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Devon Wildlife Warden Season 2 Episode 9: Bat Chat! 

Hello and welcome to the Devon Wildlife Warden podcast! Since it’s October and Halloween season, I thought we’d talk about an iconic animal associated with Halloween – the humble bat In this episode, I will be joined by local ecological surveyor and bat nerd, Anne Robinson. As our kids happen to go to the same karate club, we sneaked out one evening while they were practicing their kicks and punches for a walk around the local park with a couple of bat detectors. Find out how that went later on in the episode! And as usual, I will be bringing you the bird and plant of the month for November as well as an update on what our wildlife wardens have been up to across Teignbridge in the last month or so.  

Intro music 

The Teignbridge Wildlife Warden Scheme is run by Action on Climate in Teignbridge – or ACT for short. The idea is to have wardens in every parish or ward who can help their wildlife in a wide variety of ways. I am the wildlife warden for Abbotskerswell, but we have many others and are always looking for more! We do all sorts of things, from promoting wildlife gardening and recording local wildlife sightings to working with clubs and schools and commenting on local planning applications, and much, much more! It’s all about each warden doing what they feel is necessary in their area and which lies within their comfort zone. ACT’s Wildlife Warden Scheme would not be possible without the generous assistance of our donors, details of which can be found in the episode notes. Many thanks to them all!   

So let’s kick off the episode by talking bats… as mentioned in the introduction, local ecological surveyor Anne Roberts was kind enough to spent a bit of time with me talking about these furry winged creatures which are often associated with Halloween by many people, so it seemed as good a time as any to produce an episode about them! This recording was made outside and we had passing trains, kids playing football and people out walking their dogs to contend with, so the sound quality is a little sketchy in places!  

Anne Bat Chat 

Massive thanks again to Anne for taking the time out to talk to me. In the episode notes, I will include links to the bat conservation charity in case you’d like to find out more about these creatures or how to support them.  

Moving on, I’d like to talk a bit about the Teignbridge Wildlife Warden scheme – it may surprise you to find out that it’s now been running for just over two years and our next episode will focus on just what’s been achieved in that time, and I’ll hopefully be chatting to our founder and coordinators, Audrey and Flavio…. but I simply couldn’t wait until then to mention that Audrey has just won a BBC Radio Devon “difference” award in the environmental category for all her hard work – so huge congrats to her and I can’t wait to hear all about it and find out more about how that came about when we chat with her. 

In the meantime, what else has been going on? Well many of our wardens have been reporting sightings of fungi, from puffballs at Parke to orange peel in Cornwall, the Prince Agaricus in Trustham, porcelain mushrooms by the Teign, wrinkled peach, which is thought to only be seen in the South West and good old fly agaric in Trendlebere – and that’s to name just a few!  

Sad news in Ilsington as their resident polecat was found run over at the top of Sheree’s lane – hopefully it wont’ impact on their population too much but it just serves as a reminder to be careful and go slow on the lanes.  

A warm welcome goes out to Scott in Dawlish who has just joined our team, hopefully he has some great ideas for things he might do to help his local community. 

Marjie joined forces with Friends of Teignmouth Old Cemetary and has produced some beautiful hand made signs to help provide information on some of the local wildlife there and how things like ants are beneficial for the ecosystem.  

Dom sent in a lovely sighting of some noctule bats roosting in an old woodpecker hole, so that ties in nicely with the theme of this episode!  

There has also been a bit of recycling chat going on in our group and it’s worth mentioning that Sainsbury’s is a great place for taking your flexible plastic – it doesn’t just have to be carrier bags – the rule of thumb is that if it’s stretchy plastic then it can go into their recycling point, so do try and take yours along there if you can – I believe that most if not all Sainsburys supermarkets have a collection point – but not their local stores.  

Pip came across a lady collecting spindle berries and she has explained how to prepare them for planting – she has written a 4 page article for DWT magazine on preparing fruits and nuts for tree planting, so look out for that if you’re a member when the next magazine comes through the post! No doubt there will be similar information on their website if you prefer to look there, too.  

