Birds-foot Trefoil

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Birds-foot Trefoil

Birds-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) is a perennial plant and a member of the pea family, it has yellow pea-like flowers which can be seen from May to September.

The two colours of yellow and red that can be seen in bud give the plant the names eggs and bacon and bird’s claw. The seed pods that are shaped like a bird’s foot can be seen after the flowers.

It can be found in grassy areas, and it is a valuable plant for wildlife, and the food plant for the common blue butterfly, burnet moth as well as a nectar source for bees.

Credit: Information and photo kindly supplied by Peter Dowse of Bollington, Cheshire

Blue Geranium

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Blue Geranium
  • The colours of the geranium can vary from red, pink, magenta, violet, purple, white and salmon.
  • The Geranium grows all over the world.
  • When cultivated from seed they take around 5 months to flower.

The flower of the Geranium can bloom all year long is single or double flowers.

Bluebell

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Bluebell

The Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) is a familiar sight in our woodlands and grassy banks during the spring. They grow from bulbs, with the leaves emerging shortly before the violet-blue scented flowers. They are an important plant and an indicator of ancient woodlands.

They are also known as auld mans bells, ring-o-bells and wood bells.

Medicinal uses of the bulb include diuretic and styptic properties, this is because the bulbs contain toxic substances, they were a popular source of glue for bookbinding.

The Spanish Bluebell is a threat to our native bluebell and is frequently planted in gardens and the two species will hybridize with each other.

Credit: Information and photo kindly supplied by Peter Dowse of Bollington, Cheshire

Common Nettle

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Common Nettle

Stinging nettles (Urtica Dioica) are easily recognised and can also be unpopular as a weed; unfortunately it is often easily felt as the whole plant is covered in stinging hairs.

Stinging nettles produce formic acid which they hold in brittle hollow hairs. When you crush a plant, you break the hairs, causing the acid to burn your skin.

Nettles can be made into drinks such as beer, wine, champagne and tea. They are high in iron, vitamin C, a source of Calcium and Magnesium. Nettle soup is also popular. They are also an important wildlife plant for insects, birds, and butterflies, such as the small tortoiseshell and peacock that will use it as their food plant.

Credit: Information and photo kindly supplied by Peter Dowse of Bollington, Cheshire

Dandelion

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Dandelion

The yellow flower of the dandelion (Taraxacum officinaleis) commonly referred to as a weed of roadsides, gardens and waste ground. The flower heads are a fantastic nectar source and food plant for bees, hoverflies and butterflies.

Linnets, a bird of farmland is known to feed the developed seeds to its young chicks. The seed heads are white and can be seen dispersing in the wind.

The leaves when young can be used in salads and the flowers to make dandelion wine.

Credit: Information and photo kindly supplied by Peter Dowse of Bollington, Cheshire

Ivy

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Ivy

Native ivy (Hedera Helix) is a vigorous evergreen climbing plant which can be found growing up and over walls, trees and hedges. It is one of the best wildlife plants, supporting excellent cover, nesting sites, nectar rich flowers and berries. It is the food plant for many species of moth and the holly blue butterfly.

Ivy is wrongly thought to damage trees and it is not a parasite, it takes nothing from the tree and only uses it for support. It does not strangle the tree or cause deformities. Occasionally, when it gets in to the canopy it can reduce the amount of light reaching the leaves of an old tree and can make the tree more liable to blow over in the wind

In former days old English taverns bore a sign of an ivy bush over their doors, this to indicate the excellence of the liquor supplied, hence the old saying “A good wine needs no bush”.

Credit: Information and photo kindly supplied by Peter Dowse of Bollington, Cheshire

Lesser Celandine

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Lesser Celandine

Lesser Celandine is a native, tuberous, perennial herb growing up to 25cm.

Flowers are solitary (between 1 to 3cm across) with green, ovate sepals and 7 to 12 bright yellow petals. Petals have a dark patch at the base.

Leaves are green, glossy and heart shaped.

They grow in damp woods, hedge banks, banks of streams, marshes and waste ground, where they can form extensive carpets.

Photo Credit: © Keith Jones

www.flowers.goodpages.co.uk

Purple Moor Grass

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Purple Moor Grass
  • It is native to Europe, west Asia and North Africa.
  • It is found in moist heath land and bogs throughout Britain.
  • Purple Moor Grass is a United Kingdom Biodiversity Action Plan Habitat due to its rarity.
  • It can grow up 90 cm tall.

It flowers between July and September, later than other species.

Sweet Violet

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Sweet Violet
  • Flowers late February to May.
  • Sweet Violet grows in hedge banks, woodland, churchyards, waste and brownfield sites and beside roads and footpaths.
  • It is a native, perennial, low-growing, rhizomatous, patch-forming, fragrant herb that grows in patches of plants linked by rooting stolons.

The flowers are small (12-18mm across) and violet. The spur is usually lilac or purple.

Credit: Thank you to Keith Jones for sharing these informative facts. Photo Credit: © Keith Jones

www.flowers.goodpages.co.uk

Alder Tree

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Alder Tree

The alder (Alnus glutinosa) is a tree common along streams, rivers and water logged soils. In winter next seasons red female catkins and long male catkins become conspicuous.

It was once coppiced for charcoal, and if it was grinded with sulphur and salt urine it would make the finest gunpowder.

When the tree is cut the inner bark is a red, orange colour, it was believed that it lurked evil because of the colour and its appearance of bleeding.

Credit: Information and photo kindly supplied by Peter Dowse of Bollington, Cheshire

Apple Tree

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Apple Tree

This tree, native to southern England and Wales, is a large deciduous tree with smooth grey bark can grow to a height of 40 metres. It develops a domed crown which spreads out into a dense canopy and gives shelter to animals seeking shade, and is home to many a bird and insect.

Leaves
The leaves are oval with wavy edges, pale green in colour when young, and mid to dark green when mature. In the Autumn the beech gives a spectacular display of rich yellow and orange brown leaves. The leaves are 5-15 cm long, and 4-10cm broad. The autumn leaves fall when the new leaves are about to sprout.

Flowers
The small catkin flowers grow in April and May are monoecious, meaning both male and female, and the beechnuts,10-15 mm long, are a triangular shape with small hairy husks, have often been used as food in generations past, prevented starvation. The beech was used against mental rigidity, arrogance, intolerance, and lack of sympathy.

A poultice was made from the leaves for healing scabs and skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis. It was noted that if you cut into the bark it would not heal, proving its rigidity, thus many a name was carved out on the beech tree.

Uses
Other uses for the beech tree is that it makes good firewood, smokes food such as ham, sausages, and cheese, makes drums used for Budweiser beer, furniture, sheds and such which are still made from this tree. One of the first uses of the beech tree was to cut it into thin slices for writing, forming our very first books. Beech; “boc” in Anglo- saxon means book.

The poet Tennyson referred to the roots of the beech tree as “serpent-rooted”, but these roots do not go as deep as in the oak tree for example, and can easily fall if the roots become waterlogged. A hard frost can help the tree lower its roots further into the ground in the attempt to get away from the cold, thus ensuring its survival.

Credit: © Photo and content kindly provided by Transition Wilmslow

www.transitionwilmslow.co.uk

Beech Tree

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Beech Tree

This tree, native to southern England and Wales, is a large deciduous tree with smooth grey bark can grow to a height of 40 metres. It develops a domed crown which spreads out into a dense canopy and gives shelter to animals seeking shade, and is home to many a bird and insect.

Leaves
The leaves are oval with wavy edges, pale green in colour when young, and mid to dark green when mature. In the Autumn the beech gives a spectacular display of rich yellow and orange brown leaves. The leaves are 5-15 cm long, and 4-10cm broad. The autumn leaves fall when the new leaves are about to sprout.

Flowers
The small catkin flowers grow in April and May are monoecious, meaning both male and female, and the beechnuts,10-15 mm long, are a triangular shape with small hairy husks, have often been used as food in generations past, prevented starvation. The beech was used against mental rigidity, arrogance, intolerance, and lack of sympathy.

A poultice was made from the leaves for healing scabs and skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis. It was noted that if you cut into the bark it would not heal, proving its rigidity, thus many a name was carved out on the beech tree.

Uses
Other uses for the beech tree is that it makes good firewood, smokes food such as ham, sausages, and cheese, makes drums used for Budweiser beer, furniture, sheds and such which are still made from this tree. One of the first uses of the beech tree was to cut it into thin slices for writing, forming our very first books. Beech; “boc” in Anglo- saxon means book.

The poet Tennyson referred to the roots of the beech tree as “serpent-rooted”, but these roots do not go as deep as in the oak tree for example, and can easily fall if the roots become waterlogged. A hard frost can help the tree lower its roots further into the ground in the attempt to get away from the cold, thus ensuring its survival.

Photo Credit: © Martin Liebermann

www.transitionwilmslow.co.uk

www.martin-liebermann.de

Blackthorn

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Blackthorn

The blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) is widely used in hedgerows and has white flowers which appear before the leaves.

The fruit are called sloes which if mixed with half weight of sugar and stored for two months make sloe gin. If the sloes are eaten raw they are tarty and will dry the inside of the mouth.

