Dark sky activities noctural wildlife in Dorset
Dorset is a fantastic destination for wildlife, it really is a nature lover's dream day or night. If you keep your eyes and ears open there so many nocturnal animals, insects and birds that you can spot or hear on your trip to Dorset. What will you discover?
Bat watching events
Dorset is an amazing place to see bats with all 17 of the United Kingdom’s breeding species present here. Dorset has recorded the sighting of two of the rarest bat species the mouse-eared bat and the nathusis pipistrelle bat. Whilst staying in rural locations across Dorset you’ll easily be able to see bats darting across the sky at twilight.
Bats hibernate in winter but guided bat walks take part at other times of the year, often the guide will have bat detectors with them, which can pick up the ultrasonic calls and enable you to hear them, there are also smartphone apps which can do this too. Look out for guided events happening at our country parks and nature reserves including Moors Valley, Upton Country Park, Durlston Country Park and RSPB reserves.
Imagine seeing wild badgers in their natural environment, Badger Watch Dorset is situated close to Dorchester and runs badger and wildlife night watches with the opportunity to photograph British wildlife from their nature hides in the countryside. Their two hides can be booked in small groups and visitors can watch the badgers emerging from their setts and foraging for food.
Glow worms are a medium sized beetle which is usually hard to spot until the moment the tip of the female's body glows at night to attract males. The time to see them lit up is during June and July. Look out for guided walks at nature reserves and country parks in Dorset for a better chance of spotting them in their favourite locations.
The amazing range of British moths might never be noticed by many people. There are over 900 species of the larger moths in the UK so identifying them can be really tricky. The good news is that The Butterfly Conservation charity has a handy smartphone app called What's Flying Tonight? which helps you recognise them. Moth trapping workshops are also a great way to learn about moths.
Nocturnal bird watching
A truly unique experience is to hear the distinctive call of a nightjar, experienced bird watchers may recognise the call, usually at dusk or dawn, when these rare birds can be heard on Dorset heathland. RSPB Arne host magical guided walks at dusk with experts who can help you identify the calls of nocturnal birds. See events at RSPB Arne.
Said to be the most beautiful songs of birds, nightingales also visit Dorset for their annual getaway, arriving from Africa in April and leaving in September. The rarely seen bird can be heard in dense scrubland, heaths and woodland.
Most of us will think of owls when we talk of nocturnal birds, the calls of owls can be often heard when staying in or close to the Dorset countryside or farmland. The distinctive screech of a barn owl and the twit, twoo recognisable call and answer of tawny owls are such a delight to hear. Visit the Woodland Trust website for information on owl calls.
Bird watching webcams in Dorset
You can also experience Dorset's birds from the comfort of your own home. Here are a few of the bird webcams set up in our wonderful county.
Dorset Wildlife Trusts - Owl webcams
Birds of Poole Harbour - Osprey Cam
RSPB Arne - Wetlands at Middlebere RSPB Arne
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