Thursday, 2 June 2011

Bats, Beetles, Bug

My bat-watching station, 1 June 2011.
My bat-watching station, 1 June 2011.
This was another attempt to locate the roosting site for the Serotine bats that feed around Hayes. Again, there are no photos of bats. And again, we didn't find what we were after.

We met at the car park on West Wickham Common. I looked at the surrounding trees when I arrived, and found a late instar nymph of a forest bug, a type of shield bug. I'll post a photo when the adults appear. But on to bats. We spread out along Croydon Road and environs, and watched for Serotines.

I was halfway down a hill, with a good view of a clearing at the edge of the treeline, and a house we thought might be a candidate. But although Serotines were heard and seen, they did not seem to come from there. In fact they always seem to turn up first in the woods, which is very puzzling, as they are not known to roost in trees.

There was lots of wildlife. As it grew dark, moths and mosquito-like insects flew all around me. I recognised a white plume moth. One of the other sort bit me on the thumb .. and suddenly I saw something flying overhead. It was a big beetle, a cockchafer. I saw another later on.

This time I got a good view of some bats. A Serotine flew over my clearing and came back several times, swooping and catching insects, quite low and clearly visible against the sky. I also saw at least one Pipistrelle. I hope they were eating the creature that had just bitten me.

I watched the big bat flying around for about ten minutes. Some of the other also got a glimpse, but not such a good view. However, we are still no closer to working out where they came from.

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