Going Bats

I was too late back to make a post last night so I will cover a couple of days in one. I had to go down to Farlington on Monday for a variety of reasons, one of which was to check on the cattle. It was very hot indeed and cattle don’t much like hot weather, which did mean that I at least knew where to find the Main Marsh herd, beside or in, the Deeps. Some of you may have been asking yourselves if the raft we built for little terns in the spring has received any interest, the answer was no, until today and then the only interest was from the cattle!

cattle at the Deeps

cattle at the Deeps

On the way around I was looking at the plants growing out of the seawall, there are quite a good range of species, a mix of shingle beach, saltmarsh and rocky shore plants, sadly they are likely to be removed as their roots damage the points in the concrete wall. One of the commoner plants on the western side is rock samphire.

rock samphire on the seawall at Farlington Marshes

rock samphire on the seawall at Farlington Marshes

In the evening I was out at Swanwick Lakes doing some bat survey, I was actually just acting as scribe, as my bat identification skills are a little sketchy. I arrived a bit early and went looking for insects, there were still lots of dragon and damselflies out and about including this black-tailed skimmer.

black-tailed skimmer

black-tailed skimmer

As the sun was sinking I went to the top of New Hill to see if the warm evening had anything to offer. Scanning the tops of the oak trees I could see lots of purple hairstreak, I have noticed before that on warm evenings they are very active around the crowns of the trees, I suspect they will fly after dark as well as I have caught them a few times in the moth trap.

low sunlight on the trees

low sunlight on the trees

I also found a few other insects, including an adult fleabane tortoise beetle, the strange-looking larvae of which I posted a picture of a while back.

fleabane tortoise beetle

fleabane tortoise beetle

We started our bat survey at about nine twenty and very quickly had a noctule fly over, this was only just after we had seen our last emperor dragonfly of the day. We also recorded soprano and common pipistrelle, and probable Daubenton’s bats, other species may follow when the recordings have been looked at closely.

Today we were working at Farlington Marshes, it was not so hot but very humid, the main task was to cut back an area on the south side of the Lake to provide roosting areas for waders. This was first done some fifteen years ago and has proved very good for  a number of species, especially when the lake level is higher on neap tides.

The Lake with the south shore cut back for roosting waders

The Lake with the south shore cut back for roosting waders

Although our work did cause the wader roost do move to the Stream today, they should be back tomorrow. The roost is growing quite quickly now with good numbers of redshank and black-tailed godwit, today there were also 4 knot, a common sandpiper or possibly two and a small flock of dunlin.

 

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