The plant is also the caterpillar food plant of the black and brown hairstreak butterfly.

Credit: Information and photo kindly supplied by Peter Dowse of Bollington, Cheshire

Elder Tree

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Elderberries

The elder (Sambucus nigra) is a small shrub or tree which is recognised by its brown, ridged and corky bark. It was often known as the people’s medicine chest, as all parts can be used as remedies. The berries are a good source of vitamin c and can be made into wine or jam. The flowers can be made into wine, tea and cordial.

It was once protected, Celts believed it was bad luck to cut down and it was sacred to the moon goddess. The leaves were gathered on the 1st April to protect them from evil spirits.

Credit: Information and photo kindly supplied by Peter Dowse of Bollington, Cheshire

Fir Tree

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Fir Tree
  • There are over 50 different species.
  • They can be found throughout North & South America, Asia and Europe.
  • Fir provides some of the main species of trees used for Christmas Trees.
  • The height of firs can vary greatly depending on the species; some can grow to be 130 ft tall.

All types of fir offer watershed protection to their environments, as their root systems holds soil to the surface and prevent erosion.

Photo Credit: © Vikki Gadd

www.vikkigadd.co.uk

Oak Tree

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Oak Tree

The oak tree is a strong deciduous tree with deep roots, which can grow fairly quickly the first 80-100 years then slows down in growth for the next few hundred years. The oak has antiseptic properties, and is known as the king of trees. More insects feed on the tree than any other species, with support for 30 species of birds, such as nut-hatches, woodpeckers, warblers, and flycatchers. There is also 300 species of lichen associated with the oak. Two main types of native oaks are found in Britain. The common oak which has acorns with long stalks, and the dominant oak with acorns which sit to the right on the twig, rather than from a short stalk.

Leaves
The leaves are dark green with curvy edges and are about 8cm. The spread of the tree produces good conditions for blue bells, foxgloves, primroses, and wood sorrel to grow under it’s shade.

Oak Berries (Acorns)
Catkins flower in spring, and acorns appear in autumn. Acorns were placed on window sills to guard the home from lightening and harm by our ancestors. In folklore the tree was associated with the God Thor, and other thunder Gods, believing to protect the tree itself from being struck by lightening.

Uses
Woodlands, hedges, parks are the main areas to see the planting of oak trees. Brown dye from the bark made ink, and was also valued in the leather tanning industry. Ships, tutor houses, woodcarving, furniture, doors and heavy weight bearing beams were all made from oak.

The oak tree fairy
The tree spirit was said to be of masculine strength, giving fertility power, endurance, and prosperity to those who sought its help.

Healing
Boiling its bark was used to treat harness sores on horses, and in the past used externally for piles, and internally for diarrhoea.

Further Info
Transition Wilmslow have some expert people with a developed sense of awareness as to the role trees play in our lives: and seek to bring this knowledge into focus for the health and well being of us all. A small section of a recreational area off Gravel Lane has been planted with fruit trees with this objective in mind. In Styal woods a number of oak trees have been planted within the hedges by people wishing to remember someone who has been important in their lives. Trees can mark occasions in many ways.

Credit: © Photo and facts kindly supplied by Transition Wilmslow

www.transitionwilmslow.co.uk

Rowan Tree

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Rowan Tree

The Rowan tree (Sorbus aucuparia) is a deciduous small strong tree native to the Northern Hemisphere, can grow to 20’, often in poor soil. It is also a tree seen planted where land has been overworked as it is tough and dense. In Scotland this tree was mainly planted near homes for protection. Even today the Scots would not damage a Rowan tree incase their home and person would cease to be protected.

Leaves
The green- grey feather like leaves ( pinnate) turn reddish in the Autumn, and are similar to that of the ash tree, though not related.

Flower
White flowers with five petals grow in May around 5-10mm and grow in clusters.

The Rowan tree berry
The berries grow to 4-8mm every third year or so, and can be orange or red; in winter the red may even darken. There is a five pointed star on the berry at the end furthest from the stalk. This pentagram shape was also the symbol of protection, and the red colour was said to be the best colour against enchantment. The berries are eaten by birds such as thrushes and waxwings.

Healing
Was once used for scurvy, and as tonics, especially when run down and in need of vitamin ‘C’.

Cough syrup from the Rowan berry is still made in some rural parts of Scotland today.

Uses
In the past the bark was used for tanning. The berries too were used for dye. Today the tree is grown in gardens, and parks for wildlife, and still used for jelly and jams. Other uses were walking sticks, diving rods, spikes in rakes, carving tool handles, and spinning wheels to name but a few.

Stories
There are many stories associated with the resilient Rowan tree, mainly in the realms of celtic folklore, and as the tree means a secret, or to whisper. We will allow the tree to keep its own counsel here!

The Rowan tree fairy
The fairy of this strong tree of power was all about protection. Protection against evil, ( in days gone by evil was thought to be the power of witches, and was feared). Protection against superstition, gave protection for the cattle, protection of the home, and for those who live in the home. The tree fairy was said to be magical in being able to promote a positive attitude. This (feminine) fairy also gave virtue and helpfulness into this world.

Credit: © Photo and facts kindly supplied by Transition Wilmslow

www.transitionwilmslow.co.uk

Sycamore Tree

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Sycamore Tree
  • Sycamore trees can grow to be 100-175 ft tall.
  • The leaves tend to be 4-6 inches in length.
  • It is one of the oldest species of tree on earth.
  • It is considered a symbol of strength, protection, eternity and divinity.

Yew Tree

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Yew Tree

The yew tree is an evergreen long living tree, and native to Britain, with the power to self generate, as it reroots itself. The trunk hollows out after time, and its bark is reddish brown with purple tones which peels. Some of the oldest yew trees we have are over the common age which is 400-600 years old. The oldest yew tree is recorded in a churchyard in Perthshire ( Fortingall) with an age between 2,000-4,000 years old. Mature trees can also grow to 20m. Nether Alderley’s St Mary’s church has an old yew tree known to be 1,200 years old.

Leaves
Straight small dark green needles green grey underside with pointed tip. The birds that nest in these trees are our smallest, such as goldcrest and firecrest.

Berries (Arils)
These red pinkish berries are toxic with a poisonous kernel, though the fleshy part of the berry can be eaten by blackbirds, Mistle thrush or song thrush. Squirrels and dormice also find this part of the berry appetising.

Uses
Once used for the longbow, and is still used for dense easy to maintain hedges.

The yew tree fairy
The yew tree fairy is the oldest of the tree spirits and the hardest to understand, with a connection to the Eternal. As it is known as the forbidden tree ( from the garden of Eden story) With ancestral knowledge, it brings change, reincarnation, death and rebirth. The fairy is said to help bring you closer to loved ones who have passed on. Grave yards are common places to find yew hedges and trees, planted by the druids for sacred ceremonies. The same sites were then used by Christianity.

Healing
The young needles are used for chemotherapy in the cure of cancer, and in the past the none poisonous part was sometimes used as a laxative and diuretic.

Further Info
We know trees are the earth’s lungs, climate regulators and able to support the homes of birds, insects, and some species of animals. Trees give and sustain life in many ways, and our ancestors have valued this fact. Transition Wilmslow have some expert people with a developed sense of awareness as to the role trees play in our lives: and seek to bring this knowledge into focus for the health and well being of this and every area of Britain.

Credit: © Photo and facts kindly provided by Transition Wilmslow

www.transitionwilmslow.co.uk

Black Garden Ant

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Black Garden Ant

The Black Garden Ant (Lasius niger) workers are 4-6 mm long, wingless and black or dark brown. They are usually found in large numbers, either around their nests in the soil or following each other along their scent trails across the ground and paved areas, over walls and into buildings. The queen is larger (up to 15 mm long) and mid-brown in colour but is only seen if the nest is excavated. The fertile males and females are only seen briefly, as swarms of flying ants.

Where do they live?
Black Garden Ants nest mainly in dry soil and humus. Although their nests are most often noticed in gardens – in flower beds, lawns, and under paving stones – they are also common in dry grasslands and heaths. From their nests, they forage widely for food along scent-marked trails across soil and ground vegetation, and – most noticeably – across paved surfaces and into houses, where they are attracted to sugar and crumbs. Outside human habitation, they feed on many things: small live insects, dead insects, nectar, seeds, etc. They also feed on the sugary secretions produced by aphids, some other sap-feeding insects and certain caterpillars, and often tend them to protect the source of this food from predators.

Where can they be found?
This ant is found throughout the British Isles.

When can you see them?
Worker ants can be seen foraging on the ground and in houses from March to October. The winged adults fly on certain afternoons from July to September: this is triggered by warm humid weather conditions and often occurs simultaneously over wide areas of the country.

