Blackdown Hills Big Bat Survey
Volunteers are needed for the Blackdown Hills Big Bat Survey, run jointly by Somerset Environmental Records Centre (SERC) and Somerset Bat Group and supported by the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This annual event will be taking place on July 20 this year.
The Blackdown Hills AONB provides fantastic habitats for wildlife including a variety of species of bats. On the night of the survey volunteers will join a group led by an experienced bat surveyor, providing a great opportunity to learn about the different bat species, their flight patterns and echolocation calls. The walk will take about two hours including several allocated stops to listen for bats.
The elusive Greater Horseshoe bat
Agni Arampoglou, SERC Ecologist working on the project, said:
“Bats are thriving across the Blackdowns owing to the mosaic of habitats which make the hills such a special area for bats. This year we are walking 15 routes aiming to determine bat species presence in new areas too. During last year’s survey we identified Barbastelle, Leisler’s and Lesser Horseshoe. We hope to record the elusive Greater Horseshoe this time round.”
Although older children are welcome on the survey, they need to be accompanied by an adult - this event does involve walking a good distance during the night so it’s not recommended for children under 12 years old.
Places are limited per survey route so booking essential, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 01823 652424 / 01823 664450. Survey routes in particular need of more volunteers include Dunkeswell and Yarcombe
Horseshoe bat picture by Brian Phipps