Batty about Blashford

Well its a lovely site (with lovely staff and volunteers 😉 !) and lots of people are definitely batty about it, but also over the last couple of weeks there have been several unseasonal sightings of what are almost certainly soprano pipistrelle bats – yet another indication of just how unseasonably mild it has been of late.

It is not uncommon for the us to see day flying bats “hawking” for insects from late afternoon onwards on warm days in March or early April as if there are insects flying the hungry post-hibernation bats make the most of the food available to them to replenish much diminished reservoirs of fat/energy, but I think seeing the same behavior consistently in January is a first for the reserve, and certainly for me.

Visitors have reported bats in footpath clearings along the Dockens Water and Tracy and I have both seen one near the Woodland Hide. Always a treat to see and it has certainly made the visit for at least one family that told me about their sighting last week.

Another wildlife spectacle which continues to thrill is that of the starling murmuration in the Valley which from the reserve can still be viewed from Tern Hide or the viewing platform, although the roost site itself is to the north of the reserve beyond Mockbegar Lane.

As with all murmuration it is at its best on clear, calm evenings. Not sure what the forecast is for later today, but if it stays like this spectators should be in for a good one!

Otherwise I can report that the tree work to remove the ash trees near Woodland Hide went ahead on Monday without hiccups and the footpaths to the Woodland Hide and hide itself reopened ahead of schedule on Tuesday morning.

We still don’t obviously have a bittern!

Presumably the mild weather that has treated us to bats on the reserve this month has kept bittern over on the Continent. If a period of prolonged wintery weather does ever arrive, it maybe that it will see us hosting some overwintering bittern again this season.

Time will tell.

In the meantime Ivy Lake is still a great place to sit and watch multitudinous wildfowl, particularly from Ivy South Hide:

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