Life cycle
The fertile flying ants mate during their two or three hour flight, but many of them are eaten by birds. After the mating flight, the males die but the surviving mated females shed their wings and make individual chambers in suitable nest sites in the soil. The new queen lays a few eggs and rears the larvae to adults: these adults are her first workers and the successive broods of workers that start to emerge in the early spring will tend the queen, rear the larvae, protect the pupal cocoons (the familiar cream-coloured so-called ‘ants eggs’), and forage for food for the queen and colony for the remainder of the queen’s life (up to 15 years). During early summer, the queen lays special eggs that will develop not into the usual sterile workers but into fertile winged males and females. Later in the summer, these fertile adults undertake the mating flight and the successful females will establish new colonies.

What do they do?
This species and a related Lasius species are essential for the conservation of the declining populations of the attractive Silver-Studded Blue Butterfly (Plebejus argus) on heathland because they protect the butterfly’s caterpillars from predators in return for feeding on secretions specially produced by the caterpillars.

Although black ants are a nuisance in houses and can cause problems for gardeners by loosening the soil under plants, they are harmless and do not carry diseases.

Did you know…?
All the worker ants of a particular colony have developed as sterile females from eggs laid by the colony’s single queen, so they are all sisters!

Photo Credit: © Royal Entomological Society

www.royensoc.co.uk

www.nationalinsectweek.co.uk

Southern Wood Ant

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Southern Wood Ant

The Southern Wood Ant (Formica rufa) is one of the largest ants in the UK and it can be easily recognised by its reddish colour, black head and tiny waist. It is known as the ‘Southern Wood Ant’ because it is mainly found in the south of England and in Wales. Further species occur in the north. Wood ants create large mound nests in open glades or on the edges of woodlands in sunny, sheltered locations. The ant mounds are dome-shaped and are often over a meter high and two metres wide. They are usually constructed of leaves, twigs and thousands of pine needles. Avoid treading on one of these mounds as wood ants can be very territorial and can bite quite fiercely.

Wood ants often live in a huge colony that is made up of about two hundred thousand ants. A colony of this size could have over a hundred Queen ants whose main purpose is to produce eggs. There will also be thousands of female workers whose duty is to collect food, keep the nest clean and look after the young. Interestingly Queen ants can live up to fifteen years while the workers often have a life span of one year only. The colony also has workers who act like soldiers who have no hesitation at all in attacking and removing any other ant species found near their nest.

Wood Ants mainly eat insects and other invertebrates, especially aphids which are seen as a pest to foresters. Sometimes Wood Ants are actually introduced into woodlands and forests as a form of pest management. Wood Ants have large jaws which are powerful enough to bite through most insects or immobilise them to make eating easier.

In June, when days are very humid, you may be able to see many winged male Wood ants and Queens flying around. Hundreds of males and many Queens leave the nest to reproduce and engage in a mating flight. Once a male has mated with a Queen it soon dies while the Queen sheds her wings and looks for a suitable place to create a new nest. Interestingly, Queens are able to lay eggs that produce workers and also eggs that produce winged reproductive males and females. Most of the eggs are laid from April onwards. As soon as the young emerge they know what their purpose is, whether that be cleaning, finding food, defending the territory, building the nest and any other duties necessary needed to keep a colony functioning properly. They are clever little insects indeed!

Photo Credit: © Copyright Steve Falk

www.buglife.org.uk

Barbastelle Bat

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Barbastelle Bat

The barbastelle is very rare, found in southern and central England and Wales. Their calls sound like short, hard smacks, in fast and then slower pulses. Echolocation can be heard at approximately 32 kHz.

Barbastelle are fast, agile flyers and forage amongst trees swooping to drink from ponds or lakes. But they may also forage in quite open areas.

They are relatively tolerant of the cold, and are found in caves, tunnels, cellars and trees. In the UK they are also known to roost in cavities behind joints of timber-framed buildings, between close fitting roof timbers and in hollow tree trunks. Occasionally they can be found behind loose bark on dead trees, and movement between winter roosts is quite frequent, they have been known to fly and forage in mild spells all winter.

The barbastelle is a medium-sized bat, distinctive by its pug-shaped nose. The ears are broad, joined across its head by skin, and covered in gingery-brown fur on the rear surface. Its body fur is dark with lighter tips on the back. Its head and body length is 40mm –50mm and wingspan 260mm – 290mm. The barbastelle weighs 6g – 13g.

Females usually reach sexual maturity in their second year, although they have been known to mate in their first. Nursery roosts are usually with only 10-20 females plus babies. Baby bats are usually born in July, sometimes even in early August. Females usually produce a single baby, but occasionally twins. Juvenile bats can fly at about 3 weeks, and by 6 weeks can forage for themselves. Once the young can fly it seems that the colony may sometimes divide into smaller units and then gather at a single roost in late July – sometimes in one of the roosts used before the young were born.

Barbestelle feed mainly on small moths, some flies and beetles.

In Britain all bat species and their roosts are legally protected, by both domestic and international legislation.

Many thanks to the Bat Conservation Trust for allowing us to take this information; for more detailed reading please visit their website.

Photo Credit: © Copyright Bat Conservation Trust

www.bats.org.uk

Badger

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Badger

Badgers (Meles meles) have black and white striped long faces. Their body is grey with paler fur underneath, with black fur on legs. Low-set animal, short tail.

Habitat
Urban & gardens, Coniferous woodland, Deciduous woodland, Mixed woodland, Arable land

Size
About 75-100cm, tail around 15cm

Weight
Average 8-9kg in spring, 11-12kg in autumn.

Origin & Distribution
Badgers are widespread in Britain, being most common in the south west, rarer to the north and east; thinly distributed in Scotland. They are common throughout most of Ireland, but absent from the Isle of Mann, and most of the other islands.

General Ecology
Badgers are nocturnal and rarely seen during the day. When not active, badgers usually lie up in an extensive system of underground tunnels and nesting chambers, known as a sett. Each social group usually has a main sett where the majority of the group live most of the time, but there may be odd holes scattered around the territory that are used occasionally. Badgers can live in social groups of two to 23 adults, but usually around six. These defend an area around their main sett as a territory. Territories may be as small as 30ha, but are up to 150ha or more in the Highlands. Badgers mark the boundaries of territories with their distinctive latrines. They leave their faeces in collections of shallow pits, which in aggregate are called latrines.

Diet
Badgers exploit a wide variety of food items, but earthworms form the majority of the diet. They also eat fruits and berries, and other animals if times are hard, including hedgehogs.

Lifespan
The maximum life expectancy is about 14 years, though very few survive so long in the wild.

Breeding
Mating takes place between February and May, with implantation delayed until late winter. Only one female badger in a social group normally breeds, although sometimes two or more may do so. Litters of 2-3 cubs are born around February blind and hairless in the safety of the nest. They usually appear above ground at about 8 weeks, and weaning usually takes about 12 weeks. By late summer they are usually feeding independently but can be adversely affected by drought at this time causing starvation.

Conservation Status
The Protection of Badgers Act 1992 consolidates past badger legislation and, in addition to protecting the badger itself from being killed, persecuted or trapped, makes it an offence to damage, destroy or obstruct badger setts. Where badgers pose a problem, licences can be issued to permit certain activities. Badger baiting (using dogs to fight badgers) has been outlawed since 1835. The Badgers Act 1973 afforded limited protection against badger digging, and was finally outlawed in 1981. About 80 local groups have been formed by enthusiasts wishing to protect and study badgers. Their activities include protecting badgers from diggers and baiters by reinforcing setts, helping with care and rehabilitation of injured badgers, having tunnels and badger proof fencing added to new road schemes and giving developers advice about setts.

In 1988 there were estimated to be around 42,000 social groups of badgers, and just under 200,000 adult badgers. By 1997 this had risen to just over 50,000 social groups and 310,000 adult badgers. The population is now probably stable. Mortality is high, with around one-fifth of adults dying each year. Road traffic accidents are a major cause of death. Some badgers are infected with bovine tuberculosis, particularly in the south west of England. These animals are the subject of a control campaign by Defra. There is a continuing debate about the role of badgers and cattle infecting each other with TB.

Photo Credit: © Copyright Bat Conservation Trust

www.bats.org.uk

Bechstein’s Bat

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Bechstein's Bat

The Bechstein’s bat (Myotis bechsteinii) is one of the UK’s rarest bats, found mainly in woodland habitat in south Wales and south England. It has very quiet echolocation so hard to detect. The frequency is 50kHz, and the call sounds like ‘tik’.

Bechstein’s bats tend to forage in woodland within a kilometre or two of their roost site, generally high up in the canopy although they can be seen near the ground when drinking, commuting or socialising.

This bat uses deciduous woodland for roosting, foraging and almost certainly hibernation. mature dense woodland is ideal, ensuring that Bechstein’s do not often come into contact with people. In summer, the Bechstein’s bat roosts largely in woodpecker holes, although sometimes behind loose bark or in tree crevices (also occasionally in bat boxes). It rarely roosts in buildings. It is also occasionally found in underground sites.

The bechstein is a medium-sized bat, distinctive by its long ears and its pink face. It’s body colour is pale to reddish brown and greyish underneath. The length of the head and body is 43mm – 53mm and it has a wingspan of 250mm – 300mm. It weighs 7g – 13g and has been recorded as living up to 21 years.

