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Bailiwick Bat Survey launched

By April 18, 2021Blog

The launch of the Bailiwick Bat Survey aims to improve our understanding of local bat distribution and activity. In doing so it provides an opportunity for anyone in the Bailiwick to take part in this important project

 
The Bailiwick Bat Survey is a citizen science project which offers anyone in the Bailiwick of Guernsey the opportunity to borrow automated equipment to record our local bats using methods devised by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). The BTO have run similar surveys successfully in the UK and this project aims to collect data to improve our understanding of the status and distribution of different bat species across the islands.

This exciting initiative has been commissioned by Agriculture, Countryside and Land Management Services as part of the implementation of the Strategy for Nature. The BTO is providing the technical know how and La Société aims to work with and inspire a large section of the wider community to connect and engage with an aspect of nature that is poorly known and understood. Using citizen science in this way, we will help raise awareness of what bats do for us and why it is important to conserve them.

Alderney Wildlife Trust, Sark School, Guernsey Museum at Candie, Guille-Allès Library, and the Guernsey Biological Records Centre (GBRC) have all volunteered to be ‘Bat Centres’. Each bat centre holds the detectors and associated equipment. Volunteers can borrow a bat detector kit with all the instructions and equipment required to take part in the survey.

Volunteers are asked to pick a square (measuring 500 x 500 metres) from an online map, and to place a static bat detector in typical habitat in their chosen square (measuring 500 x 500 metres) from an online map, and to place a static bat detector in typical habitat in their chosen square for a four-night period twice per year, once between now and mid-July, and then again to record at the same location between mid-July and the end of the October. The bat detector automatically records bat calls to a memory card every time a bat passes throughout a night. After four nights’ recording, volunteers are then able to upload their recordings to our website, return the detector kit, and our automated sound analysis will identify each sound recording to species and send you the results within hours! As a bonus, the analysis will also identify sounds made by bush crickets and small mammals. The survey season runs from early April until the end of October, so there is plenty of time to take part. Anyone can get involved – you do not need to be a bat expert! 

Speaking about the project, Donna Francis, President of La Société, commented “La Société is delighted to be co-ordinating this project which will provide vital data, enabling informed decisions to be made around the protection of our bat populations.  Being a top predator of nocturnal insects; the data will also provide an indication of habitat biodiversity.”

The success of this project is dependent on volunteer participation. If you are interested in taking part, please head to www.biologicalrecordscentre.gov.gg/our-projects/bbs to find out more, and to reserve a 500-m square (or more) to survey. If you have any queries about the Bailiwick Bat Survey project or equipment, please email the co-ordinator at batsurvey@biologicalrecordscentre.gov.gg.