My blog is mostly about wildlife, particularly birds, walking, days out, all growing things and anything else that comes to mind.
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Tuesday, 15 September 2009

A Centenary, a Bat House and a Spotted Crake

Yesterday I started to feel a bit better (calm before the storm) and as I'd heard there was a Spotted Crake showing well on Sunday at the London Wetland Centre I decided to head on over.

On arrival, I was reminded that 14 September 2009, was the centenary of Sir Peter Scott's birth, a man, without whom, these nature reserves would probably not exist and a man who contributed so much to wildlife and birds in particular. I felt it was fitting that a picture of his statue (on the way into the reserve) should picture in my post today.

In the visitor centre I was advised that the new Bat House was being opened today and also there would be a birthday cake served at 4.00 p.m. if I was still there, I was free to have a piece of cake and a cuppa (As it happened, I'd left before that).

Traffic was quiet for a Monday and I got there about 10.30. The S.Crake had been seen from the Dulverton Hide again but by the time I got into the hide it had gone behind the island.

There was a very friendly group of birders there who advised it had been seen about 10 minutes prior to my arrival. We all sat and chatted and an hour went by. Of the eight or so birders mostly had scopes but a couple of us had binoculars only. Well, eventually I started to get hungry so headed off to the cafe for a sandwich and a drink - both of which I took back to the hide. Still no show and by now I was getting a bit chilly; consequently I headed off for a wander around the reserve.

To coincide with Sir Peter Scott's centenary, The Bat House had been duly opened and this was the view across the Lagoon. It's incredibly white and I'm not sure that I like it. There are a large number of bats around the Wetland Centre and the Bat House is intended to attract two of the species (8 of the UK's 17 native species have been observed at the Wetlland Centre); The Daubenton's bat which likes being near water - had it's own entrance low down on the structure on the lagoon side, and the other being the Pipistrelle Bat - this normally roosts in tree or buildings and therefore the outside of the structure should provide roosting sites.

Further around, the wonder colour of Autumn on this bush and..

its equally colourful fruit.

Out on the lagoon, the two young Great Crested Grebe youngster could be seen with a parent in tow.

Back again now in the Dulverton hide. The sun started to show itself albeit very shyly; it did just about catch the colour of this Lapwing.

We watched entranced as a Hobby spent sometime successfully hunting over the water. We were equally entertained by two Kestrels one of which, a bit earlier on, had landed on the roof of the Peacock Tower. Little did those in the Tower know that a BOP was not that far above them! Great stuff.

And finally, the Spotted Crake showed itself - for a good twenty minutes or so it came into full view and disappeared through the reeds only to reappear a few feet away. I wouldn't have seen the detail (just having binoculars) but one of the birders very kindly let me watch through his scope as he stood there sketching it! It was far to far to get a picture but I was just so thrilled to have seen it (together with a Common Snipe) and I added another lifer to my list!

Finally it was time to go home and en route I espied this rather guilty looking squirrel who had found a hazel nut and looked very determined..

"OK - she's not going to enjoy the hazelnut, I'm putting it away in my larder for the winter. And anyway, I'm hiding in the grass, so she can't possibly see me"

Rather pleasing day.

And today - well I've definitely got a cold, sore wind pipe and little energy! I don't like being below par!! And it's raining!! As a result of being lazy and watching the garden birds I did see a male Sparrowhawk land on one of the branches of the Eucalyptus tree - and it was duly chased off by a Jay which landed next to him! Was the Jay brave or foolhardy I wonder!


oldcrow61 said...

You seem to have such great places to visit. I really like bats. I wonder if there was a specific reason that the bat house was painted white. I have to say that squirrel does look guilty, lol. Great photos as always.

Warren Baker said...

Well done with the Crake! I bet that makes your cold a little more bareable.

Have a rest Tricia, and do some garden birding for a day.

mick said...

I am wondering what will attract the bats into that new 'house'? Are there lots of them around without suitable places for them? Look after that cold! You need some warm summery weather - like we're having now :-)

Midmarsh John said...