Mating occurs in autumn and spring, with maternity colonies forming in April and May. Females gather in colonies of between 10 and 30 bats (and up to 100 in some cases), with babies born at the end of June to the beginning of July. Maternity colonies are often spread across a number of roost sites, changing their location frequently throughout the summer.

Like other the long-eared bats, the bechstein captures much of its prey by passive listening for insect noise. It eats prey from most insect groups like dung flies, grasshoppers, nut weevils, as well as moths and other types of flies.

In Britain all bat species and their roosts are legally protected, by both domestic and international legislation.

Many thanks to the Bat Conservation Trust for sharing this information; for more detailed reading please visit their website below.

Photo Credit: © Copyright Bat Conservation Trust

www.bats.org.uk

Brandt’s Bat

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Brandt’s Bat

The Brandt’s bat (Myotis brandtii) is found throughout England and Wales and has only recently been recorded in Ireland as well. Brandt’s bats echolocate between 33kHz and 89kHz, sounding loudest at 45kHz. Their calls sound like dry clicks.

They have a rapid and skillful flight,flying at a medium height and often within woodland. They occasionally pick their prey off foliage and often feed near water.

They are found in all types of houses including some modern ones, but particularly in older buildings with stone walls and slate roofs. It is a crevice dweller, often roosting until hanging tiles, above soffits, in cavity walls and under ridge tiles. Brandt’s bats do roost in trees and churches, and have been known to use bat boxes. In winter Brandt’s bats are regularly found hibernating in caves and tunnels, almost always in small numbers – it is uncertain where the majority of them hibernate.

The Brandt’s bat is a small species with a somewhat shaggy fur. It is very similar to the whiskered bat and is difficult to tell them apart. The colour of the fur is dark grey or brown and has golden tips on the back. Its head and body length is 28mm – 50mm and the wingspan is 210mm – 240mm. The weight of this bat is 4.5g – 9.5g.

Some females reach sexual maturity at three months (in their first autumn) but the majority do not mate until their second autumn. Mating usually takes place in autumn, but has been observed in all winter months. Adult females form maternity colonies in the summer, giving birth to their single young in June or early July. The baby is fed solely on its mother’s milk:
by three weeks it can fly and by six weeks it can forage for itself.

Brandt’s bats mainly feed on moths, other small insects and spiders.

In Britain all bat species and their roosts are legally protected, by both domestic and international legislation.

Many thanks to the Bat Conservation Trust for sharing this information; for more detailed reading please visit their website below.

Photo Credit: © Copyright Bat Conservation Trust

www.bats.org.uk

Brown Long-Eared Bat

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Brown Long-Eared Bat

This bat’s huge ears provide exceptionally sensitive hearing – it can even hear a ladybird walking on a leaf. They have particularly sensitive low frequency hearing and often locate prey from the
sounds made by the insect’s own movements.

These bats are known as ‘whispering bats’ because their echolocation sounds are very quiet. On a bat detector the calls are very quiet and are heard as a series of clicks!

Their foraging habitat is open deciduous and coniferous woodland, parkland and orchards. As well as catching insects in free flight, they also fly slowly amongst foliage, picking off leaves and bark. They are even able to take insects from lighted windows. They may sometimes use vision when hunting for food. Their flight often includes steep dives and short glides. They feed on moths, beetles, flies, earwigs and spiders. Their habit of flying close to the ground makes long-eared bats vulnerable to attack by predators.

Summer roosts are usually located in older buildings, barns, churches and trees. Long-eared bats generally form small and quiet colonies of about 20 animals – often the first a householder knows about them is when a visit to the loft reveals a cluster of tiny faces peering down from a corner of the rafters! Winter roosts tend to be found in caves, tunnels, mines, icehouses and occasionally even trees and buildings.

The Brown Long-eared bat is medium-sized. The ears are nearly as long as the body but no talways obvious: when at rest they curl their ears back like rams’ horns, or tuck them away completely under their wings leaving only the pointed inner lobe of the ear (the tragus) visible. The head and body length is 37mm – 52mm. They have a light brown fur and are pale underneath. They have a wingspan of 230 – 285mm and weigh 6 – 12g

Mating takes place in the autumn and active males will continue to mate with females throughout the winter. Maternity colonies are established in late spring, with one young born around late June to mid-July, and then weaned at 6 weeks. Colony size is between 10 to 20 bats (up to 50), and each brown long-eared can live for up to 30 years.

The Brown Long-eared bat is found throughout the UK, Ireland and the Isle of Man.

In Britain all bat species and their roosts are legally protected, by both domestic and international legislation.

Many thanks to the Bat Conservation Trust for sharing this information; for more detailed reading please visit their website below.

Photo Credit: © Copyright Bat Conservation Trust

www.bats.org.uk

Common Pipistrelle Bat

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Common Pipistrelle Bat

Common Pipistrelle’s (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) are the commonest and most widespread of all British bat species. There are two very similar species, common pipistrelle and soprano pipistrelle. Pipistrelles are the bats you are most likely to see.

The call of the Common Pipistrelle sounds like a series of clicks turning into ‘wetter’ slaps with the deepest sounding slap being heard at about 45kHz. The Common Pipistrelle at about 55kHz.

Summer roosts of both common and soprano pipistrelles are usually found in crevices around the outside of often newer buildings, such as behind hanging tiles, soffit and barge or eaves
boarding, between roofing felt and roof tiles or in cavity walls. This species also roosts in tree holes and crevices, and also in bat boxes. Summer roosts support smaller colonies than soprano pipistrelles, with numbers averaging around 75 bats.

They appear fast and jerky in flight as they dodge about pursuing small insects which the bats catch and eat on the wing. A single pipistrelle can consume up to 3,000 insects in one night! They fly 2-10m above ground level searching for their insect prey which is a wide range of small flies as well as aquatic midges and mosquitoes. Common pipistrelles feed in a wide range of habitats comprising woodland, hedgerows, grassland, farmland, suburban and also urban areas.

The Common Pipistrelle weighs around 3 -5 grams which is less than a £1 coin! Its body length is between 35mm – 45mm and it has a wingspan of 200mm – 235mm. The fur is a medium to dark brown colour.

During the summer, females form maternity colonies where they give birth to a single young in June or early July. For three or four weeks the young are fed solely on their mother’s milk. After about four weeks the young are able to fly and at six weeks they are able to forage for themselves. Male bats usually roost singly or in small groups through the summer months. During the main mating period males attract females by making repeated ‘songflights’ around their roost and singing social calls.

In Britain all bat species and their roosts are legally protected, by both domestic and international legislation.

Many thanks to the Bat Conservation Trust for sharing this information; for more detailed reading please visit their website below.

Photo Credit: © Copyright Bat Conservation Trust

www.bats.org.uk

Daubenton Bat

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Daubenton Bat

The Daubenton Bat (Myotis daubentonii) is also known as the ‘water bat’ as it fishes insects from the water’s surface with its large feet or uses its tail membrane as a scoop. It can be
found in England, Scotland and wales.

On a bat detector the calls are heard as a machine gun like series of regular clicks for bursts of 5 to 10 seconds. Daubenton’s bat calls range from 35 to 85kHz and are loudest at 45 to 50kHz

Daubenton’s bats may be found in tunnels or bridges over canals and rivers, or in caves, mines and cellars. They are only occasionally found in buildings, usually old stone structures such as moated castles and waterworks. And sometimes they are find in tree-holes and bat boxes. They can be quite noisy throughout the day, especially at sites where they are close to human activity. Although usually solitary, small groups of three or four are not uncommon. Individuals are often lodged in tight crevices and are barely visible.

Daubenton’s bats usually feed within about 6km of the roost, but have been recorded following canals for up to 10km (at speeds of up to 25kph). They have a steady flight, often within a few centimetres of the water surface and is reminiscent of a small hovercraft. They take insects from close to the water. They feed mainly on small flies (especially chironomid midges), caddisflies and mayflies.

The Daubenton’s bat is a medium-sized species with a head and body length of 45 – 55mm. Its fur colour is red brown, and the underpart of the body is pale. It is distinctive by its pinkish face which is bare around the eyes. The wingspan of this bat is 240mm-275mm and it weighs 7g – 12g.

Mating usually takes place in the autumn but active males will continue to mate throughout the winter. Maternity roosts are occupied from late spring and sometimes until October. Young bats are suckled for several weeks and are fully weaned and able to forage for themselves at 6 to 8 weeks. The average colony size is between 20 to 50 bats (up to 200). Daubenton’s bats can live for up to 22 years.

In Britain all bat species and their roosts are legally protected, by both domestic and international legislation.

Many thanks to the Bat Conservation Trust for sharing this information; for more detailed reading please visit their website below.

Photo Credit: © Copyright Bat Conservation Trust

www.bats.org.uk

Greater Horseshoe Bat

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Greater Horseshoe Bat

The Greater horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum) is rare in Britain, confined to central England and Wales. It is one of our largest bat species, the size of a small pear. Horseshoe bats possess a distinctive horseshoe-shaped noseleaf.

Greater horseshoe bats have an almost constant frequency call of about 82kHz. On a bat detector a series of continuous warbles can be heard.

