Sunday, 4 March 2012

New kids and a greater horseshoe

I caught a glimpse of a solitary black headed goat on the horizon. Hidden out of sight amongst the flowering gorse was her young kid. Not sure how old it was but it kept up with Mum, moving quickly across the mountain to their castle retreat.

As if that was not enough joy for one day; Jean and Sarah from the Bat Group called round to check the adits.  The old mine by the waterfall, with its curtain of rain at the entrance, is normally empty but had a lonely lesser horseshoe with the whole place to itself. As for the main adit that two years ago had 116 lesser horseshoes, there were only 44, maybe reflecting the late date of survey. But what a consolation - in amongst the lessers was a greater horseshoe!

These are seriously rare in north Wales, maybe just a handful.  There has been a greater horseshoe in residence in Maentwrog for a couple of years; was this the same one or a new one? Impossible to say. But if it hangs around long enough it might get ringed. Ringing bats is a bit trickier than birds as the wing-type membrane extends to the ankle.

Jean lifted this one from its hanging position to discover it was a male then carefully hung it back to the roof. I wish I’d seen it. I normally go in but wimped out at the prospect of being waist deep with leaky waders. This is what it was like inside on a previous survey:

The following day I went to check up on my other gang of goats, the warden’s favourites as they munch their way through the Maentwrog nature reserve.  No sign of any kids but one female looked bulkier than normal. It’s not easy to tell with the long shaggy coats.

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