Monday 13 February 2023
Thirteen different bat species have been confirmed across Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and Herm as the Bailiwick Bat Survey reaches its midway point.
In 2022 alone, over 150 volunteers spent a total of 2,416 nights across 622 locations to provide an incredible 3.4 million acoustic recordings, giving a glimpse into the mysterious world of the Bailiwick's only flying mammal.
The survey has also acted as a springboard for other research and activities on island. A member of the survey team undertook their Masters thesis on the data set from year one of the survey to understand local habitat preferentiality in bats. La Société received grant funding from the Strategy for Nature fund to deliver a Bat Upskilling course to increase the number, and skills, of bat workers on the Island to improve monitoring. The survey team have also partnered with La Société's bat section to identify and monitor winter roost sites, with new sites identified for the greater horseshoe bat, Brandt's/whiskered bat and a large new roost or winter swarming site for natterer's bat.
This citizen science research commenced in 2021 and is a four-year partnership project between the British Trust for Ornithology and Agriculture, Countryside and Land Management Services. The 2023 survey will run from April to October. Information on how to get involved will be released next month.
Bats are an important but poorly understood component of the Bailiwick of Guernsey's wildlife, despite making up more than half of the terrestrial mammal species. Guernsey's Strategy for Nature highlights the importance of establishing baselines for key biodiversity groups to provide government, other policy makers and practitioners with the information required for good decision making. Learning more about the numbers and species of bats locally contributes to this, as they are key species for indicating the condition of the islands' environment.
Emily Coule, Natural Environment Officer, said:
"It's been wonderful to see people so enthused about bats and getting involved in important scientific research. The team are very grateful to everyone who has volunteered their time to be part of this survey. We hope to see our volunteers again when the 2023 survey starts in April!"
Phil Atkinson, British Trust for Ornithology, said:
"Despite being our second year, the uptake and interest by volunteers in the survey has been incredible. This year we are repeating the survey and are also surveying some of the rarer habitat types such as woodland and wetlands. We would be delighted to hear from any volunteers who would be willing to be a 'roving' recorder who would be willing to try and survey some of the more out of the way places."
The Bailiwick Bat Survey: 2022 Report can be read at bats.org.gg
Photo credit: John Black