Greater horseshoes bats were originally cave dwellers, but few now use caves in summer – most breeding females use buildings, choosing sites with large entrance holes with access to open roof spaces warmed by the sun. Such sites are normally in larger, older houses, churches and barns. Maternity colonies can be noisy, with continuous chattering, chirping and scolding calls. In winter they use caves, disused mines, cellars and tunnels as hibernation sites. The bats will sometimes form clusters in winter sites, although adult females are more solitary. When roosting they hang free with the wings more or less enfolding their body.

Greater horseshoe bats often behave like flycatchers, ‘watching’ from a regular perch and flying out to take passing insects. Large prey is taken to a regular feeding perch. Greater horseshoe bats feed mainly by low flying hunting catching insects in flight or occasionally from the ground. They feed on chafers, dung beetles, noctuid moths, craneflies and caddis flies.

The fur colour of the adults is a buff-brown while the juveniles have a greyish fur colour. Its head and body length is 57mm – 71mm and the wingspan is 350mm-400mm. It weighs between 17g – 34g.

Female greater horseshoe bats are not usually sexually mature until their third year and one known female did not breed until its tenth year. They may not breed every year. Mating occurs mainly during the autumn, but can take place in late winter or even spring. The young are born in mid-July. Greater horseshoe bats have been known to live for up to 30 years.

In Britain all bat species and their roosts are legally protected, by both domestic and international legislation.

To find out more about bats and how you can help these amazing but vulnerable animals, visit the Bat Conservation Trust’s website where you can become a member and discover the many ways you can get involved to do your bit for bats! The National Bat Helpline can be reached on 0845 1300 228.

Photo Credit: © Copyright Bat Conservation Trust / Gareth Jones

www.bats.org.uk

Grey Long Eared Bat

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Grey Long Eared Bat

Grey long-eared (Plecotus austriacus) bats are very rare medium-sized bats found only in a few places in southern England. They are generally longer than the Brown long-eared bats.

The echolocation pulses produced by these bats are very quiet – this is thought to help with finding insects on foliage as well as to avoid warning moths of the presence of the bat.

Relatively little is known about the habitat use of the grey long-eared bat, however long-eared bats are most often found in older houses with large open roof voids which allow the bats to fly around in the roof. As well as using the roof void, the bats will tuck themselves away behind rafters, so they may not always be seen. A favourite roosting place is on or above the ridge beam of the roof. In winter, long-eared bats may still be found in roofs in small numbers and some are seen in underground sites such as caves, mines and cellars

Recent radio-tracking studies show that they tend to forage in open spaces over meadows, grasslands, gardens and near forest edges, up to 6 km away from the roost. Grey long-eared bats are very skilful fliers that feed on moths, Diptera (mainly Tipulids – crane flies) and small beetles.

A grey long-eared bat’s ears are nearly as long as the body, but are not always obvious; when at rest they curl their ears back like rams horns, or tuck them away completely under their wings leaving only the pointed inner lobe of the ear (the tragus) visible. These bats are grey and have a darker face with a blackish mask. The head and body length is 41mm – 58mm and the wingspan is 255mm – 300mm. It weighs between 7g – 12g.

As with other species, long-eared breeding colonies gather in roosts during April and May. Generally numbers are quite low, averaging about 20 adults, but colonies of up to 100 are known. Males are often found in these roosts and are obviously tolerated by the females. The single baby is born in the end of June/ beginning of July and is able to fly by August.

In Britain all bat species and their roosts are legally protected, by both domestic and international legislation.

To find out more about bats and how you can help these amazing but vulnerable animals, visit the Bat Conservation Trust’s website where you can become a member and discover the many ways you can get involved to do your bit for bats! The National Bat Helpline can be reached on 0845 1300 228.

Photo Credit: © Copyright Bat Conservation Trust

www.bats.org.uk

Greater Mouse Eared Bat

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Greater Mouse Eared Bat

The greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis) is the largest bat that occurs in Britain. It was officially declared extinct in 1990 in the UK. It was presumed extinct because number of individuals were so low.

The past twenty-five years have seen very few records of this species, but this is not to say they are the only ones around.

A lone 17 year old male did not return to his hibernation site in Sussex in 1991. The last known colony was a few miles from Bognor Regis and contained several females until 1985 which was the year of their mysterious disappearance. Their departure happened around the time that a nearby cottage was destroyed by fire and as the females tend to form maternity colonies in attics they may have perished in this incident. However in January 2001 an emaciated female was found in Bognor Regis but died shortly afterwards. It is thought that she may have been moving between hibernation sites and was caught out by the cold weather. From her worn teeth she was presumed to be quite old. She was found within 5 miles of the last known colony. In 2002 a juvenile male was discovered hibernating in Sussex and has since been recorded annually at the same site.

The greater mouse-eared bat has fur on its back which is a sandy colour and this colour contracts strongly with the white fur underneath. The head and body length is 65mm – 80mm and the wingspan is 365mm – 450mm. This species of bat weighs 24g – 40g.

In Britain all bat species and their roosts are legally protected, by both domestic and international legislation. Please contact the Bat Conservationist if you have find a bat that you have recorded – they are always interested in getting any information.

To find out more about bats and how you can help these amazing but vulnerable animals, visit the Bat Conservation Trust’s website where you can become a member and discover the many ways you can get involved to do your bit for bats! The National Bat Helpline can be reached on 0845 1300 228.

Photo Credit: © Copyright Bat Conservation Trust

www.bats.org.uk

Leisler’s Bat

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Leisler's Bat

The Leisler’s bat (Nyctalus leisleri) is similar to the noctule, but smaller, with longer fur, particularly around the shoulders and the upper back, giving it a lion’s mane appearance. It was
formerly known as the hairy-armed bat.

The calls are occasionally audible to the human ear. On a bat detector a characteristic “chip chop” with clicks at the top of the range is heard, but the sounds are less loud and harsh made by those made by the noctule bat.

Leisler’s bat is naturally a forest species, roosting in tree holes and bat boxes. They also roost in buildings, both old and new. In houses they have been found around the gable ends in lofts, between tiles and underfelt, under ridge tiles, above large soffit boards, behind hanging tiles, under loft floor insulation, behind window shutters and in disused chimneys.

Leisler’s bat is a mobile species and one roost is often occupied for only a few days before the colony moves to another roost. The bats are very vocal prior to emergence and are particularly noisy on hot summer days. They usually fly high and fast in the open, frequently at or below tree top level, with shallow dives. Sometimes they fly close to the ground along lanes and well lit roads. In suburban areas they may be attracted to insects around street lights. They feed on flies, moths, caddis flies and beetles.

The Leisler’s bat has a golden-tipped or reddish-brown fur which is darker at the base. The head and body length is 50mm – 70mm and its wingspan is 260mm – 320mm. It weighs
12g – 20g.

Mating occurs from late summer until mid-autumn. Breeding males emerge from their holes at dusk and slowly fly around calling loudly every second or so. They keep within 300 m of their mating roost, returning to the roost after several minutes, where they continue to call and await the arrival of the females. If no females arrive, the males fly around calling again. These calls are audible to the human ear and are not like calls used in echolocation. The males do not feed during the courtship period. Male Leisler’s bats can have a harem of up to nine females; males give off a strong sweet odour during the autumn. In the summer, maternity colonies of females gather in tree holes and sometimes in buildings, particularly in Ireland where colonies may number 1,000. The young are born in mid-June.

In Britain all bat species and their roosts are legally protected, by both domestic and international legislation.

Many thanks to the Bat Conservation Trust for sharing this information; for more detailed reading please visit their website below.

Photo Credit: © Copyright Bat Conservation Trust

www.bats.org.uk

Nathusius Pipistrelle Bat

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Nathusius pipistrelle

Nathusius pipistrelle is a rare bat in the UK, though records have increased in recent years A previous migrant species, it has only been classed as a resident species since 1997.

The calls of this bat are similar to those of the other pipistrelles. However, the peak intensity of the call is lower than the other two species. The calls can be audible to some adults and children.

Nathusius’ pipistrelles are often recorded roosting in crevices and have been found in cracks in walls, under soffit boards, fissures in rocks and tree hollows. In the UK only a small number of maternity colonies have been reported and these have been in the walls of traditionally built buildings of stone and red brick, in wall cavities and under flat roofs. The majority of roosts are located close to large freshwater lakes.

This species forages near rivers, canals, lakes and waterlogged areas, as well as in woodland rides and edges. The flight is rapid – slightly faster than that of common and soprano pipistrelles, although it is not quite as manoeuvrable, and its insect prey are caught on the wing, by ‘aerial hawking’. The nathusius feeds on medium-sized flying insects such as aquatic flies, midges, mosquitoes and caddis flies.

The Nathusius’ pipistrelle is similar in appearance to, but slightly larger than the much more commonly found common and soprano pipistrelles, and the fur on its back is longer, sometimes giving it a shaggy appearance. Its fur is a reddish-brown, occasionally with frosted tips on the belly. The ears, membranes and face are usually very dark. The head and body length is 46mm – 55mm and the wingspan 228mm – 250mm. The nathusius weighs 6g – 16g.

