A collection of wildlife photographs

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Hibernating bats

As the frosts roll in with winter, many animals go underground to hibernate. Bats are no exception. On a trip to several bat hibernacula today, I came across 4 species: Daubenton's Myotis daubentonii, Natterer's Myotis nattereri, Brown Long-eared Bat Plecotus auritus and Common Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus. These photos were taken under the supervision of a licenced bat worker.

Daubenton's bat Myotis daubentonii
There were abundant Daubenton's bat in the caves, tunnels and ice houses. This species can be identified by its relatively short ears that lack the curled tips of Natterer's. Its face is quite dark, and Daubenton's has large feet which it uses to catch insects with whilst foraging over water.
Daubenton's bat Myotis daubentonii
Daubenton's bat Myotis daubentonii
The relatively large feet of Daubenton's bat Myotis daubentonii

Natterer's bat Myotis nattereri
There was a frequent number of Natterer's bat in the hibernaculae. Compared to Daubenton's, this bat species has longer ears, with curled ear tips. It also has a relatively pink face.

Natterer's bat Myotis nattereri

Brown Long-eared bat Plecotus auritus
There were occasional Brown Long-eared bats in the hibernacula.This species is notorious for its large ears. This species has a niche hunting strategy, instead of using echolocation as much as other bats with smaller ears, it uses its large ears to listen to its insect prey. This is effective as insects cannot hear this quieter predator, until it is often too late. When hibernating Brown Long-eared Bats often tuck their large ears behind their arms to reduce heat loss. The photograph below shows this - just the tragus of the ears is sticking up.

Brown Long-eared bat Plecotus auritus

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

The edge of agriculture

Common Toadflax Linaria vulgaris
Scarlet Pimpernel Anagallis arvensis
Redshank Polygonum persicaria

RHS Hampton Court Flower Show

On the 12th July we went to the Hampton Court Flower Show. This event reels in hundreds of thousands of people each year, and 2014 was no exception. There are many show gardens, rated by the judges for several categories, in addition to flower stalls. The following comprises some of my favourite plants and gardens from the event.

One of my favourite gardens in the flower show was the Jordan's Garden. This was designed by Selina Botham, who described it as having 'wild flowers on the outside but building in intensity of colour towards the centre'. The species of the outside include Wild Carrot Daucus carota, a distinctive umbellifer with bracts potruding from the bottom of this flower, as well as Yarrow Achillea millefolium, and Wild Thyme Thymus polytrichus amongst Cornflower Glebionis segetum and others. The flowers in the center of the garden included Meadow Sage Salvia nemerosa, with its purple flower spike and Culver's Root Veronicastrum virginicum 'Album'.
The Jordan's garden
Corn Marigold Glebionis segetum
The photo above shows Corn Marigold iThe Flintknapper's Garden designed by Luke Heydon. This was another wildflower garden, and was arguably the best of the show.

Below are some of my favourite flowers from the stalls.

Bugle Ajuga reptans
Variety of Eastern Purple Coneflower Echinacea purpurea 
Pride of Table Mountain Disa uniflora

Japanese shield fern Dryopteris erythrosora
Spinning Gum Eucalyptus perriniana
Spinning Gum Eucalyptus perriniana

To maintain these leaves which are centered on the stem, this variety of Eucalyptus must be pollarded to its base every year. This is because the leaves are characteristic of a juvenile Spinning Gum Eucalyptus perriniana, and the adult leaves are long, drooping and sickle shaped.

Fuschia Fuschia sp,
Bunny Tail Lagorus ovatus

Cowslip Primula veris
Ragged Robin Lychnis flos-cuculi
Turkish Sage Phlomis russeliana

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