Saturday 12 March 2016

First Bat!

I was walking all day yesterday in deepest Surrey, mostly in sunshine - and yet I didn't see a single butterfly, not so much as a Brimstone or a Red Admiral. However, what I did see, to my amazement, was a bat, flitting about at treetop level in broad daylight, flying in rapid circles, with little darting diversions to snatch some flying morsel (of which there can't have been many at this time of year). It was too large to be a Pipistrelle, but what species it was I couldn't say. After a couple of minutes of circling, it flew off into the woods and was lost from sight. I'm pretty sure this is the first time ever that I have seen my first bat before my first butterfly. The times are out of joint...

 Talking of 'flitting' - surely le mot juste for bat flight - here's George Meredith, opening the last 'sonnet' of Modern Love:
 'Thus piteously Love closed what he begat:
The union of this ever-diverse pair!
These two were rapid falcons in a snare,
Condemned to do the flitting of the bat...'


  1. Not all that unusual Nige, disoriented bats. We have shared our cottage, for nearly twenty years, with pipistrelles and do see them occasionally during daylight hours in late spring and early summer. At their most entraining however when acting as fighter escort as we walk the dogs down the track at dusk.

  2. Indeed, Malty - my strangest experience of disoriented bats was on the Venetian island of Torcello, where numbers of them were for some reason flying around distractedly in the sun. Don't worry, I reassured Mrs N - they have amazing radar and won't fly anywhere near you. At which point one of them dived like a Stuka straight into Mrs N's hair.