During the summer, females form large maternity colonies of up to 350 bats where each gives birth to a single young in June or early July. For three or four weeks the young are fed solely on their mother’s milk. After about four weeks the young are able to fly and at six weeks they are able to forage for themselves. Occasionally, maternity colonies may temporarily move location.

In Britain all bat species and their roosts are legally protected, by both domestic and international legislation.

Many thanks to the Bat Conservation Trust for sharing this information; for more detailed reading please visit their website below.

Photo Credit: © Copyright Bat Conservation Trust

www.bats.org.uk

Natterer’s Bat

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Natterer’s Bat

The Natterer’s bat (Myotis nattereri) is a medium-sized species that was often called the ‘red-armed bat’ because of its pinkish limbs. The natterer’s broad wings enables it to fly slowly so that
it can even snatch spiders from their webs.

The echolocation calls of these bats are very quiet. On a bat detector the calls are heard as irregular rapid clicks, with a sound similar to cellophane being crumpled.

Most known summer colonies are in old stone buildings with large timber beams, such as castles, manor houses and churches, or large old timbered barns. They also roost under bridges and occasionally in the roof spaces of houses. When hibernating Natterer’s bats can be found in any small cave-like site or even exposed rock crevices. In their efforts to lodge in small crevices they can be found in almost any position, including lying on their back or sides, or even resting on their heads. Individual Natterer’s bats are occasionally found hibernating in churches, in crevices between beams.

Natterer’s have a slow to medium flight, sometimes over water, but more often amongst trees, where their broad wings and tail membrane give them great manoeuvrability at slow speed. They normally fly at heights of less than 5m, but occasionally may reach 15m in the tree canopy. Much of the prey is taken from foliage and includes many flightless or day-flying insects. Sometimes larger prey is taken to a feeding perch. They feed on flies (mainly midges), small moths, caddis flies, lacewings, beetles, small wasps, spiders.

The Natterer’s bat is a medium-sized species, distinctive by its fringe of very stiff bristles along the trailing end of its broad tail membrane. It has a bare pink face and the ears are narrow, fairly long and slightly curved backwards at the tip.. Its head and body length is 40mm – 50mm with a fur colour of light buff brown on black and a white underneath. The wingspan is 245mm – 300mm and it weighs 7g – 12g.

Mating occurs mainly in the autumn and maternity colonies of adult females are mainly formed from May-June through to July. They may change roost sites frequently. The female gives birth to a single young at the end of June or in early July. For the first 3 weeks the young bat feeds only on its mother’s milk and is left in a crèche inside the roost when its mother goes out at night to feed. During this time the juvenile may make its first flight inside the roost, and within 6 weeks it is fully weaned and able to forage for itself.

In Britain all bat species and their roosts are legally protected, by both domestic and international legislation.

Many thanks to the Bat Conservation Trust for sharing this information; for more detailed reading please visit their website below.

Photo Credit: © Copyright Bat Conservation Trust

www.bats.org.uk

Lesser Horseshoe Bat

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Lesser Horseshoe Bat

The Lesser Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros) is one of the smallest British species, being around plum-sized. Like the greater horseshoe bat, it has a complex noseleaf. At rest this bat hangs with the wings wrapped around the body.

Lesser horseshoe bats have an almost constant frequency call, about 110kHz. On a bat detector a series of continuous warbles can be heard.

Lesser horseshoe bats were originally cave dwellers, but summer colonies are now usually found in the roofs of larger rural houses and stable blocks, or in nearby cellars, caves or tunnels where the bats can go in severe weather. They prefer access through an opening that allows uninterrupted flight to the roof apex. The colony may shift between attics, cellars and chimneys throughout the summer, depending on the weather. Many sites only have one or a few bats hibernating in them and it is rare to find large numbers in a site. Lesser horseshoe bats do not cluster together but hang a little apart from their neighbours.

These bats are sensitive to disturbance and twist their bodies as they scan their surroundings before flying off. They feed amongst vegetation in sheltered lowland valleys looking for flies, mainly midges, small moths, caddis flies, lacewings, beetles, small wasps and spiders.. They rarely fly more than five metres above the ground. Large prey is often taken back to a temporary night roost or sometimes dealt with whilst the bat is hanging in trees.
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The adult lesser horseshoe bat has a pinky buff-brown fur while the juveniles a greyish fur which stays this colour until it is one year old. The head and body length is 35mm – 45mm and the wingspan is 200mm – 250mm. The lesser horseshoe weighs 5g – 9g.

Mating takes place during autumn, sometimes later in winter. Maternity roosts are almost always formed in buildings and may be occupied from April, though most breeding females do not arrive until May. Maternity colonies are mixed-sex, with up to a fifth of the colony being male. Approximately half to two-thirds of the females in the nursery roost give birth to a single young between mid-June and mid-July. The suckling of the young probably lasts four to five weeks, by which time the young can fly from the roost. Young are completely independent six weeks. Most young are sexually mature in their second autumn.

In Britain all bat species and their roosts are legally protected, by both domestic and international legislation.

Many thanks to the Bat Conservation Trust for sharing this information; for more detailed reading please visit their website below.

Photo Credit: © Copyright Bat Conservation Trust

www.bats.org.uk

Noctule Bat

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Noctule Bat

The Noctule (Nyctalus noctula) bat is one of the largest widespread British species, but it is still smaller than the palm of your hand. It is usually the first bat to appear in the evening, sometimes even before sunset.

Noctules’ calls sound like ‘chip chop’ with occasional clicks which can be heard during feeding. Calls can be heard by some adults and children.

Noctule bats are primarily tree dwellers and live mainly in rot holes and woodpecker holes. They occur rarely in buildings; most noctule roosts in buildings are only gathering roosts, the colonies moving off at the end of May and early June. The bats produce loud characteristic metallic chirping sounds so that noctule colonies can be heard up to 200-300m away on hot days. Noctule bats hibernate mainly in trees or rock fissures and hollows, but have also been found in bat boxes and buildings. and other man-made structures in winter. They can survive without feeding for four months.

Noctules have a characteristic powerful, direct flight on long narrow pointed wings. They fly in a straight line, very high and fast in the open, often well above tree-top level, with repeated steep dives when chasing insects. They can fly at 50 kph. Most food is caught on the wing and eaten in flight but occasionally prey is taken from the ground and in suburban areas noctules are attracted to street lamps to feed on moths. During spring noctules will feed mainly on smaller insects such as midges, changing their diet to take chafer and dung beetles and moths later in the season. They also feed on mayflies and winged ants.

A distinctive characteristic of this bat is that its inner ear lobe (the tragus) is mushroom shaped. Its head and body length is 37mm – 48mm and the adults fur colour is a sleek chocolate brown. The juveniles and some females have a dull chocolate brown fur. The wingspan is 320mm – 400mm and the noctule weighs 18g – 40g.

During the mating season, male noctules emit a series of shrill mating calls from a roost entrance, usually a tree hole, or during flight and produces a strong odour, attracting a harem usually of four or five (but up to 20) females, which stay with the male for 1 or 2 days. The young are born in late June or July in maternity colonies found often in trees. Females usually have one young. For 3 to 4 weeks the young are suckled solely on their mother’s milk, and they are fully weaned and able to forage for themselves within 6 weeks. The maternity colonies frequently change roosts, mothers carrying the smaller young between roosts. The young are left in crèches while the mothers go off to feed. Some females become sexually mature in their first autumn but many o not mate until their second year.

In Britain all bat species and their roosts are legally protected, by both domestic and international legislation.

To find out more about bats and how you can help these amazing but vulnerable animals, visit the Bat Conservation Trust’s website where you can become a member and discover the many ways you can get involved to do your bit for bats! The National Bat Helpline can be reached on 0845 1300 228.

Photo Credit: © Copyright Bat Conservation Trust / Hugh Clark

www.bats.org.uk

Serotine Bat

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Serotine Bat

Serotine bat (Eptesicus serotinus) is one of Britain’s largest bat species and usually one of the first to appear in the evening, often emerging in good light. It can be found in the south
and parts of south Wales.

On a bat detector serotines calls sound like irregular hand-clapping. The echolocation calls range from 15 to 65kHz and peak at 25 to 30kHz.

Serotines roost mainly in older buildings and churches with high gables and cavity walls.. They are one of the most building-oriented species and is hardly ever found in trees. They roost hidden in crevices around chimneys, in cavity walls, between felt or boarding and tiles or slates, beneath floorboards and sometimes in the open roof space at the ridge ends or occasionally elsewhere along the ridge. Very few serotines are found in winter, but it is likely that most hibernate in buildings. It is possible that at least part of the summer colony may remain in the same building for some, if not all, of the winter period. Hibernating serotines have been found inside cavity walls and disused chimneys

The Serotine has broad wings and is characteristic for its leisurely flapping flight with occasional short glides or steep descents. It flies at about tree-top height (to about 10 m) often close to vegetation, and will sometimes flop, wings outstretched, on to the foliage to catch large insects. It will feed around street lamps and even catch prey from the ground. When it catches a large beetle, the serotine will fly around slowly, chewing its prey and dropping the wing cases and legs; sometimes it will take the prey to a feeding perch. In spring it mainly feeds on flies and moths and in summer, particularly chafers and dung beetles.

