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Bust up in the barn...

Updated: Jun 12, 2018

Just outside our office window I’ve been watching swallows building their mud and straw nest under the eves of our workshop. These migrants arrived alongside the house martin and swift from warmer climes to capitalise on the seasonal abundance of insects here in Scotland. We’ve had swallows here for the last 20 years, faithfully returning to the steadings and outbuildings where they often rear two broods in a good year.

There was an earlier attempt by house martins to nest on a nearby gable wall, as they have in the past, but a mob of resident house sparrows had other ideas. I heard the commotion in the early morning as both ‘gangs’ fought it out around the old nests. The resident aggressive sparrows won and refurbished the old martin nests as their own - the summer visitors were moved on. Insects are a rich food source and here, as the swallows go to roost at night, our small population of Pipistrelle bats emerge to harvest night flying insects and moths.

This is a good time of year to see bats flying along hedgerows, watercourses and woodland edges which are favourite spots. We have been busy undertaking bat surveys for clients and recently recorded a roost of 120 Daubenton’s bats over a river site. These bats are often seen skimming the water feeding on the wing or picking insects off the surface of the water. Locally there is a good population on the River Ness upstream of Inverness. The area around the Ness Islands is a particularly good spot with 4 or 5 bat species to be found there. (Picture ©John Young 2018)


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