This month we celebrated Hedgehog Awareness Week. We were lucky enough to be joined by street artist ATM, who created an amazing hedgehog mural on Kings Street in the centre of town. We also ran a Night Safari in Holywells Park, where I was joined by David Dowding, an Ipswich park Wildlife Ranger and Tarra Benjamin, from Suffolk Bat Group, to help us find some elusive nocturnal wildlife!
David had brought along some of his own amphibians, so we started by looking at these newts and toads close up. Then, as darkness was descending, we distributed the bat detectors, night vision monocular and high power torches, and went on our way around the park. We started by skirting the ponds, finding stickleback in the water and then bats whizzing up and down the pathway, feeding above our heads. We headed around the woodland, looking out for mammals with the night vision monocular and thermal imaging gadget, before stopping at the ponds at the other end of the park. Here we found more fish and some amphibians, including a lovely smooth newt and small toad. We were treated to more bat displays above the water, and caught them on the thermal imaging device as white blobs zipping across the screen!
Smooth newt in the spotlight of the torch, and the white dot showing a bat in the sky!
We slowly headed back to the start of the walk to check the moth trap. Unfortunately only a few moths – flame shoulders, green carpet and brimstone moths were seen, but David had a few beautiful hawk-moths to show us too!
We’ll be running Night Safaris in other parks across Ipswich throughout the year. To keep up to date with events, check out our What’s On: http://www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org/whats-on