Twilight Owl and Wildlife Prowl offers nature lovers night out

Halloween isn't the only time creatures are out and about ...

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LENOX — Night owls, meet night owls.

Adults and children can listen and look for nocturnal wildlife, including those wide-eyed birds of the night, at Mass Audubon Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary's Twilight Owl and Wildlife Prowl this Friday (Nov. 1) evening. While many locals will be wearing ghastly garb this Hallo-weekend, those walking Pleasant Valley's trails in Lenox will be reminded that interesting creatures are always crawling, flying and swimming once darkness falls upon the Berkshires. Being in their company doesn't have to be spooky.

"A big part of the objective of these programs is to, one, be comfortable going out in the evenings," said Dale Abrams of Mass Audubon's Berkshire sanctuaries.

The reason, he added, is that the majority of mammals are most active at night; if you're only searching for animals during the daytime, you're missing out. Coyotes, foxes and even flying squirrels are possible companions during Berkshire sanctuary nighttime prowls, events that are typically held a few times per season. (Abrams said that, after Friday's gathering, the next one will likely be in February.)

Friday's event starts at 6 p.m. and is slated to last until 7:30 p.m. Zachary Adams will lead the group, offering information about wildlife that may be along the trails. The hike is about one mile and takes visitors through an area with fields, forest and wetland. As twilight becomes total darkness, visitors shouldn't get their hopes up about seeing many furry friends, though.

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"We don't see a lot," Abrams said. "We mostly hear."

Owls hooting, coyotes yelping, beavers flapping their tails — the landscape's symphony is at full blast as the light diminishes. Some might assume that flashlights could illuminate these creatures, but flashlights are futile in these situations, according to Adams and Abrams, because their brightness shrinks their carriers' pupils. Allowing eyes to naturally adjust to increasing levels of darkness actually improves vision.

Warm tea and cocoa will close out the night. The prowl is part of programming at the sanctuary that includes upcoming morning "Waterfowl on Berkshire Lakes and Ponds" trips set for Saturday, Nov. 2, and Sunday, Nov. 17. Friday's event is capped in the 15-to-20 range; as of this writing, only a few spots were remaining for a deliberately diminutive group.

"The experience is best," Abrams said, "when the group is small."

Benjamin Cassidy can be reached at bcassidy@berkshireeagle.com, at @bybencassidy on Twitter and 413-496-6251.


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