Monday, 5 May 2008

Horses, birds and bats . . .

Where to start, after such a busy and enjoyable weekend? This was the view just the far side of Abergavenny, when my Adventure was just starting.

Here are my friend's horses, who all enjoy having some fun:

They are used to the big yellow ball . . .

And being ridden bareback and in just a headcollar . . .

And have their own party-tricks!

And need no encouragement to follow in true Monty Robert's "follow up" fashion:

It was lovely to relax and just "stand and stare". It was surprising how many birds were nesting around Jude's outbuildings by the stables. I spotted Blue Tits, Great Tits, Swallows, and Sparrows, all nesting. There were Pheasants, Collared Doves, Pied Wagtails, Greenfinches, Yellowhammers (which we don't get in our neck of the woods),Dunnocks, a Greater Spotted Woodpecker and a possible sighting of a Spotted Flytcatcher too. Down at the cottage, there were lots of House Martins who had taken up residence again, and were busy nestbuilding - and a few hopeful Sparrows who try to muscle in when the Martins have half-built their nests. The Martins talk to each other - you'd think they were discussing the weather, or the quality of the puddle-mud (which they use to nest build) or which direction to fly in next!

Jude had a bat-detector which she had on loan, after a bat identification evening at a nearby castle. We were stood up on the hill after dark each night, trying to locate and identify the different bats. Positive I.D.s were Pipistrelles, a Lesser? Horseshoe bat, and a Noctule. These latter bats like to roost inside trees - an old Woodpecker hole being a popular choice. They are one of the largest bats found in Wales and are golden brown. The Horseshoe bats are less common. The Greater Horseshoe likes feeding by lakes and woodland and they commonly roost in buildings. They over-winter they choose cellars, caves and tunnels. The Lesser Horseshoe is an endangered species and rarely seen in Southern England and Wales. It prefers the rooves of stables, sheds, barns and rural houses to roost in, and feeds over unimproved grassland beside water. The Pipistrelles are common bats of town or country. They roost in tree holes and beneath roof slates (indeed, in Jude's cottage and we have them at our house too). They can eat as many as 3,000 insects a night (which seems a tad greedy!) It was fascinating hearing the different "voices" they have, and hearing the "raspberry" noise they make as they catch

Our trip to Dymock will be the subject of the next post.


MammyT said...

Jennie- so good to have you back. I'm happy you had such a good time. Who is the lady in the photos? You make me wish I'd taken more of an interest in birds along the way. It's one of the few subjects that hasn't pulled me in. I always made note of the birds that visited my yard, but that's about it. Imagining the sound of the bats! That must have been very enthralling.

Cookie Sunshine said...

that looks like such fun.

Thanks for your sweet note.


Kelli said...

What a wonderful weekend you had, Jennie! The horses are beautiful and it sounds like they have quite the personalities!