BSW day 2: Bypassing bats

So. Our second day of British Science week wasn’t all that more successful than day one. This really was a very busy weekend. Girlbug was over-tired from having her cousin sleeping over, and also preoccupied with a princess party for most of the day.

But we tried.

At first, Girlbug was on board with the bat idea. She first encountered bats on holiday in Croatia, where she was allowed to stay up late to watch them, and have “grown up snacks”. In Girlbug’s mind then, bats equated snacks.

Maybe that’s where I went wrong. Within minutes, the evident lack of snacks, and distraction of the playroom, meant that I was doing this one on my own. Girlbug had bypassed the bats. As part of British Science Week, a citizen science project has been launched where you can be a “bat detective“! So, I’ve spent at least some of the afternoon listening to the sounds of bats and classifying them. I think the whole family think I’m bonkers.

But I’ve always liked bats, and got up close and personal a long while back in the rainforests of Sulawesi, Indonesia…really close. We clambered through caves, hung up nets to catch them and took DNA samples from their wings. All in a bid to find new species. Here we are outside a cave, crouched over rocks, scalpels in hands. Fear not, the bats weren’t hurt and flew away into the sunset. They were just a little wonky, with the orange glow of the sun shining through the freshly cut, triangle-shaped hole, in their wings!

Bat catching

Apologies for the quality of the image, this really was quite a long time ago!! This bat was a medium sized fellow, we caught much larger, but we also caught smaller bats with butterfly nets too.

We really travelled a long way to find these bats – a long, boring flight, a coach drive through crazy Makassar, 12 hours on an old german ship with rats and cockroaches for company, a minibus through the rainforest, a speed boat with a jeep tied to it, then a hairy jeep ride over DIY bridges. An amazing adventure into the unknown. Feels like a long time ago, and a long way from sitting in front of the computer listening to bats.

It also feels like a million miles away from the predictable unpredictability of looking after the kids. That’s rewarding in a different way, though.

Tomorrow we’re less busy so hopefully I’ll be able to engage the kids in something a bit more fun. I have great plans for my cabbage, but I’m also wondering whether to try an expedition. While it won’t be as far as Indonesia, a day trip to London would take almost as much planning these days! We’ll see what mood we’re all in when we get up!


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