Visitors go batty as meteors light up evening of summer fun!
The inaugural St Stephen’s at Night event was a great success with about 40 people enjoying an inspirational evening of bat-watching, stained-glass lantern-making and meteor-spotting from the top of Wigborough Hill.
The event at St Stephen’s Church, Great Wigborough on Thursday 12 August, which coincided with the peak of the Perseids meteor shower, was blessed with fine weather and clear skies.
As dusk fell, participants gathered in the churchyard to hear a fascinating talk about bats, three species of which (pipistrelle, long-eared and serotine) roost in the church roof and tower.
Right on cue, the bats made a spectacular appearance flitting low over the heads of the crowd, causing great excitement and setting the bat detectors clicking furiously.
Our grateful thanks go to Pat Hatch, Chair of Essex Bat Group, for his expert introduction to the subject and for patiently answering a flurry of questions about these incredible flying mammals.
Back inside, stained-glass lanterns were being crafted, including some very fine examples inspired by the church building, bats and other local wildlife. Lit by tiny LED lights they illuminated the shadowy porch to spectacular effect.
Hot chocolate with marshmallows and home-made cakes provided an indulgent and welcome interlude as we waited for true darkness to fall.
Then back outside for a spectacular finale, as fiery streaks across the now ink-black sky (spotted by some, but not others) were met with oohs and ahhs, excited friendly chatter and much laughter. These were the Perseid meteors (tiny dust particles left by the trail of a comet which burn up spectacularly as they enter the earth’s atmosphere). They are called the Perseids because most appear to emanate from the constellation of Perseus.
Our grateful thanks go to Pat Hatch, Chair of Essex Bat Group, for his expert introduction to the subject and for patiently answering a flurry of questions about these incredible flying mammals. Also special thanks to Martin Crowther, our Heritage Officer, and his family for all their support, knowledge and enthusiasm.
A truly memorable evening, which many hope will become a regular event.
See Gallery for photos from evening