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Wildlife Gardening Weekend: in the night garden

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Lime hawk, Sunnybank SWT, NIGHT  1 compressed (c) Paul Hobson px

Lime hawk Sunnybank SWT: Paul Hobson

Get involved as The Wildlife Trusts celebrate the twilit world in our backyards this summer by following their top tips to attract nocturnal wildlife to your garden.

As sunset gives way to twilight, dusk and then night, our gardens become hunting and feeding grounds for the shy, secretive and specialist. Create the right setting to attract these night-time creatures, then wrap up, sit still and wait… or take part and go looking.

“I bet you don’t know your garden as well as you think.  Grab a torch and stay up late and explore the mysteries of the night time – it’s a pretty exciting world to discover. As it gets cooler, all manner of animals go on the prowl from beetles to badgers – the night time is the right time!” says naturalist and broadcaster Nick Baker, also Vice President of The Wildlife Trusts.

Top tips for attracting wildlife:

  • Dig a pond – the insects it encourages will lure bats and other animals, and there will be the added bonus of spotting amphibians too.
  • Plant night-scented flowers such as evening primrose, tobacco plant and honeysuckle which with their long, tubular flowers will attract moths with long tongues to come and sip nectar.
  • Choose pale-flowering plants as these are easier for night-time insects to see.
  • Plant native trees, hedges, long grass, and wildflowers which are all good for insects and, therefore, bats and also attract small mammals by providing cover from predators.
  • Put up several bat boxes in different positions to provide roosting places.
  • Place food out regularly so larger mammals such as hedgehogs, foxes and badgers will get used to the food source and begin to visit.
  • Lay wild bird seed and peanuts at ground level, but protected from predators, to encourage small mammals in.

Top ways to check out your visitors:

  • Experiment with different styles of moth trap – these can be very simple. With just a white sheet and a torch, moths will be attracted in as you shine the light on to the sheet ready to be identified.
  • Invest in a bat detector. Consult the Bat Conservation Trust guide here.
  • Set up cameras equipped with infrared triggers, called camera traps, to see who’s prowling around your garden at night.

Wildlife Gardening Weekend takes place on 12th and 13th July see wildlifetrusts.org for further details, events and activities.

The Wildlife Trusts (TWT) consisting of 47 individual Wildlife Trusts across the UK, have more than 800,000 members including 150,000 members of their junior branch Wildlife Watch.  The Trusts manage around 2,300 nature reserves and advise landowners and organisations on how to manage their land for wildlife

 

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