The Wildlife Champions at Ellen Tinkham School turned their considerable woodworking skills to the challenge of building some bat homes this week, and what an excellent job they did!! It was a particularly cold day, not the best for measuring, marking and cutting the wood at the right angles but I was really impressed with the enthusiasm and skill demonstrated by the group. I was particularly pleased with their desire to learn more about bats and other creatures that may be using their school grounds – and the fact that they want to take action to help them. It was a totally brilliant morning and I was delighted with the results. Thanks to Tom and the boys for inviting me to join them. keep up the great work, and let me know if you get any visitors!! Paul
Posts Tagged ‘bats’
When most of us are tucked up in our beds, a different world takes over outside and many creatures, including most UK mammals, become more active.
Compared to the creatures that have evolved to thrive in this dark arena, our limited vision fails us and other senses rush in to try to comprehend our surroundings. This makes wildlife-spotting at night such a thrilling experience. So why not join us at one of our many evening events this summer?
Glow-worms – if we’re lucky!
Tuesday 26th June, 9.45pm until late, Tarka Trail, Yelland
A walk along a stretch of this old railway line looking for the lights of glow-worms in the grassy verges.
Glow-worms, bats and nightjars
Thursday 28th June, 8.30 – 11pm, Devon Wildlife Trust’s Bystock Nature Reserve, near Exmouth
Join DWT’s Ian Chadwick for an evening searching for glow-worms, bats and nightjars.
Saturday 7th July, 9pm – midnight, Cookworthy Forest Centre, near Halwill Junction
Search for glow-worms and moths with DWT’s Working Wetlands staff.
Bats at Bystock
Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd August, 8.30 – 10.30pm, Bystock Nature Reserve
Join Ian Chadwick, DWT Nature Reserves Officer, for a walk around Bystock nature reserve to discover which bats can be found there.
Dartmoor after dark
Saturday 11th August, 9pm – midnight, Trendlebere Down, near Bovey Tracey
Walk over Trendlebere Down as night falls. Watch and hear the evening animals such as nightjars and bats. Visit the ‘new Grimpen Mire’.
Bats in the house
Tuesday 14th August, 8pm, Poltimore, near Exeter
Who lives in a house like this? Batty walk at historic Poltimore house and grounds.
Bats & moths evening – part 1
Tuesday 14th August, 8.30pm – late, Broadeford Farm, Near Braunton
An evening with bat detectors and moth light-traps.
Bats & moths evening – part 2
Tuesday 21st August, 8pm – late, Higher Bumsley, near Parracombe, Exmoor
A second evening with bat detectors and moth light-traps.
South Brent Bats
Thursday 23rd August, 8 – 9.30pm, South Brent
Explore Brent Island, the river and nearby houses for sounds and signs of bats with a licensed bat expert.
For further details of any of these events please follow the links above, call 01392 279244 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Safety tips for wildlife spotting at night
Go carefully – take a torch and a fully-charged mobile phone and wear warm, waterproof clothing and suitable boots that can withstand uneven and wet ground. With limited vision you are less likely to spot any potential hazards so it is worth visiting an area that you are already familiar with in daylight.
Stick to public rights of way or get the landowner’s permission to use the land. Take a friend along with you. If that isn’t possible, make sure that you tell someone exactly where you are going before you set out.
Finally, if you are driving and parking, don’t leave any valuables in your car.
Exeter Local Group likes to make connections for wildlife – both through the city of Exeter by supporting the Exeter Wild City project, and between wildlife organisations as seen in their recent Pipistrelles and Pints event with Devon Mammal Group. Their latest collaboration is with the Devon Bat Group who is setting up an Exeter sub-group and is trying to organise some informal surveys around the city over the summer. The aim is to look at past recorded sites and check out potential new ones and it’s a chance to learn how to use bat detectors effectively too!
If you are interested in getting involved, or know of any potential bat sites, please contact Steve Carroll, Exeter Local Group volunteer, on 07972 175340 (after 7pm) or via email: email@example.com
Its mid summer and time to enjoy those somewhat rare sunny moments by relaxing in the garden and appreciating all your hard work. I have often had some close wildlife encounters after waking from a mid afternoon nap in the garden, with the animals almost forgetting that I was there after being so still for so long.
