Take part in the Big Bat Count as an individual

As part of our Big Bat Count, starting in 2023, the bat group would like to encourage as many people as possible to upload verifiable flight records of bats to the iNaturalist database. Once verified, these will then be added automatically to the database of the Somerset Environmental Records Centre.

Anyone who has recordings of bats echolocation in Somerset can take part, and even if you don’t have your own recordings you can still help the Somerset Big Bat Count by validating the records posted by others.

What bat recordings to upload to iNaturalist?

We want to get as many verified (“research grade”) bat flight recordings in iNaturalist as possible. However, as we are only trying to establish the presence of each bat species, there is no point in having many duplicate records for the same location and time.

Hence on this page, we offer some guidance as to what, and how often to upload.

How to easily upload a bat recording to iNaturalist

The iNaturalist app and website allow anyone to add biological records to a vast database, however, it is not easy to manually upload verifiable bat flight records.

Dr Tom August from the Biological Record Centre has created a website called Bat2iNat to solve this problem and made it easy to batch upload bat recordings made with an Echo Meter Touch (EMT) to iNaturalist.

Click here for instructions on how to easily upload verifiable bat flight records to iNaturalist using Bat2iNat

Help out the Big Bat Count by validating bat records

We are hoping to build up a strong network of members, a community of people in Somerset who enjoy looking at and identifying bat records.

iNaturalist allows for the verification of others’ records based on the evidence uploaded. Hence if you have experience with bat call sound analysis, you can review and validate bat records uploaded by others.

You can also look at all the bat records in Somerset that have already been verified as “research grade”, to see if you agree.

Records have to have 2/3rds of the suggested IDs to match, for the record to become “Research Grade”, and hence be usable by SERC. Hence if you do disagree, your alternate suggestion carries double the weight of supporting suggestions.

iNaturalist bat flight records from group Big Big Bat Counts

The bat flight records uploaded on the night of a group Big Bat Count are classed as “casual” records as they have no evidence that allows them to be verified.

However, the files recorded on the night are put through sound analysis software after the count night, and a proportion of good recordings are then uploaded to iNaturalist with the spectrogram screenshots and sound file to allow them to be verified.

This does mean during Group Big Bat Counts we are creating some records that will be duplicated. However, this is not seen as a problem, as most people using the default settings of iNaturalist will not see the original “casual” records. Hence the bat group has created specific iNaturalist projects to allow anyone to view Casual bat records: