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See meteor showers, foxes on the prowl, barn owls and a flutter of bats at Dungeness

Last modified: 04 August 2014

Elephant hawkmoth

Elephant hawkmoth

Image: Gordon Langsbury

If you go down to RSPB Dungeness after the sun has set you might be surprised at what you find. It won’t just be limited to life on the ground either.

Dungeness in the  Dark on Saturday August 9 will give  the whole family  a rare chance to see what happens at night on the reserve, and to meet the wildlife which hides away during  daylight hours.

It is the ideal time to witness meteors as early August is the prime time of year for Perseid showers – lucky observers can see between 60-100 meteors an hour after dark around 9 -13 August – and Dungeness is the ideal place because it is remote enough to have limited light pollution.  On a clear night you can even get great views of the Andromeda galaxy- so if you don’t know anything about the stars above the reserve, this is an ideal opportunity to find out more about them.

Tawny owls and barn owls, which both hunt at night can also be seen after dark on the reserve, and some visitors have been lucky enough to see the barn owl chicks that have recently fledged. 

Some nocturnal wildlife can be difficult to see for obvious reasons, but a bat detector can help to  locate the flying mammals, who use echolocation to get around, and the machine can be adjusted to find out if different species of bats are present as they can be heard at different frequencies.

At Dungeness in the  Dark a moth trap will be set with a view to examining the species caught at the end of the night. In the past around Dungeness, Sussex emerald, elephant hawk, eyed hawk, garden tiger, magpie, and gold spot,  moths have been found.  Contrary to common perceptions of moths, many are bright, colourful and a joy to discover.  Meeting the moths is always a treat, especially for  our younger visitors.

“Dungeness becomes a different place after dark, and there is a great opportunity to star gaze as well as spot nocturnal wildlife like badgers, foxes and bats,” said Lifelong Learning Officer Heather Chantler. “We have footage of water voles and foxes for people to view, and we plan to top off the night’s adventures with hot chocolate and marshmallows.”

Booking is essential for this event which will run between 8.30-11.30pm. To book call or email: 01797 320 588 /

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