Where did my life go? 3 months ago I was happily settled in the guise of a college lecturer, taking regular tea breaks and talking rudely about students; now I'm driving all over the UK from early morning to late night trying to catalogue wildlife before it gets covered over with concrete...the culture shock couldn't be more acute.
Having said that, I am thoroughly enjoying the new job and my species ID skills are gradually being honed. Not to mention being at the sharp end of the gradual, piecemeal destruction of the British ecological system. God, how jaded am I?
Bats. Small furry / leathery flying micey bods. You've got to love 'em. Nothing presents more headaches for ecologists and developers alike than bats...they're nocturnal, they move about loads, they hide in ridiculous places, you can't hear them without spending a lot of money and they're protected to buggery! Bring it on.
I have lost count of the number of hours I have spent in the last 2 months staring at buildings in the dark. I've been to hoverports, houses, barns, factories, studios, farms, housing estates and bunkers. And I've stared at trees. I've been in lofts - usually full of my favourite eight-legged friends, air raid shelters and even walked in the space above the domed arches of a famous Cathedral...all in the name of bats. I've found a 50 year old Kit-Kat wrapper. Thankyou bats.
I've spent hours analysing calls on the computer, sorting out the jumble of wet slaps, dry slaps, dry clicks and wet clicks into recognisable sonograms...and I still have little clue as to what bats do and why. They're like the best kind of girlfriend...keep you interested and up all night.
Reptiles. Scaly, slithery bods. Like to live under squares of shed roofing felt. The British countryside must be littered with millions of squares of shed felt...must be a boom time for reptiles with so much habitat! With all this hard work we ecologists are doing for them, they could at least empty my car of all the bloody granules that fall off the flipping felts....selfish gits.