This is a lengthy post, I am sorry. Please read the whole way through, I know it is wordy and picture heavy but I have some fantastic info about a bat walk we were on. Maybe you think it’s boring, but I enjoyed it and it is exciting to be part of a potential new discovery.
So last time I wrote I wrote I was sharing about how Sol bagged herself a voice acting role on a CBeeBies TV show. She received her script today and times when she’s to arrive for recording, plus details of her payment and other random info. Sol should have her contract by tomorrow and she will be all sorted in advance of Friday. Of course being 12 years old she’s already imagining what she will spend her money on. First thing she wants is a Nintendo DS, well I will see about that because in my (horrid mummy) opinion she should just pay the money into her bank account and save it. That is a battle I will save for another day.
Our country is having a little heatwave, I am not sure if I ever expressed to you about how it is *always* raining, because it is. We live by the coast and rain is a huge part of our lives, however the last few weeks have been very dry and often hot. Temperatures are into the 20s, it is actually very good I enjoy it. However there’s a downside to the heat, we are now on a hose pipe ban and water restrictions, nothing majorly serious yet, but enough to be cautious about. The side affect of this glorious weather is plenty of beach days and days in the garden doing outdoor chores and having fun.
A casualty of the warmer weather.
We spent the afternoon with friends at the beach, they don’t have a beach where they live so decided to come check us out. The friends were amazed by how nice it is and this is two minute walk from my house. It’s not too busy either as we are a little bit off the beaten track.
Even Lorraine the bear gets to sunbathe.
The evenings are balmy too, I just love the twilight walks we have down by the harbour. This was the view I was greeted with as we came on our bat watch walk. ⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️
Last night our walk was more interesting than most nights. My other half has been heading up a group to encourage our village in a competition called Ulster In Bloom. The past three years the village has romped home with second place, always just pipped at the post, but an amazing achievement nonetheless. My other half and his team are out every Saturday weeding and generally doing things to improve the surrounding area. We got an orchard planted in the village, a big hotel, herb garden and numerous planters filled with flowers. The ongoing thing we have been discussing is the local wildlife and next week they have been able to arrange to put up bird boxes to encourage more nesting. Anyway, I digressed but it is relevant, on our evening walks we sometimes would see bats. I often saw them down at the harbour, and they literally swoop just above your head when you walk.
So using the casual claim that we have bats at the harbour last night we got a guy from a wildlife group to meet us. We wanted to see if we could discover just what sort of bats we had and even discuss the possibility of encouraging the, by putting up bat boxes. We met just before dusk and waited and watched. Eventually we saw a few flying over the grassed area near the harbour, he recorded the clicks that the bats make with his special recording equipment. Amazingly the first bats we saw looked to be Barbastelle bats which have never been recorded in our area or country to my knowledge. It will be amazing if it is Barbastelle bats, I am thrilled to be part of the potential discovery of them. Now, this is an initial finding and the recordings will need to be studied and verified, but it looks promising. All bats let out a sound that mostly we can’t hear, you need special equipment to pick it up and based on the frequency of the sounds you can identify which breed of bat that made the sounds which is how we are able to identify.
As we stood watching these bats were swooping around us, they flew so close you could almost feel the breeze from their wings. Their size was remarkable the wingspan around 30cm (12inches), you would think they were actually birds flying about and you could see that the regular person would not realise that we have some fascinating creatures around.
After we watched the suspected Barbastelle bats we made our way over to the harbour itself, we could see at least three more bats swooping about above the water. After a few minutes of standing still, our group of five (including bat man) were rewarded with close up views of more of these elegant creatures. However, these bats had a different frequency again and we identified the frequency to match the Common Noctual Bat. Once again recordings were made and these need to be identified and verified, and it is possible that we could be totally wrong in our findings so we have to be careful about making the claims yet. I will of course come back when we get the recordings analysed.
So not satisfied with just identifying two breeds of bats we took a walk along the beach, it is the beach pictured above. As we walked along the shore we were rewarded with more bats, however these bats were much smaller and faster than the others we had just seen. They also weren’t flying as high and they appeared to have paler coloured belly parts to them. There seemed to have a set circle that they made which included partly flying over some hedges at the edge of a garden then down over the beach path. Over and over again they flew this little route. Fascinating! So out with the recording gear and frequency tool, we picked up a totally new frequency of clicks which we identified as possibly being pipistrelle bats which are actually really common as far as bats go.
So who can believe that we found possibly three bat breeds and one of them potentially being extremely rare, all just down at our little village harbour. I shall of course update when we get all the findings. Once we were done it was almost midnight, an absolutely brilliant evening and albeit different to how most people spend their nights I enjoyed it immensely.
One last obligatory beach photo, taken shortly before midnight.