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Take a walk into the darkness at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands

Last modified: 16 August 2013


The walk is a great way to experience the reserve after dusk.

Image: David Kjaer

As dusk falls over RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands, the nature reserve comes alive – and this month, visitors have the chance to uncover the site’s secret wildlife on a special dusk walk.

With the help of RSPB wardens, visitors can discover the nocturnal creatures which make their home at the reserve, including bats, badgers and owls.

There will also be the opportunity to witness a wildlife spectacle at Burton Mere Wetlands, which is home to one of the UK’s largest colonies of little egrets. As dusk approaches, close to 400 of the birds – a new record for the reserve – gather from across the estuary, creating a remarkable sight.

Dan Trotman, Visitor Development Officer at RSPB Dee Estuary Reserves, said: “Whilst these birds are seen regularly feeding across the estuary’s saltmarsh during the day, nothing compares to the sight and sound of dozens flying together into the tree-tops next to the nature reserve for the night. It’s an amazing sight to watch.”

As darkness looms, the first of the reserve’s nocturnal residents emerge – the bats. Burton Mere Wetlands is home to several types of bat and visitors can get up close to one type known as the water bat, as they zip back and forth catching flies over the water, just inches from the footpath.

During the special dusk walk, visitors will also have the chance to venture into the Gorse Covert woodland, listen to the tawny owls calling to each other and hopefully catch a glimpse of young badgers foraging in the woods as twilight falls. 

Geoff Robinson, Assistant Warden for RSPB Dee Estuary Reserves, said: “There have been evenings when I’ve been here alone and seeing the little egret colony in all its glory makes all the hard work we’ve put into managing this wetland over the years seem all the more worthwhile.

“The bats are superb - you can end up with them swirling all around you, just inches away. The badgers are brilliant to watch too. They have lived at Burton Mere Wetlands for years, but their home is now protected as it sits within RSPB land.

“The walk is a great way to experience the reserve after dusk. I don’t think people appreciate how much goes on here after the sun goes down – it really is worth discovering.”

In a bid to enable people to experience as much of the evening activity on the reserve as possible, the guided Dusk Walk will be held on Friday 30 August, starting at 6.30pm. The cost for the walk is £5 per adult (£3 for RSPB members) and £1 per child (free for RSPB Wildlife Explorer members).

For more information on the reserve and its activities, please call the reserve on 0151 353 8478, or check out the website


How you can help

Nature in the UK is in trouble and some of our more familiar garden species are amongst those suffering serious declines. We can all help by giving nature a home where we live.