Dragons, damsels and bats

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.

Flatford Mill; FSC Field Centre

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.

Flatford Mill, weir side

Rear of the main 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!

Willy Lott's House reflection from dining hall

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:

Scarce Chaser


Brown Hawker

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.

3 thoughts on “Dragons, damsels and bats

  1. Gorgeous shots of a gorgeous place. How much would I love to bust out my fancy-schmancy pastels and try to capture that landscape. And I know how hard it is to photograph a dragonfly and get clarity and detail — well done!

    Sounds like you really know your dragonfly and bat species. I’m impressed.

  2. ooo sounds lovely and such a smashing place, i must be honest dragonflys hold a special place in my heart, when my dad died my son was young and couldnt understand why his grandad didnt come back so he was told this story….when the dragonflys were young they couldnt understand where there friends went so they made a promise that the next on to go would come back into the water and tell everyone where they went, the next dragonfly left the water and became a beautifull dragonfly with stunning colours and wings he remembered his promise and tried to go back but he couldnt go into the water as he had changed 🙂 my son loved this story and whenever he saw a dragonfly he used to say hello granddad 🙂 . we are all older now but for me the dragonfly will always have a special place for a truely beautifull creature

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