Richard & Diane Van Vleck Personal Pages

Notes for friends and family

July 11, 2004 update It has been 2 years since I've remembered to update this page. The recent loss of all our email correspondence and address books means I have lost contact with many of you. If I should have your email address, please send it!

Our kestrels had two broods this year! This is the first time they have had a second brood in the 20 years we have lived here. The second brood is already half grown, thanks to an early March start of the first brood. Another first this year was the nesting of Carolina wrens in our yard - actually in the radiator shroud of an old Farmall f12 in the wagon shed. Now, the female is incubating her second brood high up in the hayloft of the barn. Finally, I can use the tractor, but, now I can't work near the nest in the hayloft at night, for fear of scaring her off the nest. The wren nest is only 20 ft from a day roost of many of the bats. I had erected scaffolding and prepared to start closing off some of their roost sites when I discovered the incubating wren. The juvenile bats are flying already, but it will be at least another week before the wrens fledge.

The big brown bat nursery colony remained in the electrically heated bat box all spring, then moved to another large bat box in June, but has now moved inside the barn. Eptesicus is a strange creature compared to the little myotis. They often seem to move for no apparent reason. The only downside is that the blue tarps are once again everywhere in the upper barn, covering the Flather lathe and all the antique machines. This week, the babies are beginning to fly. Several bats have been flying exceptionally low inside the barn at night, and freqently brushing my head, especially when I am up on scaffolding. They don't seem to be bothered by my presence at all, but seem to not know their way around very well. I leave a light on inside the hay loft at night, mostly to discourage the bats from using the rafters as a night roost. This light attracts many beetles, a favorite of Eptesicus, but I don't see them paying much attention to the lighted area yet.

Now that the barn swallow nesting season is tapering, I will be less frequently making artificial nest cups in the middle of the night and may begin to use that time for web revision both of the business site and the bird pages. I also hope to soon update the starling trap pages with info on a new type of repeating nest box trap that is working well and some earlier versions I tried this spring that didnít work well, but led to this final version.

The nest box cameras were tied up this season, first with starling trap video recording then with a barn swallow comparison of feeding visits at 3 nests in relation to weather. Now the cameras are trained on the bats. In all three cases, a new quad splitter was used to record the input from 4 cameras at once. This was a great tool, allowing me to fast forward through 4 recordings simultaneously.

2004 video monitoring of starling traps

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