Bat surveys are required when buildings or trees are assessed as having roosting potential and are used to give the highest possible accuracy in determining if a bat roost is present and identifying the roost type to assist in forming appropriate mitigation.
Bats are protected by law and working with them can be a costly business for clients, for which reason a high level of skill and competency is required by all surveyors in correctly identifying that a bat has emerged and what species it is. In rare cases, a situation may be taken to public enquiry, in which case data and recordings made by surveyors may be used as evidence – this means that ecological survey work must be of the highest quality at all times.
Tip for New Surveyors
If you are not already a member you may find it useful to join your local bat group. The UK bat workers and British Ecologists facebook groups also have useful information. In addition, we would advise reading through relevant material such as the Bat Workers Manual and Bat Surveys for Professional Ecologists: Good Practice Guidelines, particularly chapters 5-7. In addition, you should familiarise yourself with a range of different bat calls on the bat sound library, especially pipistrelle, Myotis, noctule and horseshoe calls. You may find the batlib app helpful with this.
Equipment to bring during surveys:
It is essential to bring the following:
• Suitable footwear and warm clothing for the outdoor surveying. Waterproof clothing is nlikely to be needed;
• Sturdy walking boots;
• Head torch or other small torch;
• Accurate watch/phone to record time during survey;
• Mobile phone if you have one (please ensure it is fully charged);
• Pencil for recording notes; and
• You may also wish to bring the following items:
• Camping or similar if you wish to sit during the surveys; and
• Thermos Flask/drinks to take refreshments.a
Things normally provided by the company that you are working form will include:
• Survey form; and
• Bat detector.
The best way to learn is to get experience of shadowing more experienced surveyors or undertaking surveys yourself. We have produced some training videos which you may also find useful.
You may also find the guide that we have written on Architectural Terms for Bat Surveyors helpful.