Looking for bats

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

I went to Surrey last night as part of a team from The Ecology Consultancy that had been commissioned to carry out  protected species surveys to determine if bats are likely to be roosting or not, and to assess the value of the site for bats in terms of foraging and commuting habitat. We arrived on site, , in plenty of time for sunset –  bat surveys should start around 15 minutes before – , and got in position to detect any bats emerging from the house. Each of us had a bat detector and a hand-held MP3 recorder to assist with the observation of bats and to record their calls for later analysis and species identification. I was stationed behind the house away from lighting, with a long section of barn roof to watch. I waited, with eyes peeled, to see if anything emerged. Initially I had a pipistrelle fly high up overhead and then make a couple of passes along the side of the building looking for food.  After that very little was detected or observed until just before the survey ended when a brown long eared bat flew overhead.

 Talking to the others afterwards I was quite unlucky, Catherine spotted several pipistrelle bats emerging from their roost in the roof and then saw noctule bats coming in to forage from the nearby woodland and then finally brown long eared bats were noted circling the roof of the house. So a successful bat survey that identified bat roosts and a number of UK Biodiversity Action Plan species. The developer will be able to plan their work accordingly and ensure they comply fully with wildlife regulations and the bats will remain safe.

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