Saturday, 16 January 2016

Bats and Fishers

With the threat of heavy snow coming overnight and bright sunshine I decided to go down the mill and do my usual Sunday survey a day early.

There was a light frost and it felt cold but once I got going it was fine. My first task was to check the trail camera which later revealed mostly Wood Mouse sightings in the last week and the return of the Rabbit. I also measured the field of view and measured some height marks to help with later analysis.

On my usual survey circuit I made sure to look out for a tree that I had identified last week. I had noted the dark stains coming from an old woodpecker hole and was intrigued enough to look it up online.

A quick search soon revealed that this is evidence of a bat roost possibly Noctule Bat or Daubentons. This is very exciting as in the summer I went on a bat walk organised by the local mammal group down the Saxon Mill and we picked up a Noctule then. The dark stain is from the urine and faeces spilling out from the roost.

As I moved up the river a passing dog flushed a pair of Teal. These are dainty ducks but are very nervous and flighty. In fact due to the wild nature of the site even the Mallard which would be fairly tame on the canal or in the park are very cautious, and rightly so there are foxes and mink that would love a duck lunch.

I paused to take rest on some cut logs and spotted a pair of Kingfishers. They flew off quickly but one returned shortly after and I was able to get this shot. The black beak indicates that this individual is male. If the lower beak had an orangey tinge then it would be female. I remember this by thinking that women wear lipstick.