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Showing posts from September, 2015

Checking Bat Boxes

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Today I've been with the East Yorkshire Bat Group, checking bat boxes in Allerthorpe Woods. Six species have been recorded there in the past.

Checking bat boxes
The first few boxes we checked contained only spiders. Then we found boxes with bat droppings inside and finally one with two bats. They were Soprano pipistrelles, one male and one female. I'd assumed the sub-species of Pipistrelle could only be distinguished by the frequency of their echo-location calls, but apparently there are physical differences too. The Sopranos have yellow colouring around the mouth, a distinct pattern of veins in the wings and they smell different from Common pipistrelles.

Soprano pipistrelle
The boxes were clustered together in groups of pine trees, with two or three boxes on a single tree in some places. After checking a group, we realised we'd missed a box out, which was easily done. Going back to it was well worthwhile, because it contained nine Natterer's bats. They were put in a b…

Building Tansy Enclosures

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After a two week break in the Greek islands, which was lovely, I returned to my local patch last week. On Friday I went to a conservation work day at Poppleton Ings, on the north side of York. This is part of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust's River Ouse Floodplains project. While I was away, the volunteer group started building stock-proof enclosures which will be planted up with 600 of my home-grown tansy plants. This will provide additional safe habitat for the endangered tansy beetles which, in the UK, live only along a 30km stretch of the river Ouse around York and on one site in Cambridgeshire.

Judy and Emily hard at work (while I wander around taking photos)
These enclosures are an odd shape, to better divert flood waters, and the posts and rails are wired together to deter vandals (who will try to use them for firewood). We completed building the second enclosure and got some of the plants in.

Wiring the framework together
A completed enclosure
Mating tansy beetles