Friday, 12 August 2016

Something of the Night About it

A bit of a catch up blog this one and for a very good reason, I’ve been out at night and haven’t had a chance to write it up.

Monday 8th


Jamie P and I had a quick walk around the Lockwood in the early evening with nothing much to show for it other than a moulting adult Common Gull, the first returner of the Autumn. Approximately 30 seconds after he said "I wonder when the first Common Gull will appear?" Spooky.

Bat Walk

As long time readers of this blog will recall, I went on a Bat Walk at the Waterworks a few years ago and was disappointed to say the least. The organizers started their introductory spiel with “We don’t know much about Bats” and basically it went downhill from there. 1 Common Pipistrelle.

Last year there was a Bat Walk at Walthamstow Reservoirs and 6 species were seen! I decided that if there was another one this year I would give it a go. There was. I did.

Good for Bats, not so much for Radio 4
It started well, the leaders were knowledgeable, personable and experienced. Bat Detectors were passed out and instructions on their operation were given. The group of 28(!) was split in two and we sallied forth into the night. I would have preferred 27 less people and an expert of my own but that would have cost me £300, so beggars (and miserable old men) cannot be choosers.

Bat Men and Women
The Bats played Ball and we saw and heard Common Pipistrelle, Soprano Pipistrelle (Eh! Who you lookin’ at?) and Noctule. Their was talk of Serotine and Daubenton’s but both, as far as I know, remained unconfirmed.

Common Pipistrelle
Soprano (a.k.a. Fat Tony) Pipistrelle
I was rather hoping for the hoot of an Owl but, over the crackle of 28 Bat Detectors and a fair bit of wind, that was a no hoper. I hear there is a Hedgehog lamping expedition taking place shortly, so maybe they will have more to report in that direction.

As an aside, I mentioned the Bat Walk to a colleague at work “Are they still classified as Vermin” she queried. Josephine Public needs a lot more education when it comes to wildlife.

Thursday 11th


The evening was a relatively clear one and I was hopeful of seeing some celestial and terrestrial bodies from the patch. Mrs. Prof was up for it and we took a bunch of Teens along for protection, Jubilee Park after dark is not for the feint-hearted!

Saturn, it helps if you squint
We arrived around 22:00 to make sure our eyes were acclimatised for the pass of the International Space Station at 22:15 and I’m glad we did as a spectacular Meteorite flashed across in front of us causing spontaneous gasps from one and all, success. The ISS proved to be a hit too as it gave prolonged views as it crossed the skies. Strangely this manmade tin can seemed to be of most interest to everyone but me. I’m impressed, don’t get me wrong but I think seeing Jupiter, Mars and Saturn, complete with rings as well as killer views of the Moon and breathtaking Meteorites take some beating.

Mmm, Cheese
We had a few more Meteorites, which not everyone saw and, after dropping everyone home I snuck out for another look and had 10 all to myself. I may  have even cured the impinged tendon in my shoulder what with all the laying on the ground too, so win, win.

Friday 12th


Joining Dave B up on the Lockwood proved to be a good move as we had signs that Autumn passage is underway, nothing earth shattering to be sure but movement nonetheless. First up was a Little Ringed Plover which defied ageing (by us I mean, not age defying of itself), 3 Common Sandpipers and a tame juvenile Dunlin. An adult Yellow Wagtail, a close encounter with a bleached adult Red Kite, which took an age to drift South over Tottenham Marsh, 4+ Willow Warblers and some Lesser Whitethroats were all passage birds.

Sue H texted to say she had got a Spotted Flycatcher on the Waterworks and some Lesser Whitethroats too. We are about to get a very warm Southerly so there could be some more movement to come...


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