Eloise shared photos of the flower beds she helped to renovate near Sherborne house in Newton Abbot – they look brilliant so a big shout out to her and her colleagues for their efforts there. 

Moving on, I’d like to talk about something else that was shared in our group – The National Trust, RSPB and WWF have joined together to sponsor a project called “The People’s Plan for Nature”. It’s a three stage project aimed at bringing together millions of people to make a plan moving forward to protect nature in the UK. The first stage basically asks anyone from any walk of life what they think should be done to protect nature. The second stage will be to select 100 people to take part in a people’s assembly – they will develop a plan and set recommendations for change on behalf of the public. The final stage will be to produce a report which will be too big to ignore (in theory!). The plan will set out how the government, businesses, NGO’s and communities can take action to protect and restore nature – it allows us all to play our part in saving nature. I’ll include a link in the episode notes so you can learn more about this and take part.  

Next we have the plant to look out for in November – and it’s the common Hazel. There is plenty of this around across the country – it can grow to be a huge tree but was traditionally coppiced for things like hurdle making or lain as part of hedgerows. It’s a plant of great importance at this time of the year because hazel nuts are an important food source for many animals – the hazel dormouse in particular. You can spot it’s rounded leaves easily and in late winter it will have yellow catkins dangling from it’s branches, so keep an eye out for this plant when you are out and about this autumn and winter. The woodland trust has a lovely page about this plant, so I’ll include a link for it in the episode notes.  

And our bird of the month for November is the Great Tit – this is a common bird throughout the year and they can be found in many gardens, parks and woodlands. They are the largest of our tits (try not to giggle) – about the size of a robin. Males and females look the same and have a black head with white cheeks with the black colouring continuing down the middle of their chests. Either side of this, their chest and belly is yellow, making them fairly easy to spot. In terms of their song, it sounds like this… 

Great Tit Song 

So why don’t you try listening or looking out for them while you are out and about? I’ll include a link to the RSPB page about them in case you’d like to learn more about this charming little bird.  

The last thing I wanted to mention before finishing up this podcast is bonfire night! Many of us like to build and light fires at this time of year but don’t forget to consider our wildlife when doing so. A couple of things you might consider doing are building smaller piles of leaves and twigs nearby so that hedgehogs and other small animals might have somewhere else to go rather than into your big fire! And if you can build your fire on the day you plan to light it, wildlife will have less time to move in, so try and avoid leaving a big pile of sticks sitting there for days beforehand as this will also help prevent unnecessary wildlife casualties. And of course, be mindful of trees and hedgerows – be careful to site your fire away from these if you can… and remember to warn your neighbours if you intend to light fireworks so that they can take care of nervous pets. Otherwise… have fun and enjoy the festivities of the season – I know I will be!  

This podcast was narrated and produced by me, Emily Marbaix. Music by  

by Poddington Bear 

Episode Notes:  

ACT’s Wildlife Warden Scheme is run by the Action on Climate in Teignbridge (www.actionclimateteignbridge.org) Ecology Group. The idea is to have Wildlife Wardens in every Teignbridge Parish who can help their local nature in a wide variety of ways – through promoting wildlife gardening, recording local wildlife, improving local habitats, working with clubs and schools, keeping an eye on planning applications and development and more! ACT’s Wildlife Warden Scheme would not be possible without the generous assistance of: Devon Environment Foundation; Teign Energy Communities’ Community Fund; Cllr Jackie Hook’s DCC Locality Fund; Dartmoor National Park Authority; the Nineveh Trust; anonymous donors. Many thanks to all. 

Devon Wildlife Warden Podcast – Wildlife Warden News and Updates (wordpress.com) 

Links referenced in episode:  

wwwactionclimateteignbridge.org 

Home – Bat Conservation Trust (bats.org.uk) 

People’s Plan For Nature (peoplesplanfornature.org) 

Hazel (Corylus avellana) – British Trees – Woodland Trust 

Different Tits & How to Tell the Apart | Bird ID – The RSPB 

This podcast was written, presented and produced by Emily Marbaix. Music by Poddington Bear  

Devon Wildlife Warden Season 2 Episode 9: Bat Chat! 

