It’s a bit embarrassing to admit this, but in 26 years of the bat group no one, as far as we know , has ever been to Tiddenfoot Water Park near Leighton Buzzard with a detector.We spotted it when looking for possible Nathusius sites on an OS map and after a daylight recce earlier this month we returned with detectors last night.As we drove into the car park we noticed their were horses in the field opposite and as one thought “serotines” (They like feeding on dung beetles that live on horse dung.)
The site was busy when we arrived, people walking their dogs, coaxing reluctant dogs back into cars, people without dogs strolling for the fun of it, runners doing a circuit of the lake, fishermen in the space we had thought would be a good netting site – but tonight we were only going to do a detector survey. Swans floated impassively and photogenically on the sunset stained water, and the land absorbed the people effortlessly. It felt like we were the only people there.
As dusk fell another life form swarmed over the land. The tree cover here is well established and provides lots of cover and the lake was as calm as a mill pond. Soprano and Common Pipistrelles cavorted amongst the trees while Noctules flew higher in the sky, giving long echolocation calls to mark their mastery of the air high above the lake. Ducks came close to beg, in vain, for a titbit or two (unimpressed when we told them we had no bread and in any case it was bad for them).
We were only thirty minutes into the survey when the heavens opened and we retreated leaving the bats and ducks to their own devices.
The early finish meant we could look at the sonograms last night. We had missed some Myotis – probably Daubenton’s given the habitat – but best of all were able to confirm that there where indeed serotines over the lake.
This is a smashing site and like the terminator says ” I’ll be back” – next time on a night when it is isn’t raining, not with a gun and finely toned muscular bodies, but with a lure (and silly Clouseau accents) and mist nets and then we will see that we get.
Oh and we didn’t hear a Nathusius this time, but it really did not matter. Who knows what else we will find here?