Archive for the ‘Mammals’ Category

One minute interview with Tamsin from the Avon Bat Group (and her captive bat, Devon!).

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After spending part of yesterday showing children from local schools how to create their own tracking trap Gill Brown left out her own larger traps overnight here at Arnos Vale in the hope of tempting in some local wildlife when they sniffed the nutty aroma of the breakfast spread peanut butter. She left one trap right next to the path and one in a more hidden location.

Hedgehog tracker

Hedgehog tracker

Earlier on this morning Gill checked her traps and found the footprints pictured below. Can you tell what animal made them?

Hedgehog footprints

If you said Hedgehog you were absolutely right, exactly what Gill and the rest of the Bioblitz team were hoping for. With the evidence of these identifiable black sticky prints we can now add Hedgehogs to our species count.

If you want to know how to make your own tracking trap be sure to look at our previous videos with Gill’s explanation.

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If you were enthralled with George’s post below showing some great images of our bat hunt last night with the Avon Bat Group (and some lovely close-ups of its stars), then take a look at the motion picture edition!

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Gill Brown shows students from St Anne’s Juniors some inventive ways of tracking small mammals in your own back garden.

Building mammal traps

Using a simple bit of tubing, even a kitchen roll tube can be used, some black paint and bait it’s easy to gather foot prints of your gardens inhabitants. Simply paint a small section of card with the paint at either end and in the middle leave some tempting peanut butter or even a hot dog for bigger beasts!

Gill Brown looking at mammal tracks

After building the traps Gill goes through the different tracks you might come across in the trap and others that she has discovered and recorded over the years.

Megan and Holly with their mammal trap

Then into the woods to lay the tracking devices in a hidden location. Megan and Holly are hoping to find evidence of mice when their tracking trap is checked in the morning.

Videos of the event will be up shortly so make sure you check back!

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How do you find a hedgehog in a cemetery? We asked mammal specialist Gill Brown the very same question, and she kindly chatted to us about exactly what she would be doing to find these elusive nocturnal creatures…

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Night footage from Arnos Vale showing badger activity. This footage was taken by Will Bolton (www.willbolton.co.uk) a couple of weeks ago using a cameratrap.

We hope this gets you excited for this years event!

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Tonight’s bat walk was a big success. Seven different species were spotted (or heard, rather!) during the two-hour expedition. These were:

  • Common pipistrelle
  • Nathusius’ pipistrelle
  • Soprano pipistrelle
  • Greater horseshoe bat
  • Lesser horseshoe bat
  • Serotine
  • Noctule

We started off in the woods and gradually made our way towards the house where there was a greater horseshoe bat roost, but it was too dark for photos by that point!

Bat hunting!

Using the bat detector to pick up the bats' ultrasound, which can't be heard by human ears

Common pipistrelle

Common pipistrelle flying overhead

Common pipistrelle

Another common pipistrelle - harder to photograph than you might imagine!

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We’ve got a load of exciting events coming up this afternoon. Here are just a few to whet your appetite.

1.30pm – Tess’s random safari. (Bring your own pith helment.)

All afternoon – Guided walks with some of our naturalists, looking for mammals, plants, beetles and much more.

8.30pm – The famous bat walk, with our very own David the Batman.

9.30pm – A chance to see some of the moths here at Tyntesfield as dusk sets in.

And for the earlybirds amongst us, there’s the dawn chorus walk tomorrow morning at 4.30am. (Yes, a.m. We’re about to draw straws to see who covers that one…)

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David the Bat Man

David the Bat Man

Who are you?

I’m David. I’m a bat expert and will be leading the ‘bat walk’ from 8.30pm this evening.

What are you hoping to see?

We’re going to see lots of bats, which we’ll find with the help of our special bat detectors. I’m hoping we’ll see some serotines, which fly very low and so are great fun to watch.

What’s your favourite bat?

The brown long-eared bat, definitely.

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A quick update from last night’s bat and owl survey. A quiet start to the evening soon gave way to the clicks, hoots and calls of Blaise castle’s resident bat and owl community. Local residents, armed with bat detectors and guided by the expertise of David Brown and Roger Moses were eager to investigate the nocturnal lives of the winged species that can be found here. Tawny owls and Myotis bats could be heard calling, but my highlight was the Daubenton’s bats that could be seen flying low over the water, hunting for insects. A great sight that made the walk through the dark forest totally worthwhile.

Happy with a bat detector

Listening to Daubenton's bats

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