Saturday 2 June 2012

Batty encounters.

Shortly after arriving home from the lambing Shep found it necessary to hide from the madding crowds. Work had been somewhat manic upon my return to civilisation and it was a number of days before the opportunity to head off and chill came around. Eventually dogs and I sidled off for a quite walk away from people, or so we thought.
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Slowly losing myself to the peace and quiet of nature and her therapeutic ways I couldn't help but take photos.
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Sheer bliss to leave the cares of the world behind, dogs at heel, camera in hand and saunter around appreciating everything which is free in life with no one to bother you.

The bird song was ringing in my ears as I lost myself in my own little world. Then there was a 'song' I was unfamiliar with, a high pitched call. It was definitely resonating through the air and from above as though from something on the wing but what it was I did not know, I was unaware of having ever heard such a sound before. Then my heart dropped as I noticed people, were they going to shatter my peace and solitude?

Anything but. They did indeed make my solitary walk a sociable affair and educated me in the process. Researchers they were, researchers with a ladder no less and 'things' tied up in little cotton bags. My curiosity or ought that be nosiness got the better of me. I soon learnt that the unfamiliar call I had been hearing was that of a noctule bat, which is a brown furry mousy character with big wings, well okay, not golden eagle sized big wings but for a bat it has big wings. It also seemed to have quite an array of very sharp teeth.
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Apparently there are lots of these bats, the biggest in Britain, in our area. They have been recorded to fly 50km in one night and are the only bat which catches all it's prey on the wing. Wow! All stuff I didn't know. Also, just incase any of you out there didn't know, they are like badgers, in that the females don't fertilize their eggs until they deem the conditions are right for breeding. They carry the sperm inside themselves and delay fertilization until they think it is a sensible time to reproduce - fascinating! Of the three which I saw handled and recorded they were all females, all had reared young in the past but showing no signs of being pregnant at the moment. Well!

Apparently the area we were in was home to five different species of bat, I was really beginning to wish I'd had a pen and notebook coz everything I was learning was quite fascinating and with a memory like a goldfish I was well aware I was going to forget most of it. I eventually left the researchers in peace, not liking to overstay my welcome but wishing they would fetch something else out of one of those little cotton bags, I continued my solitary musings with a spring in my step and mind racing. Nature and all the freebies she has to offer had once again lifted my spirits as had two people, even though my intention had been to escape from madding crowds (in Tarset more than one person can well be described as madding crowds!). You just never know what you'll come across in this world of ours!


Emma Anderson said...

Lovely Piece. The flower pictures are super and the bat is wonderful. I was at Rupert's Wood last week for the Bat Talk - it was excellent.

Tarset Shepherd said...

Thank you Emma and good to see you back. I can see I'll have to get myself on one of those bat walks/talks an' all, either that or become a 'stalker' when the researchers are in our area, 'tis all quite fascinating.