For years I have been promising myself that I would do a Bat walk one of these days, Friday was that day. I duly arrived with spouse, friend and friend's nine year old son at the Waterworks N.R. and was greeted by the very friendly Lea Valley staff. The ranger started off her talk by apologising that she was not a Bat expert (my heart sank a little). There was a quite interesting talk about the Lea Valley Park (heart sank a little lower), then we got around to the Bats (heart rising) apparently we would possibly only see 2 species (falling) these were Pipistrelle, species unknown! and Daubenton's (heart definitely rising again).
We waited until dusk, were issued with Bat detectors, (immediately claimed by 9 year old), and off we went into the dark.
The Bat detectors were picking up various calls, ours stated 'Bat' on the readout which unfortunately meant low battery rather than an actual Bat. I got the Pip, in fact everyone got the Pip, we heard them flying, we heard them feeding, we even caught glimpses of them.
Later we tried for the Daubs over the Lea but they didn't want to play ball.
Was it fun? Yes, everyone seemed to enjoy it, even your curmudgeonly blogger! Would I do it again? Nah! Should you do it? Probably. It is quite nice being out with an enthusiastic crowd venturing into the night without fear of mugging, and seeing people, who had possibly never seen a Bat before, enthuse about wildlife.
Now I think I need to promise myself to do a Bat walk with someone who knows whats what and where we might actually see some Bats.
As for the thorny question of 'do Bats get tangled in your hair?' I checked out the other half and the answer is, reassuringly, not.
On this day: 27 08 83 Walthamstow Wind NW1 calm and hot: 1 juvenile Little Grebe on High Maynard also 1 Kingfisher seen twice. 1 juvenile Cuckoo on Lockwood, moulting into adult plumage. (?) 1 Greenshank heard flying South over Lockwood. 1 Snipe on No.3 Many Yellow Wagtails and a few Common Sandpipers.