Richard Holmes, Beauchamps

Last Sunday evening some 30 of us gathered for the Udimore Wildlife Society’s second successive summer barbecue at Court Lodge Farm. Helped by several contributions of salads and side dishes from other members, Liz and Keith Dean provided us with a splendid meal, much enjoyed by the assembled company. This was a prelude to two wonderful experiences of local winged wildlife at first hand. As dusk fell, the air was suddenly full of a flock of circling birds, the evening flight of over thirty pairs of house martins returning to roost in their nests under the eaves of the farmhouse. The other flying creatures were bats. Roger Jones and Sally-Ann Hurry, of Mountfield Ecology, had brought with them some electrical detectors, on which we began to hear the sounds of individual bats’ echolocating calls, slowed down to a frequency audible by human ears. Though declining in numbers recently, they told us, there are still plenty of bats about, as surveys of local hibernating and breeding sites continue to show. It was fascinating to hear evidence of this for ourselves, even beginning to identify individual species, as the bats hunted for moths and other insects around the house, farm buildings and village pond. Altogether, another most interesting and enjoyable meeting of the society.

Tickets for the Royal Baby Barn Dance in St Mary’s Hall tomorrow evening (Saturday) have been selling very well, but if you don’t want to miss it and haven’t yet booked, it would be well worth contacting Celia or Nadia (01424-882250 or -882948) for possible returns. Music by the Flat Cat Band, pay bar and barbecue - and if you bring along photos of yourself now and as a baby you can enter the special competition and win a bottle of champagne. £10 entry, children free with adults. It should be a great evening!

The Sunday service in St Mary’s Church at 11.15 next morning is the monthly Sung Family Eucharist.