Tuesday 19th August 2014 - Dunham Park

15 of us met at the Swan With Two Nicks for our last evening walk on the season. It was a pleasant, sunny evening, but became quite chilly as the sun disappeared.

The first area of interest was the wet area to the left of the path en route to the park entrance. A Green Sandpiper was seen as expected and hoped for, along with a Heron. Walking around the woodland, we heard a Green Woodpecker, saw many Jackdaw sand John fleetingly glimpsed a Kingfisher. The slightly unusual flora of one of the pools included Skullcap and large areas of Sweet Flag, along with expanses of Great Reedmace, and Water Mint. Lemon-scented Fern was found near another pool. Quite a few clusters of Chicken of the Woods were seen, particularly on Oak trees:

Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus)
Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus)
Other birds on the pools included Mallard, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, Coot and Moorhen. A family of Mute Swans seemed at home in the water near the stables. Numerous Fallow Deer and Rabbits and molehills, and a couple of Grey Squirrels were seen around the park, with some deer moving towards the buildings as darkness fell and people disappeared.

One of the main objectives of the evening required waiting at least until dusk, as many of the bats around the stables and other buildings came out to feed. Jacky had brought her bat detector, as had our guest - Tony Parker, the mammal recorder for Cheshire. Two detectors were useful in allowing different frequencies to be searched at the same time. Three species were confidently identified - the Common Pipistrelle (at 45Khz) and the Soprano Pipistrelle (at about 55Khz) - they sounded very similar, but were detected at the different frequencies. The Brown Long-eared Bat was seen and heard in one of the buildings. The frequency overlaps that of the Pipistrelles, but it sounds quite different. We hoped for Daubenton's (frequently seen feeding over the water) and Noctule Bats (which typically use a much lower frequency around 25Khz), but could not be certain of their presence.

Overall a very successful evening for our last walk of the season.

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