Eavesdropping on bats - and seeing stars!
Published: 03 September 2020
Nature lovers listened in on Lesser Horseshoe bats leaving their roost at Sharpham.
Then, later they were able to zoom in on the Moon's surface, and see Saturn and Jupiter close up!
Participants on our Bats & Stargazing Walk were dazzled by the night-time sounds and sights on the event, which took place in partnership with Dartmoor Skies, the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project and the Devon Wildlife Trust.
The Sharpham Estate hosts various bats, and we're one of the few places in the UK and Europe where the Greater Horseshoe Bat can be found.
We are home to Lesser Horseshoes as well, and it was the sound (and sight) of these animals that so absorbed visitors.
Participants used bat listening devices to tune to the frequency of these incredible animals, eavesdropping on their echo-location sounds.
Here is the sound of Lesser Horseshoe bats, as they leave their roost behind Sharpham House and head out to forage:
As the evening progressed, participants were given a tour of the night-sky, thanks to Dartmoor Skies
Jupiter and Saturn were visible above The Great Run, and using a powerful telescope and a digital camera screen attached, everyone could zoom in on the rings of Saturn and the moons of Jupiter.
Then the Moon - virtually full - rose, allowing the group to marvel at its size, golden colour and surface. Rob Tilsley of Dartmoor Skies guided us across the Moon's surface, pointing out landmarks and features, to the delight of the event's participants.
Above: Jupiter (right) and Saturn shining above The Great Run at Sharpham, in a long exposure shot taken by Rob Tilsley of Dartmoor Skies
This event was supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.