Sunday, 21 June 2015

30 Days Wild Day 20: Creatures that Flap in the Night

I stood in our back garden around 9:45pm yesterday with the intention of doing some bat-watching. We have at least three or four bats flapping around our house most warm nights so it doesn't usually take much patience to spot them. However, on this particular night, the bats were not playing ball. I saw one individual which didn't hang around and after that, zilch. I thought this was strange considering the evening was mild and there were more than a few moths and insects buzzing around above me. Rich pickings for the bats, you would think!

It wasn't a total bust though. I had a quick look around the exterior light for any moths and found a rather large, bright orange one thrashing around in a spider's web. It managed to get itself free and settled above the light, staying still long enough for me to get a decent photo. Moths are not my strong point by any means and I did get rather excited by this new visitor as most of the species I see in our garden are variants of grey/brown. After a quick Google search, I was ever so slightly disappointed to discover that my orange moth is called an Orange Moth. Someone clearly ran out of ideas on that day at the office!

Orange Moth

There are a few nooks and crannies in the exterior walls of our cottage which I inspected with a torch and found two False Widow spiders occupied with the remains of their prey. They are easily identified by the light brown legs and contrasting dark abdomen with white-ish markings. I've never noticed them in the garden before and I didn't realise quite how small they are. We do also have a resident Cupboard Spider living in the eaves of our porch. It has been there for a long time and only ventures out of its funnel-like web at night. It is extremely shiny and black with a very bulbous abdomen.

False Widow

I stuck around outside until it was more or less completely dark but still didn't see any more bats. This was a shame as they are so wonderful to watch; they have such a distinct flying pattern and often I have felt them fly so close to me that I could hear the clicking of their sonar. Maybe I'll have more success another night.

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