Last night about 11 o'clock while letting the dog out for her nighttime perambulations I saw a huge bat fly across the garden. There is quite a lot of light in the garden from the city in the valley. I also had plenty of time to watch as it flew about 40 feet from one side of the garden to the other.
So bearing in mind the light was good and the bat was in sight for a fair few seconds I'm rather confused as to what sort of bat it could be. It was crow sized!!! The body was rectangular and the ends of the wings looked clubbed rather than pointed. The wings flapped relatively slowly. It definitely wasn't a bird.
I've looked up UK bats and the biggest one has a body length of less than 8cm. The one I saw looked to be 15 cm long. Any ideas what it could be? We live in the Midlands.
would be a Noctule bat, because it's the only one that is big enough to qualify and to be seen flying in your part of the UK. The wingspan of these bats is between 300 and 400mm, and the length (with tail) can be 130mm.
One other thought, even though you have dismissed it as a bird, it may have been a Tawny Owl. It is not often people see them fly, and it would be similar to your description. Did you by any chance hear any “strange” noises a little time before/after you saw it? They sometimes cry out after landing; the “hoot” is familiar to many, but the “shriek” is harder to describe. Check out click here