Sunday, 20 June 2010

Some updates and reminders

Hello Everyone,

Just to let you know the results of the Brown Long Eared (plecotus auritus) and second Natts (myotis nattereri) exit counts and to remind you what's coming up this week.

According to Jon, Markku and Fran , they had a great night in Comin Coch at the BLE site. The owners of the property were very generous as usual, supplying Welsh cakes and tea while the wait was on, very much appreciated I'm sure. BLEs can be difficult to count. They generally do not come out until after dark and because of their long ears, which can pick up very quiet noises, they don't make much sound themselves. The vision/image intensifier came in very handy - thanks you CCW for the loan. In all about 23 emerged. BLEs are the most common species that you might find in a large open roof space; often the roof is steeply pitched. They cram themselves in along the ridge ends and junctions or around the chimney. They even fly around in the loft space for a while before exiting. Other bats like pips, tend to cluster in far less obvious places and are less likely to be seen hanging around, so to speak. Long Eared maternity colonies frequently include significant proportion of males too. Colony size is generally between 10 to 30 individuals - so ours is doing okay, but colonies of up to 200 have been recorded. These bats also seems to stay in the same roost site winter and summer unlike other species who go off to hibernate in caves and old mine sites for example, although I have seen BLE in such sites too.

The Natts behaved themselves again and put on a good show - 64 in all. Maybe we could go back later in July to see what numbers we have then - any takers? Apparently, according to reports, 3 very strange aliens were also seen at the site, covered in nets and exuding a very potent smell of citronella! Thanks to Chris, Fran and Aline for sticking it out. Petty the bats don't do their job better and get rid of some of those midges! Although the number is the same as last time this is not and indication that there are no babies (or pups) yet. Chris mentioned that some of the bats were seen to return to the exit point, just touching down for a second, then they were followed by a new bat leaving the roost. The count become confusing at the end with lots of bats returning in this way. This is indicative that young were around with females either returning to suckle or to tempt the little ones out. All bats need to learn from their mothers how to forage and the best places to do that.

Finally, don't forget Monday night. Another chance to see the pips at Cwm Rheidol - everyone welcome. Don't forget seats, a cuppa or a beer maybe (drunk in charge of a bat detector) and some very nice biscuits would go down a treat. Last time the bats were emerging as of 9:20 so be there a little earlier than that if you want to see the whole show. There will be two more opportunities in July. The final count of BLEs is Thursday 24th. If you want to come let me know well in advance please as numbers will be restricted.

Thanks everyone so far - great results.

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