I worry about a lot of things. This spring, I have been worrying about the two little bats we used to see flying around our garden at dusk. The winter was so long and harsh this year, and for long periods the temperature never got above freezing, even in the middle of the day. Then there were ridiculous days when it was minus twelve while I walked to work, and all that snow.
When the weather is extreme like that, I worry about wildlife. I know that bats hibernate for much of the winter, but it was so very cold that I wasn’t sure how they would fare. In previous years, I’d seen bats flying around the garden in early April, and so for a few weeks I checked outside every night at dusk, watching the garden for a few minutes to see if there were any bats. There weren’t.
So I kept worrying. Weeks went by, and still no bats. But on Friday night, I went into the kitchen to find our cat, Daisy, looking out of the window with the sort of persistence she demonstrates when there is something or someone out there. I looked out to see a big fox on our lawn. I think it must have heard me, because very quickly it headed for the far end of our garden, where I could no longer see it.
I stood by the window for another ten minutes, waiting to see if it would come back. I didn’t see the fox again, but I was delighted to see the bats! Two of them flying around the garden together. It was a humid and buggy night, so I’m sure they found plenty to eat. It made my day to see them. I can’t be sure that they are the same two bats we had last summer, but I’m really happy that they’re there.
I did a little bit of reading on bats, and found this lovely animated guide to British bats and what they like and don’t like about our gardens. One of the things the Bat Conservation Trust suggest is to plant night-scented flowers in your garden – this attracts insects at night, which is when the bats are there to eat them.