Slugs and Snails No Puppy Dog Tails

Monday, May 23rd 2016

As with most Monday mornings we play catch up with the various left over jobs from last week and the up and coming jobs for this week. With the bulk of the nest boxes checked, we only had a few to go around today, as well as a few boxes off site on the training ground. Although we found Redstarts with eggs, we also returned to a few Great Tit nests to ring the chicks. One box we opened to check if it had a viable nest contained something other than the usual bird/wasp/bee nest …. A Common Pipistrelle Bat!

We have a number of bat boxes hung around the reserve, but this was the first one I had seen which was actually a bird box containing a bat, from the look of the droppings it was a regular roost. Pipistrelles are the commonest British bats, weighing around 5 grams (same as a 20p piece). A single pipistrelle can eat 3,000 tiny insects in just one night! There is a similar species called a Soprano Pipistrelle which can be identified by its higher frequency echolocation call.

With the showers of the day creating damp undergrowth and paths the various slugs and snails seemed more content to venture out. Here are the two colours of similar species of slug , Large Black (Arion ater) and Red Slug (Arion rufus), which can sometimes be orange. These can sometimes interbreed and create a sub species.

 On the Moorland this White-Lipped Snail moved amongst the new standing stones. This can also come with a black banded shell, but always the white shell edge/lip.

On the Moorland and around the ponds, the Cuckoo Flower is one of the main flowers at present, but there are also a few small less obvious ferns, like this Adders Tongue Fern which stands no more than two inches.

This Lousewort, which is semi-parasitic on grasses is also showing


Although this was not found on the reserve, I thought you folk that like your moths may be interested in this day flying moth called a Speckled Yellow. This is rare and localised up here, but fairly common in the south of England. We found this one and others whilst ringing in a remote spot near Catterick Garrison.

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