The bat group were invited to mist net in the gardens at Swiss Garden. This beautiful site is even more impressive as night falls. The peacocks hang up in the trees and watched us somewhat doubtfully. The local owls called to each other as we settled down to wait to see what would emerge. We staked out a building known to be a brown long eared roost, but if they were there, these very quiet bats snuck past us – though we did catch one in one of our three nets. We picked up a passing serotine on a bat detector. Dick came along having just finished working – for ever. What was lovely was that so many bats came into our mist nets. That night Dick got to handle three new species of bat – brown long eared , Natterer’s and a barbastelle. We caught two male barbastelles in one net. Both were what we call ” in full breeding condition” and maybe were so busy looking for ladies that they did not look where they were going.
The other highlight was the warmth of the evening and the clear skies. The Swiss Garden is well away from light pollution and we got a good view of the stars. Modern technology came to our aid as Steve produced his smart phone and showed off his google sky app, with which we played “spot the planet”.
The gardener at the Swiss cottage was fascinated by the bats and was delighted that, while showing one of the group off the site, he walked through the fernery and found a brown long eared bat hanging up for a rest.
We have been invited back to have a look at some more sites here next season. It’s an invitation we will be very happy to accept.