Sunday, December 29, 2013

North and South part Two

North in this post means the north of England. Each year I receive an invitation from the A Rocha group in Sandbach, Cheshire to lead a bat walk. This is part of their community engagement activities and takes place in Brereton Heath Country Park. This year it was held a little earlier in the year than previous so we did have a slightly longer time before it became dark enough. We did notice some late flying dragonflies, but it was not light enough for good identification. We did a circular walk of the lake and saw and heard both soprano and common pipistrelle. Our bat detectors also enabled us to hear at least one noctule. Once we arrived at the spot in the photograph below we were treated to some excellent views of Daubenton's hunting over the water. Seeing the wildlife and making new friends made this annual event worthwhile.

In August, after missing the Rutland Bird Fair due to ill health, I returned to Southall to help with the second play-scheme. Called Dragon Detectives it takes place on Elsdale II, the largest electric wide-beam barge operating on UK waterways. She can take a full class of pupils for education purposes. We use it in partnership with Groundwork. Cruising up and down the Grand Union canal, we learned about dragonflies and damselflies. Each day involved games and crafts as well as a few songs. We made some bricks and created an early form of animation. Notable sightings were common terns, Banded Demoiselles, several hawkers and darters and the raucous ring-necked parakeet. The excitement for me was noting some frogbit.

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