A busy few days has meant I have been unable to pause and upload a new post. Sunday was a day of 2 halves . . .
The morning was spent leading a bird field trip to the fantastic Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory (SBBO). I am a huge fan of SBBO, with its fantastic mix of habitats, rich natural history and the fantastic bird ringing efforts carried out on the site.
There was a north easterly wind blowing, which I hoped might bring something extra special across from Europe, but it wasn’t to be. There was a lot of bird migration occurring though, with Meadow Pipits and Skylarks seemingly everywhere. Whinchats and Stonechats were gathering along the barbed wire fences, a few Brent Geese were moving off the coast line, and a great selection of wildfowl and waders were on the Restharrow Scrape, including a Garganey.
A highlight for me and for most on the walk, is the privilege of watching the dedicated bird ringers carrying out their long-standing research of the birds moving through the local area. A Goldcrest, Britiain’s smallest bird, was a real treat to see! Not many people realise that many Goldcrests from mainland Europe can migrate a considerable distance to countries such as British Isles. One particular Goldcrest caught at SBBO was last seen before then over in Latvia – a distance of around 1,000 miles!!! Why not check out their website: http://www.sbbot.org.uk for more info, and up to date sightings and records.
The evening was spent carrying out important bat research elsewhere in the county, part of the Bat Conservation’s Nathusius Pipistrelle study. This is an incredibly exciting pilot study taking place this year to assess the status of this rarer Pipistrelle species in trial areas, with a view of trying to roll the study out to other areas (as long as funding allows). It is being co-ordinated by the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) and is a result of the National Nathusius’ pipistrelle conference which took place near Bristol last year. Bat Groups involved are Kent Bat Group, Surrey Bat Group, South Lancashire Bat Group, Northumbria Bat Group and a joint venture by Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Bat Groups.
Sunday night saw us catching a number of species, but unfortunately no Nathusius on this particular night. Bats caught were Soprano Pipistrelles, Daubenton’s, Whiskered, and Brown Long-eared. Below shows just how small a Soprano Pipistrelle is in relation to us – absolutely tiny!!! – I pretty cute too! Soprano ‘Pips’ are one of our commonest bat species in Britain, and found mostly round wetter habitats then their close relative the Common ‘Pip’, that prefer dryer habitats. It’s incredible that these two species of pipistrelle were split as recently as 1999!
If you’d like to more about Bat Conservation, and fascinating research they carry out, then please look at their website: http://www.bats.org.uk, where you will find lots of great info!