Music downloaded from Free Music Archive: Music for Video 

Hello and welcome to the Devon Wildlife Warden podcast! Since it’s October and Halloween season, I thought we’d talk about an iconic animal associated with Halloween – the humble bat In this episode, I will be joined by local ecological surveyor and bat nerd, Anne Robinson. As our kids happen to go to the same karate club, we sneaked out one evening while they were practicing their kicks and punches for a walk around the local park with a couple of bat detectors. Find out how that went later on in the episode! And as usual, I will be bringing you the bird and plant of the month for November as well as an update on what our wildlife wardens have been up to across Teignbridge in the last month or so.  

Intro music 

The Teignbridge Wildlife Warden Scheme is run by Action on Climate in Teignbridge – or ACT for short. The idea is to have wardens in every parish or ward who can help their wildlife in a wide variety of ways. I am the wildlife warden for Abbotskerswell, but we have many others and are always looking for more! We do all sorts of things, from promoting wildlife gardening and recording local wildlife sightings to working with clubs and schools and commenting on local planning applications, and much, much more! It’s all about each warden doing what they feel is necessary in their area and which lies within their comfort zone. ACT’s Wildlife Warden Scheme would not be possible without the generous assistance of our donors, details of which can be found in the episode notes. Many thanks to them all!   

So let’s kick off the episode by talking bats… as mentioned in the introduction, local ecological surveyor Anne Roberts was kind enough to spent a bit of time with me talking about these furry winged creatures which are often associated with Halloween by many people, so it seemed as good a time as any to produce an episode about them! This recording was made outside and we had passing trains, kids playing football and people out walking their dogs to contend with, so the sound quality is a little sketchy in places!  

Anne Bat Chat 

Massive thanks again to Anne for taking the time out to talk to me. In the episode notes, I will include links to the bat conservation charity in case you’d like to find out more about these creatures or how to support them.  

Moving on, I’d like to talk a bit about the Teignbridge Wildlife Warden scheme – it may surprise you to find out that it’s now been running for just over two years and our next episode will focus on just what’s been achieved in that time, and I’ll hopefully be chatting to our founder and coordinators, Audrey and Flavio…. but I simply couldn’t wait until then to mention that Audrey has just won a BBC Radio Devon “difference” award in the environmental category for all her hard work – so huge congrats to her and I can’t wait to hear all about it and find out more about how that came about when we chat with her. 

In the meantime, what else has been going on? Well many of our wardens have been reporting sightings of fungi, from puffballs at Parke to orange peel in Cornwall, the Prince Agaricus in Trustham, porcelain mushrooms by the Teign, wrinkled peach, which is thought to only be seen in the South West and good old fly agaric in Trendlebere – and that’s to name just a few!  

Sad news in Ilsington as their resident polecat was found run over at the top of Sheree’s lane – hopefully it wont’ impact on their population too much but it just serves as a reminder to be careful and go slow on the lanes.  

A warm welcome goes out to Scott in Dawlish who has just joined our team, hopefully he has some great ideas for things he might do to help his local community. 

Marjie joined forces with Friends of Teignmouth Old Cemetary and has produced some beautiful hand made signs to help provide information on some of the local wildlife there and how things like ants are beneficial for the ecosystem.  

Dom sent in a lovely sighting of some noctule bats roosting in an old woodpecker hole, so that ties in nicely with the theme of this episode!  

There has also been a bit of recycling chat going on in our group and it’s worth mentioning that Sainsbury’s is a great place for taking your flexible plastic – it doesn’t just have to be carrier bags – the rule of thumb is that if it’s stretchy plastic then it can go into their recycling point, so do try and take yours along there if you can – I believe that most if not all Sainsburys supermarkets have a collection point – but not their local stores.  

Pip came across a lady collecting spindle berries and she has explained how to prepare them for planting – she has written a 4 page article for DWT magazine on preparing fruits and nuts for tree planting, so look out for that if you’re a member when the next magazine comes through the post! No doubt there will be similar information on their website if you prefer to look there, too.  

