A Dronefly & Early Bats

I know, I know! I don’t post for ages and now I’m posting again. I just had to tell you about my exciting sightings today.

Eristalis tenax Dronefly (Hoverfly) Female

Eristalis tenax – Dronefly – Female on Crocus (pic taken today)

It started this afternoon, while I was gardening. Actually no. It started this morning when I was shopping. Our local supermarket at Wimborne (Dorset) has the river Allen running right through it. In the past I’ve spotted kingfishers along this stretch of river but today, while I idly stared down the river bank, I spotted a little bank vole.

Bank Vole

One of the Bank Voles we found last year at our Small Mammal Trapping Day

He wasn’t at all worried by all the noise of the cars and people with trolleys but instead carried on hunting for food right by my feet. Eventually he found a bit of bread that someone had dropped for the ducks, and very proudly carried it off to eat it in private.

OK, that was this morning. Then this afternoon, as I cleared the garden of it’s winter debris, I spotted a Dronefly Erastalis tenax (pic above). It’s a female. You can tell because it’s eyes  are smaller than the males (who have great big bulging eyes that meet in the middle). It’s not rare but to me it symbolises summer. It was such a lift to see it sunning itself on one of the pale mauve crocus.

Pipistrelle flying

A Pipistrelle Flying (pic courtesy of Wikipedia)

Then this evening at 6pm (yes, it does get even better!) I went out to move the garden CCTV wildlife camera (it looks like a badger has been digging up one of our old tree stumps and I wanted to try and catch it on film tonight) and for some reason I took my bat detector with me.

As soon as I stepped out the door the detector started screaming and a pipistrelle bat flew no more than 10ft above my head.  It’s early for bats so it was probably just having a bite to eat before going back into torpor for a bit longer.

Crocus

Three of the crocus in my garden – open to the sun today

Not a bad day really.

Pretty urban but very satisfying.

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17 thoughts on “A Dronefly & Early Bats

  1. Excellent to hear your bats are out!

    Re your pal’s FZ18 –
    Its not quite like my FZ50 as it is not a fixed lens bridge (like the FZ50 and FZ30).
    Its more like my old FZ20.

    Re accessories for it – I’m not sure what your pal wants, but with a suitable adaptor, plenty of teleconverters out there in the market for FZ18s – on amazon or ebay or warehouse express.
    Same for filters (skylight and the such).
    Batteris for the old FZs can be found still at most photography shops, and a remote release (like mine) which fits ALL FZs can be found for about £20 on ebay.
    As for my macro attachment – its a “Raynox DCR150” clip on lens.
    Available in two strengths (mine – the 150) or a double strength one (the 250). Generally the “greedy” FZ owner will go for the 250 (double the magnification), but more experienced FZers plump for the 150 – easier to work with and much better depth of field.
    These Raynox lenses are available from British outlets for aboyt £30, but you can pick them up abroad for cheaper than that. Or you could, anyway. I got mine from the states for about £20 over a year ago. What with the pound going daaaaan the pan, it may be just as cheap these days to get them from the UK.
    I hope that helps a bit?
    TBR

  2. Summer on the way already! A great day out there todays and good to hear that the bats and dronefly agree. Amazing to think the 2 weeks ago everything was covered in snow!
    Good to see you’ve picked up the blogbug again – I do so look forward to reading the posts..

  3. Thanks TBR. I will pass the info onto my friend. She hasn’t had her FZ18 for long, so it’s all a bit new to her at the moment. The remote release sounds very interesting, as I know she is really missing a cable shutter release. The Raynox DCR150 is obviously a good bit of kit (going by your stunning pics). She is very interested in taking good macro shots so that will probably be a must. Cheers mate. Jane

  4. Hi Steve. Yes, I’ve been outside again today. How quickly we forget the snow! I think one of my problems was not having a lot to photograph. Now the insects are back there will be no stopping me! Glad you enjoy the posts… I’m looking forward to reading “yours”!! 🙂

  5. We have also had a bat out around here in Devon. I’m not sure what kind. What sort of detector do you have and is it reasonably priced / easy to use? It’s something I’d like to get into, but then there are so many other things. Someone told me they can be bought for under £50 and that seems reasonable so maybe next birthday!

  6. Hi Maggie. My detector, the BatBox Duet, was about £200 but I am planning on using it to record echolocations this year (so had to buy the more expensive one). However you can get some very reasonable ones, have a look at the Baton at £60 http://www.batbox.com/baton.asp which I’m told is great if you want to start listening to bats and recognising their calls.

  7. Good to hear little Ratty from Wind in the Wimborne Willows is alive and well. Used to have BV’s outside my flat in East Brent, new neighbours arrived with 3 cats, the BV’s were no more. Bats also about at home, recently, lovely to see, a sign of warmer evenings, at last.

  8. Andrew. Hadn’t thought of it as little ratty. That’s what he’s going to be from now on! I’ve been out most evenings but the bats haven’t reappeared yet… when they do I have my bat detector at the ready!

  9. Looks like a good day Jane. I found a field/bank vole today – I still can’t tell them apart, but I’m going on a small mammal course this Sat so that should sort that problem 🙂
    The insects seem to be sturring, I’ve seen two bumblebees in the last week. I had to go looking under logs today for inverts thou

  10. Hi Neil. Bank voles have very short tails. Not sure about field voles. Great to see them anyway (what ever it was!). Hoping for some more sun this week so that everything comes out to play again!

  11. I read, went to find Robert’s bat detector (don’t think it was that expensive) so I could leave a message for Maggie. Got waylaid with lambing, just got back and forgotten about the detector…ahy well, ce la vie. How gorgeously spring-filled the crocus and dronefly pic is.

  12. Hey Paula. That sounds like me. I go off to do one thing and come back an hour later and realise what I should have been doing! Hope the lambing is going well. The weather looks ok over the next few days, so fingers crossed.

  13. Pingback: Mandatory Local Food Sources | How To Fix America!

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