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MKHACHFE

Laugh if you want, but this city dwellers has a serious question about animals and getting spooked when alone at at a dark site ....

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Hi all,

Ok ok, I know this seems like a silly thing to ask, but I'm willing to bet that many on are wondering the same thing.

Basically, Ive lived in central London my entire life up until 2 years ago when I moved to the sticks. Far enough out to get B5 skies. Now I know that there is pretty much nothing in the UK that will pose any danger to me In my garden. But even so, yes, I get spooked by rustling noises and movement in the nearby bushes. Stupid I know. I tend to make regular loud noises to scare anything off (stop sniggering)...

That's all well and good, but my question is what's it's like being alone in a garden at, say 1am in the middle of nowhere at a dark site in Wales? The wife and I have found a B&B to book when the weather is going to be clear and the plan is for her to stay in the cosy room while I am outside. 

As I said, I know that there isn't anything that will attack me, but from people's experiences, is nature noisy, brave spooky etc in a situation like this? 

As a side note, one anmial I do love having around me at the start of my sessions is the tiny, acrobatic bat that swoops a few feet above me for hours...amazing to watch. He come pretty low over my head sometimes but I never flinch. He's my little friend. Haha. 

 

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Jeepers creepers, you'd die of fright if you were with me in our Aussie garden at night! 😂

(Oh and congratulations on the longest thread title ever seen on SGL.)

 

Edited by Geoff Barnes
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The apples falling from the trees next to my telescope used to make me jump but now I am used to it. So my advice is to go out more often and you will get used to all the noises.

Mark

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Tee hee. Sure we have all had our moments. For me I remember observing in the New Forest on a very dark night, and a pony managed to sneak up fairly close to me before making a noise. Made me jump certainly!

In my garden, I recall listening in terror (😉) as a huge, loud grunting beast gradually come closer in the darkness. Turned out to be a hedgehog 🤣🤣

Just make sure you take care, that someone knows where you are and when you will be back. Worst danger is probably from tripping over something in the dark!

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I find the fox screaming pretty un-nerving, it can sound exactly like the neighbour being brutally tortured to death and screaming for help. It's only the fact that we know what foxes sound like that has stopped us from calling the police.

... and were not that keen on the neighbours. 😂

We have also been adopted by a cat, it lives in the barn and uses that as its hunting ground - it doesn't venture into the garden because of the dogs but will late at night. Have been sat at the laptop imaging with a red torch on my head only to turn to the side and see a spooky illuminated cat staring at me from close range. They can be pretty ninja like.

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https://www.aldi.co.uk/wildlife-camera/p/020702299474200

This is a link to a night time wildlife camera. It's currently on offer from Aldi. Not sure if it can be linked to your mobile monitor screen. But it might show you the Yeti coming your way out of the dark. 

I get spooked. Then realise that Louie the dog is sitting under the tripod. 

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Bats are amazing as are hedgehogs.

Your body and head let off heat that rises and attracts night fliers like little knatts so the bats are swooping and feeding.

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A good set of ear plugs and your problems are solved! ;) 

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Out in the areas where wildlife exists, you just grow accustomed to it. I hear foxes often in my early morning viewing.  Fell asleep while watching a meteor shower only to wake up with that "something's watching me" feeling.

Sitting on the corner of my observatory a few feet away was a large owl.

Some mornings I get to listen lions growling in the distance.

We have several circus families living nearby.😁

Edited by maw lod qan
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A couple of weeks ago I was down the garden setting up. It was pretty dark by then. Then suddenly I heard a rattling sound, as if someone or something had tripped over a metal bucket. "Hello" I said. No response. I stood still waiting for the sounds of more movement. Nothing. Being I my own I was a little concerned but I carried on and suddenly there it was again. I went in the house for a proper torch. I do get cats frequently and there are foxes around here. I saw nothing. Strange. It happened every five minutes or so and as the night went on I became less concerned. A mystery.

The following day I was down the garden again and saw my neighbour down their. "I'm moving my coldframe." she said. "The conkers from that tree keep falling on it and the glass will get broken the way it;'s going"

Ha. Conkers!

cheers Gaj

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Use to get some weird noises from the the surrounding forest at Dalby star parties 
during the late/early morning nights. One's imagination could run amok if allowed to.
Tree rustlings,  low growls, snorting. Could get really scary 😬. No such worries at Lucksall.
Ron. 

