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An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to the see the natural world as a place for competition, that was until Covid-19 intervened!. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!

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Saturday, 25 July 2020

Batty

The Magenta 5 bat detector, that I recently purchased, is very much an entry level device. A bit like the 8 x 42 "Pentax"  binoculars and Opticron HR60 scope that did me proud when I started out birding all those years ago. Fortunately, I don't foresee a situation where listening for bats becomes an obsession, thus am perfectly happy to dabble in this quest for understanding. Bats are a family of creatures which have always been there, in the background, yet never given more than a casual glance - it's a bat. Indeed they were a pain in the arse, like those bloody eels, when barbel fishing on The Stour. Benno and I were regularly given false indications, Daubenton's Bats clipping our lines as they skimmed the surface of the river searching for prey. 

The only image I've ever managed of a bat sp. (Sept 2019)
Taken during a fire on Kefalonia, this poor critter was attempting to avoid
the thick smoke emanating from the burning olive groves

Although I have no desire to amass ticks on lists, the ability to identify those species which cross my path does have some appeal. Already, just standing in the garden, I've managed to confidently identify Common and Soprano Pipistrelle then, during a session at my syndicate fishery, was enhanced, no end, by an absolute cacophony of Daubenton's which were hunting over the lake.  Three species, of a UK list which is around/less than twenty?  Whilst I was down at the fishery, it was clear that other species were also present, yet I had no idea which. What's required is the ability to capture the sounds and replay them at a later date when the vast resource provided by internet might be of assistance. 
I've owned, and used, a small digital voice recorder for a number of years. Talking into a recorder is far easier than making notes when my arthritic hands are cold and wet after landing a pike on a February morning. I felt sure that I'd be able to marry up the two devices, therefore be able to record the calls of these unseen creatures as they go about their nocturnal routines. I am indebted to Gary Pearse, my go to computer guy, with whom I work. He being able to provide the cable which connects these two devices. What I will also make clear, is it was Gary's wife, Julie, who was catalyst to me starting feeding the hedgehogs in our garden. Pretty sure I'll end up with a trail-cam before it's finished?
Yesterday evening, post sundown, I was stationed in the garden, detector/recorder in hand, ready to give it my first go. It was a runaway success, over six minutes of almost continuous chatter from two/three Common Pipistrelles which were feeding in the lea of the garden hedge. Technical stuff which will require further assistance from young Gary is my ability to transfer these sounds into a format which I'm able to share with blog visitors and, maybe a little more tricky? How to reduce the background noise (constant buzzing) caused by the detector frequency settings? To be perfectly honest, I don't remember being so enthused by discovering new opportunities to engage with wildlife than when I first started moth-trapping back in 1994!

4 comments:

  1. Fascinating mammals. I had an encounter a few years ago with a bat that flew in our window one night and set off the burglar alarm. I got quite a shock when I came to investigate, baseball bat gripped in sweaty palms. Once I appeared the bat decided set up roost for the night in a tight crevice so there he stayed until the next night. He left out the same window when it got dark.

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    1. Things that go bump in the night always have the ability to un-nerve us daylight dwellers. I recall a very well respected angler speaking of a night spent in fear, due to the sound of a "churring" Nightjar. If you're not familiar with the sound then your mind can, and often does, play games. Thanks for sharing this batty experience - Dylan

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  2. That's fascinating, mate. I've often wondered which bats I'm sharing an evening with. A couple of years ago, I saw a little red gadget that can be attached to a smart phone which can identify which bat species is flying nearby. But I don't own a smart phone... Be great, though. Maybe I'll get round to it. I spin for bass in the late summer at night time, down from Ramsgate beach and along to Dumpton Gap. Get swarmed by bats- I wonder if they're Daubenton's? They hunt over the water, taking flies etc on the foreshore. Also know quite a few spots in Ramsgate town and Pegwell which are real bat havens. Always wanted to know if they're different species...

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    1. Just like your good self, bats have been part of my nocturnal meanderings for as long as I can remember. It is a direct result of the lockdown and associated "furlough" periods which have manifested themselves in a desire to purchase this fandango device. The ability to take it a step further by recording the sounds, that I'm hearing, has heightened my enthusiasm to learn more about these "familiar" (yet un-identified) creatures which live on the dark side! It's now a small matter of mastering a computer program, called Audacity, thus being able to share these sound bites with visitors to my blog. I'd like to think it's possible - but don't hold your breath!
      Keep safe & tight lines - Dyl

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