The Serotine has dark brown fur above and pale fur underneath. Its face and ears are black. The head and body length is 58mm – 80mm and the wingspan 320mm – 380mm. The serotine weighs 15g – 35g.

Maternity colonies consist almost exclusively of female bats and start to build up in May. A colony usually remains at a single roost site during the breeding season. Females normally give birth to a single young in early July. The baby is occasionally carried by its mother for the first few days. At 3 weeks the young are able to make their first flight and at 6 weeks they can forage for themselves. Mating normally takes place in the autumn, but almost nothing is known of the mating behaviour. Males and females reach sexual maturity a year after their birth.

In Britain all bat species and their roosts are legally protected, by both domestic and international legislation.

Many thanks to the Bat Conservation Trust for sharing this information; for more detailed reading please visit their website below.

Photo Credit: © Copyright Bat Conservation Trust

www.bats.org.uk

Whiskered Bat

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Whiskered Bat

The whiskered bat (myotis mystacinus) is very similar to Brandt’s bat and the two species were only separated in 1970. It is slightly smaller than the Brandt’s bat but still shares the same shaggy fur.

The whiskered bats calls sound like dry clicks (similar to Daubenton’s but not as regular and often slower). They sound loudest at 45kHz.

Whiskered bats are regularly found in buildings, though colonies are more commonly found in the north and west. They are found in all types of houses including some modern ones, but particularly in older buildings with stone walls and slate roofs. They are crevice dwellers, often roosting until hanging tiles, above soffits, in cavity walls and under ridge tiles.

bats. They do roost in trees and churches, and have been known to use bat boxes. In winter whiskered bats are regularly found hibernating in caves and tunnels, almost always in small numbers – it is uncertain where the majority of them hibernate. They are usually found in cold areas close to the entrance, but occasionally roost in the warmer interior.

Whiskered bats emerge within half an hour of sunset and probably remain active throughout much of the night. They have a fast and fluttering flight, to a height of 20 metres, generally level with occasional swoops. They glide briefly, especially when feeding in the canopy. They frequently fly along a regular route over or alongside a hedgerow or woodland edge. They feed on moths, other small insects and spiders. Studies have indicated that whiskered bats have more flexible foraging.

The whiskered bat is a small species with a head and body length of 35mm – 48mm. The colour of its fur is dark grey or brown with gold tips on the back and it has a greyish underneath. The wingspan is 210mm – 240mm and it weighs 4g – 8g.

Mating usually takes place in autumn, but has been observed in all winter months. Adult females form maternity colonies in the summer, giving birth to their single young in June or early July. The baby is fed solely on its mother’s milk: by three weeks it can fly and by six weeks it can forage for itself. Some females reach sexual maturity at three months (in their first autumn) but the majority do not mate until their second autumn.

In Britain all bat species and their roosts are legally protected, by both domestic and international legislation.

Many thanks to the Bat Conservation Trust for sharing this information; for more detailed reading please visit their website below.

Photo Credit: © Copyright Bat Conservation Trust

www.bats.org.uk

Soprano Pipistrelle Bat

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Soprano pipistrelle

Soprano Pipistrelles (Pipistrellus pygmaeus) are the commonest and most widespread of all British bat species. There are two very similar species, soprano pipistrelle and the common pipistrelle. Pipistrelles are the bats that you are most likely to see.

The call of the Soprano Pipistrelle sounds like a series of clicks turning into ‘wetter’ slaps with the deepest sounding slap being heard at about 55kHz. The Common Pipstrelle at about 45kHz.

Summer roosts of both common and soprano pipistrelles are usually found in crevices around the outside of often newer buildings, such as behind hanging tiles, soffit and barge or eaves boarding, between roofing felt and roof tiles or in cavity walls. However, the soprano pipistrelle also roosts in tree holes and crevices, and also in bat boxes. Summer roosts support colonies of an average size of 200 bats, but they can be even larger with numbers reaching several hundred to over a thousand bats. In winter soprano pipistrelles are found singly or in small numbers in crevices of buildings and trees, and also in bat boxes.

Soprano pipistrelles usually feed in wetland habitats, for example over lakes and rivers, and also around woodland edge, tree lines or hedgerows, and in suburban gardens and parks. They generally emerge from their roost around 20 minutes after sunset and fly 2-10m above ground level searching for their insect prey, which they catch and eat on the wing by ‘aerial hawking’. They appear fast and jerky in flight as they dodge about pursuing small insects which the bats catch and eat on the wing. A single pipistrelle can consume up to 3,000 insects in one night! Sopranos feed mainly on small flies, particularly midges and mosquitoes that are associated with water.
The soprano pipistrelle has a fur colour of medium to dark brown and its face and around the eyes is usually pink in colour. The head and body length is 35mm – 45mm and the wingspan 190mm – 230mm. The soprano weighs 3g – 8g.

Male bats usually roost singly or in small groups through the summer months. During the main mating period from July to early September, males defend individual territories as mating roosts, attracting females by making repeated ‘songflights’ around their roost and singing social calls. During the summer, females form maternity colonies where they give birth to a single young in June or early July. For three or four weeks the young are fed solely on their mother’s milk. After about four weeks the young are able to fly and at six weeks they are able to forage for themselves.

In Britain all bat species and their roosts are legally protected, by both domestic and international legislation.

To find out more about bats and how you can help these amazing but vulnerable animals, visit the Bat Conservation Trust’s website where you can become a member and discover the many ways you can get involved to do your bit for bats! The National Bat Helpline can be reached on 0845 1300 228.

Photo Credit: © Copyright Bat Conservation Trust / Dave Short

www.bats.org.uk

Bloody Nose Beetle

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Bloody Nose Beetle

The adult bloody-nosed beetle (Timarcha tenebricosa) is black and it is slow-moving and feeds on bedstraw plants. Its distinctive feature is its defensive reaction of producing a blood-red liquid from its mouth when it is attacked or disturbed, giving it its common name.

Credit: Thank you to the Royal Entomological Society for sharing the information. Photo Credit: © Hazel Bulpitt / Royal Entomological Society

www.royensoc.co.uk

www.nationalinsectweek.co.uk

Blackbird

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Blackbird

The Blackbird (Turdus merula) can be found almost anywhere in the UK from gardens to the countryside, in woodlands and even near the coast. The male blackbird can be easily recognised by its orange yellow beak and an orange yellow ring around each eye, but the female blackbird isn’t black but brown with dark spots and streaks on her breast. How confusing is that!

Blackbirds forage for food on the ground near dense hedgerows and bushes so that they are partly under cover. When looking for food they often run or hop for a short distance and then suddenly stop as though they are listening out for something and then they run and hop again until they find food. They have a varied diet eating such things as worms, caterpillars, insects, beetles and berries. On sunny days they like to sunbathe and often you will be able to see a blackbird with its wings spread out wide, with its beak open and eyes closed. They really do enjoy the sun!

At dusk time in winter small numbers of blackbirds roost together in dense hedgerows and shrubs to keep warm. During this roosting period and before they settle in for the night, they all sing together making a chink-chink-chink sound. They sing their loudest at this time so they are easily heard. In the day their songs are much mellower and more melodious with a slow clear warble, making listening very pleasant to the ear indeed. They can be heard March to July. However, the male starts singing around the end of February to attract a female and it is at this time that you may be able see a male fluffing out his feathers, then spreading out his tail which he moves up and down like a fan all to impress the lady.

Nesting can begin in February and the female Blackbird will build her cup-shaped nest in hedgerows or dense bushes. The nest is made of grass, straw and small twigs and is lined inside with mud and fine grass. Females usually lay three to five eggs which are a greenish blue colour with reddish black spots. After two weeks the chicks hatch and then after another two weeks the chicks get their first coat of feathers making them ready to leave the nest.

Photo Credit: © Copyright David Tomlinson

www.davidtomlinsonphotos.co.uk

Orange Tip Butterfly

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Orange Tip Butterfly

The Orange Tip Butterfly (Anthocharis cardamines) can be seen on the wing from April to June. The female which doesn’t have the orange tips, lays its eggs on cuckoo flower, also known as lady’s smock or may flower.

The caterpillar feeds on the developing seeds and is known to be cannibalistic if more than one egg is laid on the food plant.

They accumulate mustard oil from the plant which makes them distasteful to birds.

Credit: Information and photo kindly supplied by Peter Dowse of Bollington, Cheshire.

White-Letter Hairstreak Butterfly

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White-Letter Hairstreak Butterfly

The White-Letter Hairstreak Butterfly (Strymoidia w-album) is identified by the distinctive W mark on the underside of the wings; it also has a pair of black tails with white ends at the rear of the wings.

It is associated with woodland containing its food plant, the elm tree. The species declined after the caterpillars food plant was reduced following Dutch elm disease in the 1970s.

They spend most of the time in the tree canopy feeding on aphid honeydew, the food for the adults. They are occasionally seen nectaring on the ground flora, making them easier to spot. They are one of three butterflies that can be seen walking on leaves opening and closing their wings.

