Showing posts from August, 2017

New bat species recorded for Kingston!

What bat is that (photo, M. Wagstaffe).    Five bat species were caught at a Chessington location, during a harp-trapping session, convened by members of local Bat Groups as part of the National Nathusius' pipistrelle project.  This included several common and soprano pipistrelle bats; two Daubenton's bats; a brown long-eared bat and another that took observers a little time to identify.   By looking at the dentition under a magnifier it was possible to see which of the small Myotis bats matched  the cusps and protocones present or absent on the teeth. It turned out to be a whiskered bat; there are no recent records for this species in the borough. This is because the genus is difficult to record on bat detection equipment, emerging slightly later than pipistrelle bats and as a woodland specialist has specific habitat requirements. At a similar trapping session at Kempton Park, a whiskered bat was caught in the harp-trap which was a first for Hounslow. A N

Mammals of Kingston: Mink along the Thames and Hogsmill rivers.

    Mink are seen dispersing at this time of year.  The River Mole is unfortunately a reservoir for this species from where they move up the Thames and onto the Hogsmill. Mink are known to be breeding in the borough, possibly at more than one location. It is regularly seen swimming around Raven’s Ait, usually at dusk. They have been  seen under the bridge at Charter Quay since its construction. Rivers must be mink-free for two years before translocation of water voles is permitted; as this species is considered a voracious predator of the water vole. Nick with a mink skin This is a mink skin which gives a good indication of size of the animal. Mink footprint traps have been installed along local waterways. They have a clay base in order to look for footprints which are indicative of their presence. There have been a number of sightings recently some of along the Hogsmill and Thames: The path at Hogsmill O.S. is being improved by the Lower Moles and two of the volunteers

Beaky Bat

This is a young male common pipistrelle bat, which was found on the end of someone's shoe in Surbiton. He is called 'Beaky'. In naming a bat, some of us follow a convention of using the road name where they were found - in this case Beaconsfield Road - to  remember the return location. Over years of bat care, naming assists in reminding us of those  difficult injuries, strange locations, and any sympathetic vets we may have found along the way. Beaky at the top of the flight cage    Beaky only weighed 3g on arrival and was  fed small amounts of mini-mealworms four times daily. He was soon self-feeding, and within ten days had doubled his body weight spending his time sitting in his food dish.  Unfortunately his wings were stiff and he has never flown. He will do press-ups and wing stretches but not fly. He crawls to the top of his practice flight tent and goes to sleep. He has gone on holiday to Demian's house so that he can have some flight therapy.