to use the 'Bat Detectors' – great fun for kids to use.


The pipistrelle bats came out as usual and thrilled the watchers by zooming by the edge of the lake and just over our heads. We moved around the edge of the lake and several people thought that they might have heard (using the bat detectors) daubenton bats as well, which flit along the surface of the water.

Bat Walk,  April 2013

The weather was a bit wild with high winds and rains in the afternoon not boding well for our bats, but towards sunset the sun came out and the wind died down a little.

Gordon gave a talk about the bats that we might see and those that we wouldn’t! (We sadly wouldn’t see vampire bats or giant fruit bats.)

The sell-out crowd were attentive, but growing a little cold as temperatures seemed to drop unreasonably. After being shown how to use the “Bat Detectors” we started scanning for these furry flutterers. Unfortunately we didn’t pick up any noctule bats on this occasion (our largest native bat), but pipistrelles and probably soprano pipistrelles gave some great swooping displays close to all. One person also thought that they might have seen a daubenton bat skimming across the water. Due to the slightly less than ideal weather, we didn’t see the huge numbers of bats that sometimes turn up, but everyone saw and heard the bats.

Another successful evening with another new member joining our fold. Our next bat walk will be in the Autumn.

Bat Walk, August 2012

About thirty people met up for our fully booked Bat Walk on Wednesday, 22nd August.

Gordon Hutchinson gave an informative talk on bats in general and the bats that we might expect to see around the boating lake. He reassured the listeners that although vampire bats are real they normally only feed on cattle and only in South America. He also explained their life cycle and feeding techniques as well as dispelling some of the many myths about these little furry flying mammals.

We were then introduced to the bat detectors which render the bats’ hypersonic location and feeding sounds audible to the human ear. It was interesting hearing that large fruit bats in Australia can be seen hanging in the trees making lots of noise. As dusk fell we listened out for Britain’s largest bat, the noctule, but they didn’t initially make an appearance. We wandered further around to start to listen out for some pipistrelles. Here we were in good luck as the normal horde of these tiny bats flitted above our heads and over the water giving everybody a good glimpse of them. Sometimes they flew quickly and with great agility and other times they seemed to just fly like slow-flying moths. Also some lucky listeners picked out the noctule bats flying overhead. 

Bat Walk, May 2012

A score of people waiting for the bat walk looked anxiously at a dark sky hoping the rain would stay in the clouds.

Gordon Hutchinson started to give a description of the life of bats in general, and British bats in particular, as spots started to pepper the lake. He gave an interesting explanation of some of the myths about bats. Are they blind? Do they suck blood?

The rain started to pummel down. Listening out for noctule bats which usually overfly early in the dusk proved disappointing as they seemed to dislike the downpour. We were told how the bat detectors work to pick out the ultrasonic squeaks of the bats, and luckily the rain started to ease.

So, poking our heads out we desperately moved our detectors around hoping to catch the sound of a brave bat. We were in luck, pipestrelle bats had decided to come out and play. Standing by the side of lake we could see the bats passing backwards and forwards over our heads. They were not very visible against the trees, but they gave a great display when passing by the sky.

It is strange that we don’t notice them more often, but with the detectors you know where to look. So after a very worrying rainy start it was great to see Alexandra Park’s bats munching on the insects over the lake.

Bat Walk, September 2011

Twenty-one people assembled by the boating pond, and saw many


At this time of year the bats are busy feeding to build up their fat reserves to keep them going during their hibernation through the winter.  Lots of "buzzes" were heard on the bat detectors, which indicate that a bat has caught an insect.

Bat Walk, May 2011

Over twenty people braved the cool evening to look out for bats.

We met at the boating pond to listen to Gordon Hutchinson gave an interesting talk on the bats, their lives and myths surrounding them. Then as the sun dipped below the horizon bat phones (detectors) were handed out.

After listening in vain for Britain's largest bat the noctule, we wandered around the pond to search out the much smaller pipistrelle. Nothing, then at 8:50pm the first clicks were heard.

It was difficult to spot the bats at first, then by the time ten minutes had passed they were swarming all over us.

It was great to hear first the rhythmic click of the bats before the clicking suddenly speeded up as they closed in on some unlucky insect.

Some of the bats that we heard later on were probably daubentons which specialise in skimming across the water to hunt their prey.