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Never had animal related problems within five decades of observing from garden locations in rural areas. Most scary are curious owls; you can't hear them flying, and suddenly they appear two or three meters away from your head.... but never attack you, of course. But, yes, nature can be noisy.

You might try to change your "victim" paradigm to a more active role. Many of the animals you will hear over the years are rare or even endangered species (e.g.  some owls). A nice idea (found on CloudyNights years ago) is to start a catalogue of nightly active animals and their typical noises (that you can get from the net). You will be pleased, when you can distinguish the calls of several owl species, and suddenly hear a really rare birdcall - you can tick it off your list. Curiosity is a mighty antidote for fearfulness, as is familiarization.

Stephan

 

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This didn't scare me, but worried me.  One year I was at Kelling Heath star party in October, and from about 2am onwards I kept hearing what I thought was a Cow in labour, it sounded as if it was really in pain.  This went on until about 5am when I eventually went to bed.  I kept thinking some-one has got to help that poor cow.  Then suddenly I realised, that there wasn't a farm in that direction (West of the red field), it was in fact heath land, and what I was hearing was Deer rutting.  Well at least there wasn't an animal in distress.   They do get Adders in Kelling Heath, which is about the only creature in the UK that is dangerous to humans, but never seen one.

Carole 

 

 

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I am several miles up a single track road in the Scottish Highlands - we get deer (Noisy in the rutting season), badgers, foxes, bats, birds (common and garden plus sea eagles and owls), cats, bats, pine martens, hedgehogs and even an otter! We also have adders - I have seen them in the daylight but they are very quiet!

They have made me jump now and again but I have never felt threatened. A torch usually frightens most of them away.

 

 

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I quite often hear the tawny owls at night in our nearby woods. A tawny owl once landed on the end of the scope whilst I was in my observatory.  It certainly made me jump.  It didn’t seem the least bit bothered that It had company and I had to shoo it off.  That sub got rejected, needless to say.  Fortunately, the wee birdie chose not to lighten its payload over my optics...

Over the years I can also testify to the night-time surprise factor of hedgehogs, rats, cats, foxes, deer, badgers and low-flying bats.  And in my garden, you have to be careful not to tread on massive slugs, frogs, toads or newts at night.  That can be rather traumatic (more so for them, obviously) - and slippery...

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Forgot to mention big moths and the occasional stag beetle getting attracted to the light of my laptop in my pre-observatory days.  Don’t seem to get the night-time insects so much these days, though.

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When at Uni we had a "chimpanzee's tea party" as an excuse for a camping/walking trip in the Lake District. One of the young lady's that accompanied us was a city girl through and through. Her idea of wilderness at the time was going for a night out south of the river. At the planning stage she asked "are there any wild animals" she was dutifully informed there were lots of sheep, occasionally cows and very rarely goats. Her reply was "do they attack people"🤣

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6 hours ago, MKHACHFE said:

what's it's like being alone in a garden at, say 1am in the middle of nowhere at a dark site in Wales?

I'm convinced this could be the beginning line of a very funny joke...

Anyway, just a little warning - if you see an angry Welsh cheese, treat it caerphilly :smiley:

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They don't have to be wild. In the distant past I was out using an eyepiece when one of my Burmese cats lept onto my back clinging on for dear life.

That was a shock.

Regards Andrew 

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3 minutes ago, Rob Sellent said:

Anyway, just a little warning - if you see an angry Welsh cheese, treat it Caerphilly

 I camembert  the one liners, its driving me crackers🤣

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1 hour ago, happy-kat said:

Bats are amazing as are hedgehogs.

Your body and head let off heat that rises and attracts night fliers like little knatts so the bats are swooping and feeding.

A bat literally flew into my head the once. Was walking along a dark road when I was 16 when I heard this flapping for a split second before it flew into my hair! Never ran as fast since then!

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Loads of Hedgehogs snuffling away near my obs.  I have got used to it and they have got used to me, they know I mean them no harm and are quite happy foraging a few feet away.

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I was imaging in the back garden once and about midnight i heard a terrible screeching coming from the direction of the fence , so i pointed my red torch in that direction and saw 2 Hedgehogs screaming like a banshee at each other at close quarters , then my torch needed batteries so after going in and replacing them on coming back out they had gone , seen them move before and they relly shift. on the two i had seen ,i thought that they were either mating or fighting,

Roger 

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I have a party of Crazy Owls singing away all night, males spinning their heads and showing off their plumage and going Twoo...Twoo...Twoo

The females just saying "Twit"

That and various things being murdered in the fields....

 

 

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