I went on two FSC courses at Flatford Mill in July; Identifying Dragonflies and Damselflies, and Bats: Ecology and Conservation. Both were excellent. I was non-resident for the first, but stayed in their accommodation for the bats course, as naturally we had some late evening field trips! I didn’t get any pictures of those, I’m afraid.
Flatford Mill is a delightful building, and of course, full of Constable history.
Walking through the building on the right (and passing the dining hall) you get to the work rooms, accessed from the back of the building.
I omitted to take the famous picture across the lower mill outlet with Willy Lott’s cottage on the left hand side, so I can’t photoshop my own version of the Haywain, unfortunately! However it struck me one evening during dinner, that a picture of that cottage was reflecting the real thing perfectly!
On both Saturday and Sunday we had field trips for the Dragonfly course; and on both evenings and also the last afternoon on the bat trip. These were excellent for hands on experience and we were also lucky to have excellent weather (ok, it was a bit on the hot side!).
Here are the photos of some of the dragonflies we saw:
We saw all the dragonflies and damselflies you’d expect to see in that area; in addition to the above, broad bodied chaser, black-tailed skimmer, azure damselfly, common blue damselfly, blue tailed damselfy, white legged damselfly, ruddy darter, common darter, banded demoiselle. We also learned to identify them from the cases of the nymphs left behind when they emerge (exuvia).
With the bats, we learned about their calls and ecology, then visited a barn the first evening in time for emergence… of about 50 common pipistrelle and a small number of soprano pipistrelle, about a hundred Daubenton’s and Natterer’s and one or two noctule also were in the vicinity. The next evening from the bridge at Flatford we saw Daubenton’s ‘fishing’ – trailing their legs to catch insects just above the water. We also saw a noctule travelling high up, and a few pipistrelle up and down the lane. There were also tawny owls calling. On the Sunday we visited a church and surveyed it to identify possible roosts and evidence of bat presence. Pipistrelle roosts were definitely there, and maybe some bown long-eared bats roosting on occasions.
Two excellent courses and thanks to Steve Cham for the first and to Patty and Brian Briggs for the second.