Thursday Team Go Batty!
Friday, September 14th 2012
The morning sunshine and white fluffy clouds changed to a dark threatening sky with cool blustery winds and rain at times but this did not deter the Thursday Team from continuing and completing the task set for them! They had been given a clipboard and pencil, a map and a chart and not forgetting the ladder, their job was to check the bat boxes for inhabitants, bats or other things!
This is not easy as the boxes are spread around the reserve and are often away from the paths. It was also a time to check that the boxes were in good repair and to clean them.
Unlike bird boxes, the bat boxes are usually together in twos or threes. Bats like to be able to move from one box to another during day if the temperature rises or falls.
A late lunch saw many boxes checked and reports of a wasp's nest and more curious, some of the boxes were filled with moss. There was no hole in the moss suggesting mice, or a depression that may have been a Wren.
There was disappointment that no bats had been found. However with waterproofs donned they set off into the wild wind to finish their task. (Tony suggested that they could not go home till they had done so)! Up the ladders yet again.
And again and again! Then Garth opened a box and hey presto a bat!
You can see that the back of the box has small grooves cut into it and this allows the bats to find purchase with their hind legs and so hang upside down warm and comfy during the day. They leave these roosts in the evening to hunt insects. They do not hibernate in these boxes, only using them during the summer months.
Another box was checked and again another bat. If you look carefully at the photographs you can see their small ears, their five toes on their back feet and along side their body the wings tucked close in.
The photographs were taken quickly and the lids replaced so causing no disturbance to the bats, leaving them to rest until dusk.
After a long day in the field the weary team of Tony, Garth, Mike and David, returned to the Field Centre for a well deserved cup of tea. They displayed their clip board and map with pride!
Whilst all this hard work was being carried out other volunteers completed some indoor jobs, helped rake a meadow, clear under the hopper in the back garden, and Brian moved and burnt brash in the woodland.
Volunteering at Foxglove is always fun and the tasks given are varied. Discussion at lunch included tasks for the future - tool maintenance and counting of tools, (this a very wet day job) repairing punctures, seed stocktaking and raking the middle moor. Without all their hard work in so many areas Foxglove would not be the very special place she is.
Thank you all for your help today.
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