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Showing posts from April, 2014

Easter Bats

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Last night the sky clouded over sufficiently to prevent the temperature descending too quickly, so we took a skiff along the River Thames to monitor the bat activity. 
Unfortunately, there did not appear to be any Daubenton's bats using the Barge Tunnel roost and there was little other early bat activity along Barge Walk.
However about fifty minutes after sunset the river came alive and as it grew dark several bats overflew the bank so we had superb views of foraging common and soprano pipistrelle bat.
There was a brief pass of a Natterer's bat followed a few minutes later by a passing Daubenton's bat but no great activity until we got to the R. Mole where the bats detectors started going berserk! Nathusius' pipistrelle featured briefly but no 'big' bats (noctules or Leisler's bats) indicating their maternity roosts may not yet have formed.
On the return we had limited foraging evidence of some Myotis bat species. The late arrival of these suggest they had…

New duck visitors are attracted to the raised water levels at the FB's!

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April, and raised water levels have consolidated, which has influenced the range of species visiting the filter beds, although winter-visiting gadwall have now left for their breeding territories. The water quality is constantly improving and it is possible to view submerging tufted ducks looking for molluscs and aquatic insects as well as  seeds and vegetative parts of aquatic plants. There has been a small posse of tufties present all this year, the male a smart black and white and the female a dull brown.




There are  new arrivals to FB. 4, and these two red-crested pochards were displaying yesterday (showing an intention to breed). This is a plant feeder and dives for stems, roots and seeds of aquatic vegetation. In his display, the male passed these items to the female and it is useful to see that the FB's can now provide the range of food that these ducks seek. These are larger duck than  pochard, and there is a useful size comparison with a male pochard, which remains at FB.…