Credit: Information and photo kindly supplied by Peter Dowse of Bollington, Cheshire.

Brimstone Butterfly

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Brimstone Butterfly

The Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) is one of our most recognisable butterflies; the male has the yellow wings and the female has pale green wings. It is thought that the word butterfly originates from the yellow colour of the brimstone.

It is the longest living butterfly and can be seen in every month of the year if the weather is suitable. There has been a big increase and distribution of the species, through the planting of buckthorn and alder buckthorn which are the caterpillar’s food plant.

Credit: Information and photo kindly supplied by Peter Dowse of Bollington, Cheshire.

Common Cuttlefish

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Common Cuttlefish

Cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) are relatives of squid and octopuses. They are predators, living out in water up to 200metres deep but coming into shallow, weedy waters to breed. When they die, the large chalky internal shell, known as ‘cuttle bones’ often wash up on the beach.

They can flash different colours and pattersn to distract predators or attract mates.

How to Identify
Cuttle bones are white and chalky, oval shaped with thin harder ‘wings’ at one end. Cuttlefish are thick-set squid that grow up to 30cm long, often with brownish tiger stripes.

Distribution
Found around the coasts of England and Wales.

Credit
A recommended reference book for further information is the ‘Great British Marine Animals’ by Paul Naylor. (www.marinephoto.co.uk)

Photo Credit: © Copyright Paul Naylor

www.makingwavesproject.org.uk

www.wildlifewatch.org.uk

Common Green Lacewing

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Green Lacewing

The Common Green Lacewing (Chrysoperla carnea) is about 10 mm long. It is pale lime green during the summer, with a lemon-yellow stripe down the middle of the body. The head lacks the black spots of some species but the cheeks are reddish. The most distinctive feature of the Common Green Lacewing is that it over-winters as an adult insect: it enters buildings to hibernate and turns yellowish-brown, often with red spots on the abdomen.

Where do they live?
The Common Green Lacewing lives amongst tall grasses, herbaceous plants, trees and bushes. It is commonly seen in gardens, fields and hedges, and at the edge of woodland.

Where can they be found?
The species is common and widespread throughout Britain.

When can you see them?
Adults are present almost all year round, though they hibernate in buildings during winter months. The period of peak activity is from May to September.

Life cycle
Eggs are laid in late spring and early summer by adults that have over-wintered from the previous autumn. They are white, cigar-shaped and are attached to leaves by a long filament at one end. They take a few weeks to complete development and then pupate inside a round silken cocoon attached to the underside of a leaf. The adults of this generation are on the wing in mid-summer and immediately lay eggs so that a second life-cycle is completed before the autumn, and the emerging adults prepare for hibernation.

What do they do?
The larvae are predatory and they actively hunt aphids, scale-insects, caterpillars and insect eggs on foliage. The adults, however, are not predators, but feed on nectar, pollen and honeydew.

Did you know…?
Before mating, the adults court each other by vibrating their abdomens to produce ultra-low frequency songs that are carried through the leaves on which they are standing.

Credit: Thank you to the Royal Entomological Society for sharing the information. Photo Credit: © Royal Entomological Society

www.royensoc.co.uk

www.nationalinsectweek.co.uk

Common Sun-star

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Common Sun-star

The common sun-star (Crossaster papposus) is a distinctive sun-like starfish, with about 10 to 12 relatively short ‘legs’, up to 35 cm across. A beautiful starfish, usually orangey in colour with bands of paler yellow and richer red on the legs. Covered with small spines.

How to Identify
More sun-shaped, with more legs, than other star fish.

Distribution
Found all round our shores.

Credit
A recommended reference book for further information is the ‘Great British Marine Animals’ by Paul Naylor. (www.marinephoto.co.uk)

Photo Credit: © Copyright Paul Naylor

www.makingwavesproject.org.uk

www.wildlifewatch.org.uk

Common Hermit Crab

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Common Hermit Crab

Hermit crabs (Pagurus bernhardus) live inside the empty shells of snail-like animals, particularly whelks and periwinkles. They live on sandy and rocky shores, where they scavenge on plant and animal remains. They have hard pincers, but a soft body which is hidden inside the shell.

How to Identify
This is the largest of several species of very similar hermit crabs.

Distribution
Found all round our shores.

Credit
A recommended reference book for further information is the ‘Great British Marine Animals’ by Paul Naylor. (www.marinephoto.co.uk)

Photo Credit: © Copyright Paul Naylor

www.makingwavesproject.org.uk

www.wildlifewatch.org.uk

Roe Deer

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Roe Deer

The Roe Capreolus capreolus is a small deer, reddish brown in summer, grey in winter. Distinctive black moustache stripe, white chin. Appears tail-less with white/cream rump patch which is especially conspicuous when its hairs are puffed out when the deer is alarmed. Males have short antlers, erect with no more than three points.

Size: Average height at shoulder 60-75cm. Males slightly larger.
Weight: Adults 10—25kg

Origin and Distribution
Roe deer are widespread throughout Scotland and much of England, and in many areas they are abundant. They are increasing their range. They are spreading southwards from their Scottish refuge, and northwards and westwards from the reintroduced populations, but are not yet but are not yet established in most of the Midlands and Kent. They have never occurred in Ireland. They are generally found in open mixed, coniferous or purely deciduous woodland, particularly at edges between woodland and open habitats. Roe deer feed throughout the 24 hours, but are most active at dusk and dawn.

Habitat
Urban & gardens, Coniferous woodland, Deciduous woodland, Mixed woodland, Heathland, Arable land

General Ecology
Roe deer exist solitary or in small groups, with larger groups typically feeding together during the winter. At exceptionally high densities, herds of 15 or more roe deer can be seen in open fields during the spring and summer. Males are seasonally territorial, from March to August. Young females usually establish ranges close to their mothers; juvenile males are forced to disperse further afield.

Diet
Their diet is varied and includes buds and leaves of deciduous trees and shrubs, bramble, rose, ivy, herbs, conifers, ferns, heather and grasses.

Lifespan
The maximum age in the wild is 16 years, but most live 7.

Breeding
The breeding season, known as the rut, is from mid-July to the end of August. During this time males become very aggressive in defending their territories. They fight other males by locking antlers and pushing and twisting. Fighting may cause injuries and occasionally one or both may die. bAlthough the egg is fertilised at the time of mating it does not begin to develop inside the female’s uterus until several months later, in early January. The roe deer is the only hoofed animal in which delayed implantation occurs. Females give birth, usually to twins, but sometimes to single kids or triplets, between mid-May and mid-June. The young suckle within a few hours of birth. They are regularly left alone, lying still amongst vegetation. Their coat, dappled for about the first six weeks, helps to camouflage them. If there are twins they are left separately.

Conservation Status
Roe deer have been hunted from prehistoric times. They became extinct in England, Wales and southern Scotland during the 18th century and populations were re-introduced to southern England (Dorset) and East Anglia in the 19th century. As they have become more abundant, they have been treated as “vermin” because of damage to forestry, agriculture and horticulture, and consequently numbers are controlled. Roe deer may now number as many as 500,000, and are increasing. Since the 1970s there has been an increased interest in exploitation of roe as a game species and for meat. As a result they are now covered by various Acts of Parliament which impose close seasons (when deer may not be hunted), firearms restrictions and controls on poaching.

Credit: With thanks to The Mammal Society for providing the photo and information. © The Mammal Society

www.mammal.org.uk

Bottlenose Dolphin

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Bottlenose Dolphin

The bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) is a large stocky dolphin around 2.5 – 3.0 metres in length and weighing 200-275 kg. They have a large sickle shaped fin and they can leap right out of the water.

The bottlenose dolphins are often seen near the coast – in bays and around harbours, although herds can also be seen far offshore, often accompanying much larger pilot whales. When individuals – usually males – become separated from the social group, they may seek contact with humans.

Diet
Although the bottlenose dolphin takes a wide variety of schooling fish including herring, mackerel, cod, bass, salmon, and sea trout, in many parts of its range around the world coastal populations are thought to favour bottom-living fish such as mullet, moray eels and flounder.

Reproduction
A single calf about a metre in length is born during the summer months, usually between March and September, with the mating having taken place twelve months before. The calf is nursed immediately by the mother, who may be assisted by other females.

If necessary, they will help the calf up to the surface for its first breath and the mother may also be assisted if she is weak. The calf is suckled for around 18-20 months, so its mother usually cannot breed again for two or three years and sometimes six years can elapse between calves. It is a long time before a young bottlenose dolphin reaches sexual maturity – between 8 and 15 years for males and 5-13 for females. However, both sexes can live for more than 25 years, and females have been known to live over 50 years, so she may give birth to several young in her lifetime.

Threats
Bottlenose dolphins face a number of modern threats. Favouring sheltered bays and estuaries with an abundance of fish, they are vulnerable to inputs of pollutants; vessel collisions and sound disturbance from large numbers of pleasure craft; and accidental capture in fishing nets, particularly coastal set nets for salmon.

Credit: © Information and photo kindly supplied by the Sea Watch Foundation

www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk

www.adoptadolphin.org.uk