Friday, July 30, 2010

The Walmart Red-tail and the Astoria RTH Family

See that lump on the light pole? That is a Red-tail preening her chest, honest.

She came to my attention via a Gull scream and then the melee began-- including Red-tail riding Red-Wings. More when I manage to get into Mystic Mail at the Pennsic War.

(For those new to the blog and interested in just what the Pennsic War is go to )

And from Robin of Illinois a piece on the Horvaths plus check out Queen's Raptors for the Astoria Nest Updates!


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Fledgling Bat?

I was running over to drop off a flash drive yesterday evening and while sitting outside on the friend's glider digging it out of my bag, PLOP, suddenly there was a little bat sitting right there beside me.
Hmm, I wonder if he's alright? He's just, well, sitting there.
Then he begins to use his long sharp front toe on each front foot to pull himself across the fabric cushion toward the back of the glider. Then he grips with his rear feet, stretches out and uses his front toes again. Good. All appendages seem to be working properly. But why is he here in the first place and why didn't he just fly off?
When he reaches the back of the glider he begins to climb that cushion using the same technique.
Having reached the top, he perches for a moment, looks around and then WHIRRRRR, he heads for a small tree not far away. Wait, he didn't gain any elevation to speak of. Is it possible I've just seen what passes for "branching" in bats? Do some fledgling bats have some of the issues that young hawks do straight off the nest? They can't yet gain elevation so they go for an object climb it, go for another and that's how he will eventually get back to where ever all his relatives spend their days?
Not having done any bat identification in decades I'm taking a shot in the dark here. No pun intended. As this little guy was only a couple inches long, whether that's because he's young and will get bigger or because that's just how big he's going to get. I don't know. Wisconsin has seven species of bats and according to the literature if a bat's body is under three inches here it is a "Pip", an Eastern Pipistrelle, Pipistrellus subflavus.

And no Karen, I didn't have my camera bag with me as it was a quick trip and at night. You're right-- at least a little point and shoot camera should live in my car at all times. I was reduced to taking my first picture ever with my phone, in the pitch dark. Bad photo but then I never let that stop me when it comes to documentation. But as we know, good photos are just better for any use than bad ones.
Besides you just never know when a little bat might come along and nearly land in your lap.
Donegal Browne
P.S. Any bat people out there who can correct my tentative ID, please chime in.