Experience incredible wildlife on a night time adventure

Nocturnal wildlife is not to be overlooked - an array of fascinating creatures 'see' the world in a totally different way to us.

Warm summer evenings are the perfect time to go on a nocturnal wildlife adventure, a great chance to see a different side to your local wetland centre. Just as many of us are finishing our day and thinking about turning in for the night, there are a range of mammals, birds and insects who are stirring and about to make the most of the darkness. Read on for an introduction to some of the stars at Welney.



This group of flying mammals experience the world in a totally different way to us, emerging from roosts after the sun goes down and making the most of the hours we are not naturally equipped to explore. Eight of the 18 UK species of bat have been recorded at Welney and by using specialist equipment during bat and barn owl evenings we can listen in on the different calls the bats are making. Bat detectors pick up the echolocation used to navigate the skies in their search of prey, and turn it into sound patterns that we can hear. The skies are at their busiest August and September as young bats have taken to the skies, females desert old nursery sites and adults to try find suitable mates before winter. A clear evening out in the Fens means you can enjoy seeing the silhouettes of the bats flying as well as listening to their calls.

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All our species of bat are insectivores, and some of their diet is many up of the thousands of species of moth found in the UK. Over 800 of the larger species of moths display a huge range of shapes, colours and sizes dispelling the myth that they are brown and boring when compared to butterflies. By using light and scent methods to attract the moths, a range of species can be explored and marvelled at throughout the evening. Some species do have fantastical names like the setaceous hebrew character, whist others describe what you see like the red underwing.

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They are the classic bird of the night, and we are fortunate in the Fens to have the beautiful barn owl as a resident species. Experiencing these ghostly forms swoop by is incredibly special and no wonder that they are one of the UK’s most popular birds. During the summer months any owlets that have been fed successfully are at the point of taking their first flights out across the open landscape. Whilst the sight of them is a stunning addition to the evening sky, the sound of them is less endearing as they make spooky shrieks, squeals and wheezes.

Emma Brand, Events & Marketing Officer said:

“All nocturnal wildlife is fascinating and strange to us because these creatures use totally different ways navigating their world and finding the food they need to survive.

“These evening events are a fantastic way to start exploring for night-time wildlife with guides on hand to help point out the sights and sounds of these incredible creatures.

“Wetlands provide resource rich areas where many species can exist together, add to that our fantastic Fenland skies with minimal light pollution and you are in for a real treat. The wider scoundscape of an evening at Welney makes the most of your senses with crickets strumming, daytime birds coming in to roost and the movement of deer or nearby cattle through the vegetation.”

There are many more nocturnal species which might be encountered during the evening, from slugs and snails if is has been damp to violet ground beetles. lamping at the pond dipping stations may reveal the movements of diving beetles after dark and you may even find dragonflies roosting on the underside of branches and leaves.

There are just a few spaces remaining on the bat & barn owl evenings coming up this season. Booking is essential; £15 per adult, £7 per child.

Dates available

If you are inspired to join a Bat & Barn owl evening event at Welney choose from:

Sat 12 August, 8.30-10.30pm

Sat 16 September, 7.30-9.30pm

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