Bats are highly mobile and much mis-understood animals. We survey to record as much information as possible about bats within our region to try to understand where our bats are and how they are using the landscape.
Surveys fall into two main types: static surveys and transects.
All the kits come with simple instructions. You can collect data from your local patch.
Static surveys are when the detector is left out over night in a secure location.
Bat data can also be gathered during walked, cycled or even driven transects. The advantage of transects is that you can choose a route that takes you through different habitats within a single 1km square, or even better go further afield and cover 2-3 1km squares in one go. These surveys will
need to be undertaken using an Anabat Express detector with the transect mode activated (don’t worry, they come with easy to follow instructions!).
Once you have chosen a route that is safe to walk/cycle in the dark, you need to set the detector up and then take it with you, as simple as that! The detector needs to be held with the microphone out so that it can hear the bats, ideally not next to anything that will rustle or squeak! These are fun to do in company, you can take a Magenta bat detector with you too so that you can hear bats while you are out and about. The Anabat Express will record the bat calls which can be analysed later and confirm which bats you detected where.
When to survey
Whatever type of survey you are planning to do, you need to pick nights when the weather is good as bats do not come out if it is too wet, too windy or below about 8°C (sensible animals!). You can find weather forecasts via a mobile phone or by checking up on www.metoffice.gov.uk
Bats are nocturnal animals and do not fly until at least dusk. Noctule can emerge at sunset or up to 20 minutes after, pipistrelle species bats emerge anything from 15-25 minutes after sunset, with myotis species and brown long-eared bats waiting until it is much darker to come out. If you are undertaking a static survey the detector needs to be in place and turned on before sunset. For transects, you can start anytime after sunset, but bear in mind that for the first 30 minutes or so you will only be able to find the bats that emerge earlier on.