It’s survey time! Bat Group Newsletter Mid May 2019

Hi bat group members,

The busy time of year is coming up, and in this newsletter, we have lots of opportunities to get involved in surveys, an exciting request for help from the National Trust in Exmoor, and the latest edition of the Bat Monitoring Post from the BCT (copied below)


1. Sunrise Sunset Surveys

Anyone can take part in these, and everyone is encouraged to!  Taking part in the Sunset-Sunrise Survey couldn’t be simpler, you don’t need any equipment or experience and you may not even need to leave your back garden!

More info:

2. Roost emergence counts

Many bat group members will be out during June to count the numbers of bats emerging from known roosts for the National Bat Monitoring Program (NBMP).There are lots of opportunities to get involved during June

If you have any questions then please contact Pete Gulliver our NBMP Champion.

3. Bat Survey – Holnicote, Exmoor

Basil Stow the National Trust Area Ranger for the Holnicote estate on Exmoor, has been in touch to ask for bat group members help with an exciting bat survey between June and September.  Full details of how to get involved are here.

June is THE month for emergence counts, and we’ll be back in touch about the Field Surveys during July shortly.

Kind regards,

Pete Gulliver

NBMP Champion, Somerset Bat Group  



Welcome to the April edition of the Bat Monitoring Post!

Spring is well and truly underway and the NBMP Summer Surveys are just around the corner. The Sunset/Sunrise Survey has already begun and will run throughout the summer, while the core surveys kick off with the Roost Count in June. This bulletin is crammed with information on how you can take part, with a couple of extra surprises thrown in. It has also been great to see so much Hibernation Survey data coming in over the last couple of months. If you have any more results to submit, or would like to add new sites to the programme please do let us know!


  • Sunset/Sunrise Survey
  • Preparing for the Roost Count
  • Bat Roost Webcam – Essex Wildlife Trust
  • Available Field Survey and Waterway Survey Sites
  • Bat Detector Workshops
  • Eavesdropping behaviour of bats
  • More dates for your diary

Sunset/Sunrise Survey

The 2019 Sunset/Sunrise Survey is now up and running. This is a great opportunity to get involved with bat surveying and discover wildlife in your local area. You don’t need any previous experience or special skills to take part, just a healthy dose of enthusiasm! Invite your friends or family and spend an hour looking out for bats in your chosen location, whether it be your garden or a local green space.
If you’re interested, download the Sunset/Sunrise Survey form and instructions from our website and send us your results when you’re done. If you’re lucky enough to find a bat roost, you could then go a step further by taking part in the Roost Count in June, helping us learn even more about bats!

Preparing for the Roost Count

Bats will be returning to their maternity roosts soon, which means it’s time to start getting ready for the Roost Count!
As ever the main survey period will be in June (though timings vary slightly for the horseshoe bats) and we will be sending out updated survey packs for this year soon. If you find a new roost, or are aware of a roost which is not currently monitored as part of the NBMP, it would be great to add these to the scheme. This can either be done by pressing the ‘add new roost’ button on your online recording account, or by filling out a blank survey form and sending it to us.
Remember to send in your results online or via post after completing your surveys!

Bat Roost Webcam – Essex Wildlife Trust

Ever wondered what bats get up to inside their roost? Essex Wildlife Trust have recently set up a camera inside a bat box in the roof of the Hanningfield Reservoir visitor centre, which is home to a soprano pipistrelle roost. Last year, 1773 bats were recorded at the site, the largest number of soprano pipistrelles ever recorded as part of the NBMP! If you want to get an insight into the bats’ behaviour and see how they are doing, take a look at the Bat Webcam.

Available Field Survey and Waterway Survey Sites

We have several sites that need repeat visits which are listed here for the Field Survey and here for the Waterway Survey (lists can be found at the bottom of the page). Please contact us at if you would like to survey any of these sites and we can sign you up. You can download the survey materials from your online account or, if you prefer, we can send you a survey pack in the post closer to the survey period.
The Field Survey and Waterway Survey are supported by the generous sponsorship of Wildlife Acoustics.

Bat Detector Workshops

Each year we organise a programme of NBMP introductory bat detector workshops in order to train new volunteers and refresh the skills of existing volunteers. These workshops begin with a classroom session which focuses on identifying bats by their echolocation calls, followed by an evening practical session in the field.
So far nine workshops have been confirmed and details of more dates and venues across the UK will be finalised and made available over the next few weeks. For more information or to book a place click here.

Eavesdropping behaviour of bats

The results from a large-scale field experiment investigating eavesdropping in bats that took place across 12 lakes in Europe in 2016 have recently been published.
Bats are thought to eavesdrop on the echolocation calls (including ‘feeding buzzes’) of other individuals to locate other bats and also to find prey. The researchers wanted to know how bat behaviour changed when eavesdropping and the results showed that while the calls of other bats does affect their behaviour, their response depends on a number of factors such as the species, diet and the number of individuals involved. The study provides new insights into how bats use social information about the species present, prey abundance and potential competition, and has implications for understanding species interactions and distributions.
The study included five species also found in the UK: Daubenton’s bat, Natterer’s bat, Leisler’s bat, common pipistrelle and soprano pipistrelle. You can access the full paper here.

More dates for your diary


  • 11-12 May 2019 – Wales Bat Worker’s Weekend. Venue – Glyndwr University, Wrexham. For more details or to book your place click here or email
  • 21 May 2019 – Lighting Symposium. Venue – Arup’s offices, London. For more details or to click here.
  • 6 September 2019 – Conservation and Technology Conference. Venue – University of Nottingham, Nottinghamshire. For more details or to book your place click here.
  • 6-8 September 2019 – National Bat Conference. Venue – University of Nottingham, Nottinghamshire. For more details or to book your place click here.
  • 9 November 2019 – *SAVE THE DATE* Scottish Bat Worker’s Conference. For more information click here or email

Click here for more event details

Training Courses:

  • Multiple dates – NBMP bat detector workshops. Nationwide. These are designed to train new or inexperienced volunteers to use bat detectors and complete NBMP surveys. Click here for more info.
  • 16 & 17 May 2019 – Surveying for bats – Nettlecombe Court, Somerset. This course will give you the knowledge and skills to plan professional bat surveys, as well as developing practical survey skills and field sign identification. Click here for more info.
  • 21-23 August 2019 – Advanced Bat Survey Techniques. Over three days and two nights, attendees will be given theoretical and practical experiences of acoustic lures, harp traps, mist nets and radio tracking. Click here for more info.

The Bat Monitoring Post Archive

Click here to access past issues of the Bat Monitoring Post and to look at reviews of Bat Detectors from previous editions.