News from Richard Tanner for August 2012

  • A red ribbon day

    09:00 31 August 2012
    By John Atkinson, Nick Petrie, Paul Kear , Richard Tanner, Rob Clarke, Glenn Bailey, Sarah Anderson, Sam Stalker, Ian Griffiths, Matthew Allmark, Stuart Graham, John Moffat, Craig Hutchinson, Clair Payne, Luke Sherwen

    As regular readers of our blog will know already, our rangers team and volunteer groups have been doing a lot of work this year improving access between Wray Castle and Lake Windermere's western shore. Last week, as part of a celebratory bike ride, we had a V.S.P. (very small person), called Leo cut the red ribbon to open up a 2.5km stretch of greatly improved track suitable for all through our land on the western shore of Windermere.
    Leo (aged 4!) doing the honours for us, with a little help from his friends.

    The bikers arrive - now where's the cafe!
    We've been using National Trust funds as well as a variety of grants and donations - much of them tied in with the development of Wray Castle as a visitor attraction this year. However, in February we were approached by staff of the National Park to see if we could use £80,000 to make a transformational step forward. We said yes!

    The work was planned by our Rangers working to a brief given by GoLakes with the goal to attract a new audience to visit the less busy side of the lake by foot, bike or even pram - and travel there and back by boat. Our contractors did a great job - and it is working; we're getting lots of people doing simple activities for the first time.

    The money has come from the 'GoLakes' partnership in the Lake District and is funded by the Department of Transport. The Trust is heavily involved in this exciting project - a one-off chance to really make a difference to sustainable transport in the middle of the Lakes, both in terms of changing how people think as well as physical improvements to infrastructure.

    Here are some reminder photos from earlier blogs about this access work ...
    Blog post  - 'New Ranger at Work'

    Blog post - 'Once More unto the Shore ....'
    We are working on a number of other projects with the same partnership - all aimed at reducing carbon and environmental impact and opening up new opportunities for our visitors. Watch out for more results in the future.


    Post by John Moffat & Linda
    Cycling Photos Osprey Communications
  • Going Batty

    09:00 24 August 2012
    By John Atkinson, Nick Petrie, Paul Kear , Richard Tanner, Rob Clarke, Glenn Bailey, Sarah Anderson, Sam Stalker, Ian Griffiths, Matthew Allmark, Stuart Graham, John Moffat, Craig Hutchinson, Clair Payne, Luke Sherwen

    This weekend is European Bat Weekend so I thought I would post about these fascinating furry flyers.

    Bats are the only mammals that can truely fly (unlike flying squirells who just glide from tree to tree).  Contry to Hollywood myth they won't suck your blood or get tangled in your hair.  Most bats emerge just after sunset to hunt flying insects, a pipestrelle can eat up to 3000 midges in one night!

    Pipestrelle on the wing.


    Bats hunt using echolocation, they 'shout' and sound is reflected from the environment, this allows the bats to fly and hunt in complete darkness.  Most humans can't hear these shouts (some children can) but bat detectors can be used to listen to bats in flight - often a bat detector is the best way to identify different species.  


     Pipestrelle on a fence  - resting after eating a massive moth!

    Echolocation is incredibly accurate, Brown long eared bats pick spiders and bugs off leaves and bark in woodland.  

    The landscape here in the South Lakes is perfect for bats, a good mixture of lakes, rivers, hedgerows, meadows and woodland provide good habitat and plenty of food. 
    Bats often form maternity roosts where they raise their young.  Holes and cavities in old trees are perfect though they often share our houses with us. 

    Alder tree with cavity- perfect for roosting bats.

    I am lucky to share my loft with a Pipestrelle maternity roost of about 80 females, I think they like the loft as it stays nice and warm, you can see a row of bat faces peering from the apex of the roof in the photo below.

    Pipestrelle bats peering from their roost.

    An evening stroll at Tarn Hows or Wray Castle and Wray Bay should allow you to see bats in flight, still warm evenings are best as it means there will be loads of midges - not great for you but good for the bats! 

    Richard

    Woodland Ranger