A rare bat has been discovered for the first time in the north west — lying in a puddle in Londonderry.
A member of the public found the soaked creature as she made her way to work on a wet morning last month.
A call was made to Creggan Country Park environmental officer Karen Healy to come and rescue the mammal.
And it soon became apparent that something exciting was about to unfold.
Karen is quite an expert in all things batty and she knew this was no common species hissing up at her.
“The person who discovered the bat is actually a member of the NI Environmental Agency, so it was a crazy coincidence that it was her who noticed the bat in the first place,” said Karen.
“As soon as I arrived and looked at the bat I knew by the length of its nose that it wasn't a bat commonly seen around here, so I was already eager to get her back to work for closer inspection.
“It took a while to settle her and get her dried off, but once I started measuring her wings, ears and nose I knew it was a species never seen here before — the whispering bat.
“I contacted Robin Mosit from the Northern Ireland Bat group and she was beside herself with excitement, too. In her 20 years with the group she has never seen a live whispering bat anywhere else in Northern Ireland.”
Once the excitement settled the key objective for Karen was to help her visitor, ‘Winnie’, to recover.
“Once I was happy she was back to full health our next task was to find out where her roost was,” said Karen.
“With five trained-up volunteers we went to the area in the Waterside where she was found with specialist equipment and we were so lucky we detected it and we are closely monitoring it now.
“We do keep an eye on Winnie and hopefully we will see more like her some day.”