Your garden birds may have fledged their second brood by now, so you could have three generations of birds all foraging around your borders. Butterflies and bumblebees should be busy in abundance enjoying the colours and scents of the garden as much as you. On particularly warm and clear evenings you may see the agile swooping of bats foraging for invertebrates over your flower beds.
Dead heading certain flowers can extend the flowering periods for some plant species, but remember by letting some flower heads progress to seed you will be able to collect seeds for next years plants and also provide some seed for foraging invertebrates and birds.
During July your wildlife pond may experience a bloom of algal growth coinciding with the warmer summer temperatures. Ponds generally go through cycle of some algal growth, with this reducing over the colder winter months. However new ponds are particularly susceptible to the algal growth blanketing the whole pond, which then reduces light levels to submerged oxygenating plants, reducing the oxygen content of the pond water, and subsequently reducing the invertebrate diversity lurking below the surface. You can remedy this by using a home made netted bag of barley straw suspended within your pond, like a tea bag! As the straw breaks down it releases a substance that prevents further growth of the algae. Using string, tie the bag to a bamboo cane on the outside of the pond, so you don’t have to get too wet when its time to take it out again. As a guide you should use 10g of straw for each square metre of the ponds surface. As the pond matures these algal blooms should reduce both in extent and frequency as the nutrients levels of the pond balance out and as numbers of grazing pond snails builds up. To learn more about life in your pond visit the Pond Conservation web site at www.pondconservation.org.uk
Summer is starting to shine through spring, with blossom in full show and the return of some of our migratory birds. With increasingly earlier and warmer springs hawthorn has subsequently come into blossom earlier and earlier, however with such a cold start to the year, we now get to see why hawthorn has the nickname of may blossom. In urban areas you may see the return of house martins and those of you on the edges of towns or in the countryside will see swallows or hear the distinctive calls of chiffchaffs or an occasional cuckoo. If you’re lucky enough you may also hear the return of shrieking swifts which tend to time their flight north a little later than the other birds.
With spring in full flow, May is a month for the wildlife gardening calendar:
Coinciding with the return of our summer visiting birds is International Dawn Chorus Day on Sunday 2nd May 2010. If you’re feeling inspired you could spring out of bed early to see which birds comprise the morning chorus from your garden. Alternatively there are events within the county where you might find a musical ear to help you work out the song of a blackbird from the tweet of a great tit. You can find more information on local events in Devon from the International Dawn Chorus web site at:http://www.idcd.info/events-in-your-area/europe/england/devon/
Alternatively for those of you who appreciate your Sunday morning lie-ins, don’t forget that the birds also hold a more reasonably timed dusk chorus just before sunset too!
Saturday 15th May 2010 is National Moth Night, focusing on finding out what aerial visitors we might have during the night. You can encourage moths to your garden by incorporating night-scented flowers such as honeysuckle, evening primrose, verbena and tobacco plant into your garden. These perennials and biennials are relatively easily grown from seed earlier in the year but you should also find grown on specimens at your local garden centre. For further information on taking part on National Moth Night visit their web site at:www.nationalmothnight.info
All this moth activity may encourage additional nocturnal visitors to your garden, bats! Bats feed on many types of invertebrates and at this time female bats will be eating for two, as they will be grouping with other females to form maternity roosts where each female will give birth to a single bat pup. To give bats a helping hand you could put up a bat box on a tree or building. Bat boxes should be placed above three metres in height and facing a southerly orientation, as bats like their maternity roosts to be quite warm. Make sure your bat box is well out of the way of any cats which can be surprisingly agile and effective predators of emerging bats. Bat boxes can be purchased from a variety of retailers or alternatively you may be interested in making your own, and further guidance can be found on the website of the Devon Bat Group.
The last date for your wildlife gardening calendar is National Be Nice to Nettles Week lasting from 19th to the 30th May 2010. We have all at some stage stung ourselves on nettles and spent the subsequent time holding a dock leaf on the affected area trying to cool the irritation. However this sting defence mechanism has made nettles the ideal home for a range of invertebrates, particularly for the otherwise helpless larvae of numerous butterflies and moths. The drooping flowers also attract a range of invertebrates with the subsequent seeds providing food for birds. So if you have a patch of nettles growing from beneath your garden fence take a second thought before cutting them back. For even more reasons to keep a patch of nettles in your garden visit the National Be Nice to Nettles Week website at www.nettles.org.uk