Friday, 14 September 2012

What is the attraction?

Yesterday my mind was wandering, I hadn't given it permission, but like my 5 year old son, it didn't seem to matter anyway.  I was busy writing the previous blog post, adding stuff to facebook and the groups newsgroup site, and I thought this is a lot of work, why am I bothering...  its just chuffing bats.

Which made me look back as to why I was interested in them, and whether this is similar to those feeling of other members.  Take birding for example, according to wiki there are some 596 species of birds on the British list as of 15 December 2011, five hundred and ninety six.  That's quite a lot. Even if you put aside the stupidly rare ones you are unlikely to see, that still leaves, well, quite a lot, and certainly enough to keep you interested for years and years.  But bats, there are 17-18 ish species and of those here in Worcestershire we could conceivably encounter15 of those.  Even those encounters are not quite as it seems. 
Would a birder accept hearing a weak and distant bird song as actually seeing the bird.  The clue here folks is in the word seeing.  We spend huge amounts of our time both professionally, and get this, just for fun, listening for things we cant see....or hear ourselves.  But never the less we do do it, and whats more we bloody well enjoy doing it. Now I know most of us get a real kick out of all things natural history, and may get a fix from studying other specific animals and plants, but its hard to find anything else very similar to going out batting. 
For almost everyone who is introduced to our bats, this completely disconnected approach is what gets us hooked in the first place.  Because they ley person cannot go and grab a bat, shake it by the wing and say "how do you do" (I have seen someone do that, or was that a dream), doing a bat walk is the only way of experiencing them. So is the first part of the point of batting simply experiencing them?
Of course there are times when we can see them flapping about doing their thing, but this is always short lived as the cosmos draws its inky veil over their shenanigans, and we are left to rely on artificial splats plops and warbles emitted form our artificial ears to remind us they are even still there. And these artificial ears or "bat detectors" as we in the know call them, become an almost physical part of our soul.  Go out at night without one, and you feel incomplete (go on admit it). So what attracts people young old, male and female to this seemingly crazy pass time.  We cannot even claim its because we are eccentric and British, for this phenomenon happens all over the world, even France. 

We are an...I would say elite, but that, a bit like my ramblings, is pretentious tosh,. We are the few, the few that can be bothered to go out, at night looking at seemingly nothing and reminding those less fortunate than ourselves, that these wonderful little animals are there, and that they deserve our attention, whether they bloody well want it or not.

I have just thought...what about the Badger Society?  They have only ONE specie to enthuse about...whats that all about?, bunch of weirdos if you ask me....

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