All the bat boxes I've seen advertised have been natural wood colour. That bat house does look a bit of an eyesore. I shouldn't think bats are worried about the colour, maybe it is to reflect some of the Suns heat?

Lovely head on squirrel photo.

Take care Tricia there's a definite Autumn nip in the air now.

Chris said...

Hi tricia,
Yes i guess it was a rather pleasing day!! I love that squirrel on the path, it is a very nice shot. We occasionally see lapwings in Iceland but very few of them.

holdingmoments said...

Well done on seeing the Crake Tricia. A bit of a rarity. That'd be a lifer for me too.
Does seem a strange colour for the bat house. Maybe it helps in the dark? lol
Sounds like a good day out, apart from the cold.
I'd say that was pretty brave of the Jay; or daft. Can't make up my mind on that one. A sight to see though. :)

John said...

Hi Tricia,

Sorry to hear about your cold....honey and a large scotch help....failing that a bottle of scotch, you may have a hangover but you won't feel your cold ; )

I have not been to the London Wetland Centre for ages, it is a place I used to bird while living in London when it was the four large reservoirs. It is a great place and now I can't wait to go back.

Lovely post


avalon said...

Sounds like you had a great day liked the pics of the autumn colours on the tree. Hope you are feeling better today, horrible feeling underpar as you say

Lily said...

Wonderful photos as ever, loved the statue of Peter Scott, I remember him well from TV in my childhood! Maybe someone could paint yoghurt on the bat house and let nature cover it quickly in lichen?

Tricia said...

Hi OC - I like bats too. A couple of years ago, my daughter, grandson and I went on a "bat walk" there. It was great and I was amazed how many there were about! As to the white? I don't know!!

Warren - it certainly helped loads!

Mick - there are a great number of bats there and I don't know where they roost at present.

John - same here - I'm beginning to think the white is purely aesthetic!

Chris - it was rather an appealing squirrel! We get many lapwings in the Winter mostly.

Keith - thanks. I was really amazed when the Jay landed on the same branch!!

John - I think you're right - the hangover would knock out the cold symptoms!

J - Autumn colours are so rich aren't they! And on the mend now I think, thank you :D

Lily thank you. The statue has two swans at his feet but I couldn't get everything in frame!

Excellent idea about the yoghurt!!

ShySongbird said...

OC (and others) asked the question I was going to! I have looked on google and found some interesting articles about the bat house. It is, 'the manifestation of a concept generated by Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller'. It is made from Hemcrete,

'... a more sustainable alternative to concrete made from hemp and lime, which is breathable and should be ideal for the bats to roost in. It locks up CO2, partly because of its organic basis, which is helpful in the fight against climate change..'

More information can be found here,

An interesting post Tricia which led me to some interesting articles.

Well done on the Crake and the lovely photos as always and I do hope you soon feel better :)

Tricia said...

Hi Jan. Yes it is an interesting building and some more info. can be found from the link within my post. It's an unusual construction and seem environmentally friendly as such. It is obviously a "designer" building though in my opinion.

I still don't understand why it had to be white though. It's sticks out far too much over the lagoon. Hey ho!

ShySongbird said...

Hi again Tricia ;) yes the bit I forgot to say was that my first reaction was 'Yuk! it looks like a loo!!' I thought it stuck out like a sore thumb, ah well at least the bats should spot it easily!

ShySongbird said...

So sorry Tricia, (you will be sick of me) I didn't spot your link otherwise I wouldn't have put the link in my comment. You are welcome to scrap my comment if you want to .

Tricia said...

Jan - please don't worry. I could never be sick of you. I did wonder if I'd rather (unintentionally) disguised my link.....the more information the better, as far as I'm concerned.

It's great to learn about matters that are posted and we can never have too much knowledge!

I like your "loo" description.... :D

Janine said...

Perhaps some ivy or some other vines will colonize the bat house and give it a more organic feel. Purple martin boxes here are often white, not sure if its to reflect heat, or to camouflage against droppings from perched birds! Great photos as always, feel better soon!

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