Friday, 12 June 2009

A bat by twilight

This evening I experienced a 'first' in awareness of the natural world that is all around us. Almost midsummer, at 10.00pm this evening it was still light when I went into my little back garden. I had been wondering where Sam the cat was as hadn't see him for a few hours; he was of course fine, sitting in his usual meditative position on an upstairs window ledge.

As I looked up I spotted a tiny pipistrelle bat flying around in a circle just above my head, it flew into the branches of a nearby lime tree which stands in the old cemetery behind my house, then out again and around again. A twilight ballet went on for several minutes as I stood transfixed ..... just quietly watching and listening to the almost indiscernible swish of the tiny bat in flight. A magical few moments which made the minor irritations of the day fade into triviality. I have seen flitting bats before but have never had such a close up encounter as this evening ..... and in my own back garden.

There are many excellent educational web-sites about bats; at I found this evocative poem.
Summer Bats
Leatherwing fluttering, cut-outs in black ink
Against the fading fluorescent sunset sky;
Leaf-spiraling with purpose and hunger,
Cries shrilled out of hearing, sketching their world.
Replacing the swallows, the night-shift pours forth
From crevice and eave. The host of shy hunters
Fills the middle air with their dance.This show
Is unseen for the most part, yet the insect-seekers
Are not invisible. It is our lapse of attention:
How few of us look up for quiet wings at twilight!
(by Hugh Eckert)