Fireside Feasts and Bat Hunting
A rare chance to see WWT London Wetland Centre at dusk
During the day visitors to WWT London Wetland Centre are used to seeing the reserve alive with birds, dragonflies, frogs and butterflies. But when the people go home the animals don’t leave too. In fact, dusk is the time when some creatures actually begin their ‘day’. Bats swoop over the reserve hunting for insects, moths come out in droves and lapwings feed during the night as it provides cover from predators.
Not many people are privileged to see the nocturnal comings and goings of London Wetland Centre’s night-time inhabitants. But on Thursday, 2 June a group of young people from Hammersmith and Fulham Action on Disability (HAFAD) participated in a Night Safari at this 105 acre wildlife reserve.
Throughout the evening the youngsters learned how to make a fire and then enjoyed an evening of storytelling around the flames. After a ‘midnight’ feast around the fire they headed over to Pond Zone to take part in a special session of twilight pond dipping, using nets and an underwater camera, to see what mini-beasts were lurking beneath the surface at dusk. The group then swapped pond life for aerial acrobatics when they took part in a bat walk at 9.00pm. Seven species of bat are found at London Wetland Centre and the children were given bat detectors so they could hear these amazing flying mammals ‘chattering’. Using bat detectors it is possible to differentiate between the bats’ social calls and the echolocation they use to forage for food.
HAFAD won their Night Safari to London Wetland Centre as part of a competition run by the Centre’s education team, sponsored by The City Bridge Trust. Groups were invited to take part in an art competition and HAFAD were selected as the winners. Continuing the artistic theme, as part of the Night Safari activities the children will also be making badges to take home with them as a souvenir of their visit.
Your chance for a night time adventure
June 3, 2011