Bailiwick Bat Survey

Citizen Science Project

15th April 2021

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.

Sarah Allez, Project Co-ordinator, setting up one of the bat detectors.

Strategy for Nature tie-in

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.

''The use of passive acoustic monitoring to survey bats is not without its challenges. Identification is particularly challenging, not least because bats make a diverse suite of calls and there is a lot of variation between both individuals and species. After working on the sound identification of some of the most cryptic bat species that are present on the Bailiwick, we are really excited at the BTO to use the cutting-edge analytical tools that we have developed, to support the first large-scale survey of bats across all the whole Bailiwick."
Phil Atkinson
British Trust for Ornithology (BTO)
Photograph of a Kuhl's pipistrelle (Pipistrellus kuhlii) taken in Guernsey. Photo courtesy of Daniel Hargreaves
“We are so excited to see this project launched in Guernsey, which will not only help further our understanding of bats in Guernsey, but also offers the community the opportunity to get involved and help us record bats. We are looking forward to using this information to help protect these elusive but critically important species in the years to come.“
Julia Henney
Biodiversity Officer
“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.”
Donna Francis
President, La Société

Bat Centres

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.

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 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!

The survey, covering all the islands, divides the islands up into 500x500m survey squares. Volunteers are asked to pick a square and survey it twice a year.

We need you!

The success of this project is dependent on volunteer participation. If you are interested in taking part, please click on the Get Involved Button 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.

Greater Horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum). Photo courtesy of Daniel Hargreaves