Thursday, 6 July 2017

I'm Batman...

Yep I'm still alive, though the blogging bug has kinda fallen by the wayside of late. I think I'm going slightly stir crazy traipsing around the confines of NG3963. Even my 1000 in a 1KSQ thing has all but stagnated. I did sneak away on a botanical blitz expedition with a bunch of botanists a few days back though. We hit a tetrad with NO vascular plant records (!) and came away with just shy of 200 species, plus 119 species of bryophytes. I didn't contribute very much but I did come away with a fat fistful of new grasses and sedges. Next one is in early August, no venue yet but it'll be another under-recorded tetrad. This is all in aid of the forthcoming 2020 BSBI Atlas Project. Here we are in action

Skye Botany Group members in action!
Transparent Burnet - one of several at the clifftop
Lesser Clubmoss - the first of seventeen new vascular plants that day!
Northern Marsh-orchid, always a treat
Physocephala nigra - this is the first record for Skye!
But none of that is relevent to this blog seeing as it was down at Tusdale near Eynort. Back to good ol' NG3963...

This morning started with a nice surprise when I realised I was not alone in the bathroom

Hanging out with my bestie
Kind of face only a mother could love...
So now I had a small predicament on my hands. The bat didn't appear injured or in immediate danger and I don't have a bat handler's license. By law I mustn't touch it. But at the same time we're having work done in the house and the chippie/sparkie/decorator might be back and forth into the bathroom which would clearly distress the bat, seeing as it was clinging to the door. I took the law into my own hands and broke it (the law, not the door!) Grabbing an empty toilet roll insert I carefully placed it over the bat which immediately shuffled inside. Then I took it to the open window, carefully ripped open the cardboard insert and tried to tempt the bat onto the wall below. 

Look at that lovely crawlspace under the flashing. Go on then, off you go...
It seemed reluctant to leave the nice cosy toilet roll insert but eventually it gave a surprisingly loud squeak and flew off out of sight. Yay - I saved a bat! 

My housemate is from Czech Republic, I met him in the hotel kitchen half an hour later and asked him if he'd noticed the bat in our bathroom. "What ees bat?" he asked. I showed him the pics on my camera. "Oh dat thing. It was in bath so I picked up and threw out window." Haha, I guess they do things differently in Czech! But wait, so did it come straight back in again or were there two of them in the bathroom this morning? I suspect the latter, my housemate isn't exactly the most observant fella in the world, especially not in the mornings.

After breakfast I horrified one of the female members of staff by showing her this beast. "Get that fkkn spider the fkk away from me!" she warned, which gave me the perfect opportunity to teach everyone present the main differences between harvestmen and spiders. 

Leiobunum rotundum - a female and 'new' for NG3963
The bat is one of the pipistrelles, I'm not sure which one though. I'll have to do a bit of research and compare my pics with what's online and get back to you on that one. I'm heading back down to Southampton at some point in the next couple of weeks, finally going to collect the rest of my possessions! I think I have a bat detector amongst my mountain of belongings, that will tell me which pips I have here.

EDIT: After a bit of internet trawling it appears that the pips that occur on the north coast of Skye are Common (Bandit) Pipistrelles as opposed to the Soprano Pipistrelle. I massively brightened the images and it does indeed look darker furred across the eyes (the so-called bandit mask effect). Add to this the habitat around the hotel (Brown/Soprano Pips tend to forage over water, Common/Bandit Pips forage generally pretty much anywhere else) and the fact that I regularly see four or five bats wheeling over the tree/rooftops here and I'm happy they are Pipistrellus pipistrellus as opposed to Pipistrellus pygmaeus. NBN Scotland shows Bandit Pips across the lower half of Skye, Soprano Pip has a single dot near the bridge across to mainland, and pipistrelle (agg) pretty much all over.

1 comment:

  1. Yep - the downside of grilling the same square is neglect of other things. The odd breakout session is a must. And that was a session! Interesting northerly distribution map for the conopid. Looks coastal elsewhere