Ray has a bluebird trail and asked other bluebird monitors if they had seen any mammals. Zoltan Gulyas, a long-time “bluebirder” responded that some bat boxes (which he had built) on his bluebird trail were occupied and he would be willing to take us there to look for bats.Saturday, July 21
Saturday evening, Ray and I picked up Zoltan and drove to a ranch north of Cochrane. Zoltan had warned us to bring bug spray and he was right … the mosquitoes were ferocious!. The bat boxes were attached to the east side of a wooden Quonset hut, about 4 metres above ground level. The boxes that Zoltan had built were works of art as well as being very functional. Each box was about .4 metres by .9 metres and could house up to 50 bats.
|Zoltan standing below the bat boxes he constructed|
|Little Brown Bat|
At about 10:05 pm, we started to see bats leaving the boxes. They were very fast and difficult to see in the fading light let alone to take a photo. Over the next 20 minutes, Zoltan counted 44 bats and we could still hear some in the bat boxes when we left. Meanwhile, I wasn’t having much success at getting an action photo – closest I came was getting a bat just as it is leaving the box.
|Bat leaving its roost|
Despite all the excitement, we are still at 61 mammals as the addition of Little Brown Bat to our list means that we have to drop the “bat species” that we saw in Point Pelee (even though the unidentified bat was too big for a Little Brown Bat). Bird listers will understand the logic which is otherwise too complicated to explain here.
Monday, July 23Today was the first round of the 6th annual BIRD tournament – BIRD is the acronym for “Birders Invitational for Retired Duffers". Each year, Ray, Phil and I along with our spouses play a round of golf at 3 different courses. We have a special scoring system that rewards birdies and also takes into account our individual handicaps. The prize for the winner is the Birders Cup.
|Ray, Brian and Phil - all smiles before the round ... who was smiling after the round?|
Although we were golfing, we did not neglect the birds and mammals – we recorded 21 species of birds and 3 species of mammals. Next up for the team is another crack at Northern Flying Squirrel and Dusky Grouse.