Thursday, 2 August 2012

Scaly Wings and Eine Kleine Fledermaus Nachtmusik

We are delighted to report that last night the Friends Group hosted a combined Bat walk and Moth trapping evening which was attended by 34 people, of whom the many I spoke to, said they had enjoyed a thoroughly interesting and fun event.

The evening kicked off with a visual presentation by local moth expert Gordon Redford, who explained the life cycle of the moth and regaled us with his own experiences of raising moths in his back garden, before telling us about a few of his favourites, from the 2500 plus species that can be found in the UK.

Next armed with Bat detector boxes Alan Nelson led us out into the brightly moonlit night and we patrolled some of the paths near the lake and through the woods to try and see (and hear on the detectors) whatever bats were active on the reserve that evening. At first we blanked, but as our bat detectors became tuned to the correct frequencies and our eyes attuned to the darkness we encountered low flying Pipistrelles and even spotted (after picking up its distinctive sound on the detectors) a Noctule (Nyctalus noctula) - which is one of Britains largest bats. We also spent a little time in the near hide watching, as Alan illuminated the surface of the lake with a powerful torch beam, in the hope of spotting Daubenton's Bat, (Myotis daubentonii), which specialises in feeding over water.
Bat Detectors at the ready - bravely they went into the night
Unfortunately, we spotted only one bat over the lake and so headed back to the centre, however, on the way we saw and picked up the echolocation ultrasound signals, of several more Pipistrelles, as they flicked over the paths and trees and occasionally our heads.
Please, please, please dear bats stay and munch up as many of our mozzies as you can.
Gordon (far right) and Friends checking new arrivals at one of the Moth Traps

On returning to the centre we found that Gordon had set up five moth traps for us to check out and whilst being hopeless at identifying (and remembering the names of) the dozens of species that were in and around the traps myself, I can tell you, that amongst them were Common Marbled Carpet, Common wainscot, July Highflyer and the amazingly named Uncertain. Perhaps one of the more unusual visitors to a trap was a Great diving beetle (Dytiscus marginalis).
Great diving beetle (Dytiscus marginalis)

We will try and get a complete listing of all the species recorded on the evening from Gordon and publish it on this site shortly.
Small Magpie Moth photographed in the Near Hide

The evening concluded around 11.30pm at which point some of the younger visitors could be heard negotiating a lie-in for the following morning with mum and dad.
We would like to thank Gordon and Alan for their excellent inputs into the evening and hope to advise you shortly of future events, including our planned “Open Sundays”. In the meantime we hope you will continue to visit the reserve and enjoy it's wildlife and look forward to meeting with you all again soon.

Best wishes

1 comment:

  1. I can only echo your thanks, principally to Gordon and Alan, but also the rest of the volunteers, for an entertaining, informative and interesting evening.

    Gordon's talk and presentation were brilliant, with just the right balance of info and humour, all the better for having a local perspective. Magic!