Wednesday 10 June 2015

Under Bat Attack

I've been a bit more mobile today, and with the better weather I've had a couple of jaunts out. This morning - ish - I had a trot along the Grange Road fields managing to jog a few steps now and then.

The sun was out, and so was a second flight peacock which made up for the fact I was expecting the hardened ground to be alive with new small tortoiseshells. Not yet however, and I'm still thinking that 2015 is about three weeks behind last year in terms of 'emergences'. Small whites were about too, a single small white spot on each wing indicating that they were spring flight males.

In the afternoon I ran very slowly up to Beacon Hill nature reserve, and added more small whites and a common blue to the day's butterfly list. With it being sunny, the small heaths were skittering around at low level, but I managed to get reasonable shots of one specimen. It must have been on valium, allowing me to get within a metre of it.

The evenings have been clear and chilly, and the ambient twilight at 10pm or so when I'm typically heading out or pottering around with the bins or other domestic excitements is a prime time for bat watching. Either my flat or the church hall next door has pipistrelles living in the roof, and a couple or nights ago, a couple of them put on a mighty display for me.

I have no idea how pipistrelles mate, or fight, or anything else about their mating habits. What was clear that one of the bats was chasing the other around in the limited space on my driveway, executing insanely tight turns before swooping low across the hedge and back up and around. There's barely a moth to be found anywhere and I've no idea if they are finding enough to eat up there, if that is what they were up to.

Every so often, their flight path brought them towards me, and I'd feel a thrill pass down my spine as the bats - in all, barely larger than a sparrow - would fly straight at my face, before presumably their echo location system alerted them to the presence of a clodhopping human, and they'd rise up over my head.

I felt like I was being strafed!

I remember showing my sister bats when she was very young, and her loving them. I wonder how she would have enjoyed seeing these?

Next week, I might be able to show her.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 10.06.15

Small white on the remnants of oilseed rape

Can you spot the Dog Ness Monster>

Tree Bumble at DEvon Pasture

Coot and chick, London Road pond

Adult is still feeding the chick

End of Clay Lane now impassable for the summer

Pair of small whites

Damn that focus!

Damn it again!

I think this was a vestal or gypsy cuckoo

Best snap I got of the small heath


  1. I particularly like your butterfly pics. We were up at Sutton Hoo last w/e, hoping to see butterflies that like the heathland habitat ... but it was too cold for them still.

  2. A little burst of sun and a drop in wind speed - for a change - brought them out today! Good luck spotting them.

  3. I had almost forgotten that some years ago I watched bats hunting round my garden every Summer evening. I hunted out my old bat detector tonight and had a quick search. Thought I had found something but it turned out to be ultrasonic sounds made by Penny's claws on the concrete path! Don't know whether the colony died out, were disturbed by all the building work locally or just moved their choice of feeding area. It used be fascinating watching the way they dodged all the aerial wires I used to have then. Also fascinating watching how some moths could detect a bat and suddenly drop a few feet as a bat flashed past them.

  4. The farmer and I have two bats here on the farm - there have been two for many years - we don't know whether they are the same two or not - they never increase. We are not even aware of the variety! But every night they swoop up and down the yard and we love to watch them. We have no idea where on the farm they live - presumably in one of our buildings.

  5. Love the bat story......we have long eared bats in our loft.
    I love it when I walk the garden and they are swooping around me.

    Some beautiful images there Simon..........

  6. I'm a new follower to your blog.. great photos. Now off to have a look through your blog archive :o)

  7. Welcome Julia, lovely to see you here!

    I'm pretty sure my town bats must be pipistrelles, they are so tiny! Not sure what species other than them would live in urban settings.

  8. Lovely critters, bats! Enjoyed the photos as well.

  9. Lovely to see so many butterflies and bats,

  10. Lovely post, butterflies and bats... nice.
    Amanda xx

  11. Great post Simon - loved reading about your encounters with bats and seeing the butterfly photos :)

  12. Darn tricky to shoot butterflies with a mobile phone...but still easier than bats!