Sunday, 4 March 2012

Pipstrelle Bats and a Colour-ringed Oystercatcher

After the extremely mild and spring like conditions of the last week, it was back to winter with a changeable weekend weather wise, rain then wind on Saturday and then more rain and wind on Sunday! So with no chance of doing any bird ringing I headed down to a small barn to check on the local bats. I have been keeping an eye on this barn (well its bats) since 2007, and have recorded five species, Brown long-eared, Common and Soprano Pipistrelle, Serotine and Natterer's, during that time. The bats use the barn in different ways, with the Pipistrelle's tending to use it for hibernation and the Long-eared's using it mainly for breeding, with a few staying on to hibernate.

The last time I looked in the barn was January 2012, when I located single Brown long-eared and Serotine bats and seven Pipistrelle species. This time I located 13 Pipistrelle bats, which is the most of this species I have ever recorded in the barn. I have previously left a remote bat detector in this barn and have found that of the two Pipistrelle species, the Common Pipistrelle is the most regular and therefore I suspect that these bats are all that species.

Pipistrelle Bat (most likely Common Pipistrelle)

All of the bats were located in small crevices in the lower part of the barn, and were very awake, which is probably a result of the recent mild weather, although they will be in for a shock if they venture out tonight!!

Two Pipistrelle bats in a small Crevice

The bats were mainly clustered together in small groups with the largest group numbering four bats, but the most visible were a group of two just inside the entrance door. The Common Pipistrelle is one of the UK's commonest bats which on average can weigh between 4 - 8 grams and has been recorded living to the grand old age of 12 years.

Colour-ringed Oystercatcher, Bunny Meadows

By the time I had finished in the barn the weather had cleared and the sun was shining, so I popped down to Bunny Meadows. It was bitterly cold so didn't stay out too long, but did find a colour-ringed Oystercatcher on the inter-tidal. Two of the rings were discoloured but I think I eventually managed to get the correct combination. All of the previous colour-ringed Oycs I have seen here were originally trapped at Hamble Point on the other side of the water, so I am guessing that is where this bird was ringed.....but I will keep you posted.

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