I spent Thursday afternoon checking the 200 or so reptile mats laid last week. Unfortunately no target species were found on this visit although we did find a few common toads and also a baby vole. I would say that the lack of findings shouldn’t be considered representative at this stage as conditions for the check were not great. Firstly the mats have only been in place for a week, leaving them little time to bed down. Furthermore the day was damp and overcast and as such the mats were cold and unattractive to basking reptiles. There are another 6 (at least) checks to be carried over the coming weeks and hopefully these can be completed in more desirable conditions.
At sunset we also prepared for a bat survey at the site. For this we split up in pairs, each circling the sites perimeter from opposing directions and stopping for 3 minutes at set points of interest. Each pair had a bat detector linked to a recording device enabling tracks to be analysed at a later date. When a bat was heard, we recorded its location, the track number and time, real time and if possible the bats species and activity type.
Paired with a colleague who is similar to me with regards to bat ID, this was my first bat survey without an expert present and it gave me a good chance to try and identify bat calls for myself. Although the tracks have not yet been analysed (to confirm my predictions) I was pretty happy with how much knowledge I have retained from volunteering with the SLBG. By altering the frequency of my detector to tune out certain species and also through watching flight patterns, I feel fairly confident that I correctly ID’d Common and Soprano Pip’s as well as Daubenton’s at various times throughout the survey.