Eloise shared photos of the flower beds she helped to renovate near Sherborne house in Newton Abbot – they look brilliant so a big shout out to her and her colleagues for their efforts there. 

Moving on, I’d like to talk about something else that was shared in our group – The National Trust, RSPB and WWF have joined together to sponsor a project called “The People’s Plan for Nature”. It’s a three stage project aimed at bringing together millions of people to make a plan moving forward to protect nature in the UK. The first stage basically asks anyone from any walk of life what they think should be done to protect nature. The second stage will be to select 100 people to take part in a people’s assembly – they will develop a plan and set recommendations for change on behalf of the public. The final stage will be to produce a report which will be too big to ignore (in theory!). The plan will set out how the government, businesses, NGO’s and communities can take action to protect and restore nature – it allows us all to play our part in saving nature. I’ll include a link in the episode notes so you can learn more about this and take part.  

Next we have the plant to look out for in November – and it’s the common Hazel. There is plenty of this around across the country – it can grow to be a huge tree but was traditionally coppiced for things like hurdle making or lain as part of hedgerows. It’s a plant of great importance at this time of the year because hazel nuts are an important food source for many animals – the hazel dormouse in particular. You can spot it’s rounded leaves easily and in late winter it will have yellow catkins dangling from it’s branches, so keep an eye out for this plant when you are out and about this autumn and winter. The woodland trust has a lovely page about this plant, so I’ll include a link for it in the episode notes.  

And our bird of the month for November is the Great Tit – this is a common bird throughout the year and they can be found in many gardens, parks and woodlands. They are the largest of our tits (try not to giggle) – about the size of a robin. Males and females look the same and have a black head with white cheeks with the black colouring continuing down the middle of their chests. Either side of this, their chest and belly is yellow, making them fairly easy to spot. In terms of their song, it sounds like this… 

Great Tit Song 

So why don’t you try listening or looking out for them while you are out and about? I’ll include a link to the RSPB page about them in case you’d like to learn more about this charming little bird.  

The last thing I wanted to mention before finishing up this podcast is bonfire night! Many of us like to build and light fires at this time of year but don’t forget to consider our wildlife when doing so. A couple of things you might consider doing are building smaller piles of leaves and twigs nearby so that hedgehogs and other small animals might have somewhere else to go rather than into your big fire! And if you can build your fire on the day you plan to light it, wildlife will have less time to move in, so try and avoid leaving a big pile of sticks sitting there for days beforehand as this will also help prevent unnecessary wildlife casualties. And of course, be mindful of trees and hedgerows – be careful to site your fire away from these if you can… and remember to warn your neighbours if you intend to light fireworks so that they can take care of nervous pets. Otherwise… have fun and enjoy the festivities of the season – I know I will be!  

This podcast was narrated and produced by me, Emily Marbaix. Music by  

by Poddington Bear 

Episode Notes:  

ACT’s Wildlife Warden Scheme is run by the Action on Climate in Teignbridge (www.actionclimateteignbridge.org) Ecology Group. The idea is to have Wildlife Wardens in every Teignbridge Parish who can help their local nature in a wide variety of ways – through promoting wildlife gardening, recording local wildlife, improving local habitats, working with clubs and schools, keeping an eye on planning applications and development and more! ACT’s Wildlife Warden Scheme would not be possible without the generous assistance of: Devon Environment Foundation; Teign Energy Communities’ Community Fund; Cllr Jackie Hook’s DCC Locality Fund; Dartmoor National Park Authority; the Nineveh Trust; anonymous donors. Many thanks to all. 

Devon Wildlife Warden Podcast – Wildlife Warden News and Updates (wordpress.com) 

Links referenced in episode:  

wwwactionclimateteignbridge.org 

Home – Bat Conservation Trust (bats.org.uk) 

People’s Plan For Nature (peoplesplanfornature.org) 

Hazel (Corylus avellana) – British Trees – Woodland Trust 

Different Tits & How to Tell the Apart | Bird ID – The RSPB 

This podcast was written, presented and produced by Emily Marbaix. Music by Poddington Bear  

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