Saturday, 10 April 2010

Birds, Bats and Beasties at Rodden Reserve.

At last, a beautiful spring morning to get out and about, when I didn't have other priorities getting in the way! At Rodden Nature Reserve where I help with the management, we have started a systematic small mammal survey with the aid of traps.  The traps are set with grass and food and left overnight around the Reserve.  This morning several of us went early to check the traps.  More about that later.  I decided to get down there 1/2 an hour early to see what else was about.
I had a good start with my first Willow Warbler of the year.  They're not the most exciting looking birds, but hearing their beautiful cascading song was a real treat this morning.
In this last shot below, you can see it's pale legs which is one of the ways to distinguish it from the similar Chiffchaff.  Mind you, there's not problem telling them apart when they're singing as their songs are completely different.
As I walked around I noticed a pair of Canada Geese quietly swimming on the misty lake. It was a beautifully serene scene.
The early morning sun showed up the beauty of the grasses
When the others joined me, we set out to check the traps.  We have 12 at present.  6 of these were occupied.  We had 5 Wood Mice (as seen below). Sorry about the quality of the photo, but they move soooooo quick!
It seemed like we were only going to find Wood Mice this morning, but the last trap had this lovely Short-tailed Field Vole.
Yesterday evening, while resetting the traps, we were lucky to see this early Bat come out to hunt over the lake.  It is more than likely a Daubenton's Bat as they are known to hunt low over water.  It was nearly dusk, so the photos are far from good, in fact, I put this first one in because I thought it looked .....er......interesting! (-:
As you can see, it was hunting very close to the water.  As we were watching it, the Bat crashed into the lake and tried a few times to fly up without success (I didn't take any photos unfortunately).  I thought we were going to watch it drown, but with heroic heaves, it started swimming (with butterfly like strokes) towards our floating island.  It did manage to reach the island and disppeared into the foliage to dry off hopefully!
I can only imagine that it had just woken from hibernation and was feeling a bit dopey! I know how it feels! (-:
It was certainly a dramatic end to the evening!

16 comments:

Chris said...

Hi Jen,
I guess you are getting fun trying to catch the mammals and to make a survey. That's probably very interesting, but be careful they bite ;-) Nice message you got there, and I love the picture of the Canada goose, it has a nice atmosphere! Thanks for sharing!!

Eve said...

Your pictures as usual are just wonderful Jenny! I love the bats! Aren't you just so happy it's spring!!!

Kelly said...

Oh....that short-tailed field vole is just adorable. I've never seen one. Love the wood mice as well... The sun backlighting the grasses is beautiful...

Rural Rambler said...

Wren I bet you could almost see all the way down into the tummy of that Willow Warbler if you could get close enough. It really has that beaker wide open in song! Cool shot. I don't know WHAT kind of voles we have but they are wreaking havoc in our flower beds! And the moles all around the Tiny Ten, CH's frustration level is close to exploding! We have never thought about live trapping the voles and giving them a new home AWAY from the flower beds. Hmmm.

John said...

Hi Jenny,

Lovely post, the Willow Warbler is a pure delight this time of year and the photos of the Voles esp the Short-tailed excellent nice to see. Winter has been long, Spring is here at last.
John

Jenny said...

Hi Chris, I'm glad you liked the Canada Goose shot,it was a lovely time of day with the mist rolling across the lake surface.

Hi Evie, yes I'm glad spring as sprung at last! (-:

Hi Kelly, I loved that Vole too. We're hoping to get some water shrews maybe, but they're quite scarce apparently..we shall see...

Hi Pix,yes that Warbler was singing it's heart out, obviously glad to be there! (-:

Hi John, yes the WW song is always one I look forward to at this time of year.

Mosura said...

A great time of year. Love the mammal close ups. You did well getting the bats at all. Interesting post!

TonyC said...

Great post Jen. You did well to even get close to getting the bat shots.

Roy said...

Hi Jen, the Bat must have a malfunctioning radar. Great shot of the Canada pair.

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

Wow, Jenny! I love the bat shots as much as I love bats! Once, I saw the same thing happen to a barn swallow on our lake and he did the very same butterfly stroke to reach the bank! You are so lucky to be working on a Preserve.

Sharon said...

A lovely post Jenny with great photos to match. Brilliant ones of the Bat & it must be great to get that close to Woodmice without them scurrying off!

Mary said...

What a fascinating post! I love seeing the little mammals in the traps. That would be something I would enjoy doing. Cool bat shots! I didn't know they would crash into water or that they could swim. Learned some new things. I love the foliage shots, too...the light on the grasses and that first tree shot. The little warbler is pretty and I would love to hear it sing.

Jenny said...

Hi Alan and Tony, yes I knew that those bat shots would be pretty bad but couldn't help trying anyway! (-:

Hi Roy, either a malfunction or just dopey after hibernation!

Hi Debi, wow, that Barn Swallow must've been something to see!

Hi Sharon, yes it was great fun doing the mammal trapping. I wish I could've been there for more of the sessions!

Hi Mary, glad you enjoyed the post. I must send you a link from the RSPB site for Willow Warbler song!

Quiet Paths said...

This was a fascinating read, Jenny. Bats tend to get very mixed up when they are flying close to water. My father in law spends a lot of time on the rivers and ponds fly fishing and he's observed some odd stuff with bats near water. I love the photos of the songster! Glorious spring, he seems to be saying...

Dog Trot Farm said...

Lovely post Jenny, your nature photos never disappoint. Spring rain has arrived at Dog Trot, hopefully will bring May flowers!

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