24th July 2020

The Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) is appealing for volunteers to help fill in missing knowledge on Scotland’s elusive bats.

This weekend is the official Sunset Sunrise Survey Weekend, when scientists will be relying on the eyes and ears of volunteers to venture out into the twilight zone and help look or listen for bats wherever they live. The Sunset Sunrise Survey is part of BCT’s long-running National Bat Monitoring Programme.

There is still a lot to discover about Scotland’s nine resident bat species, and how they are faring across the country, and to protect them we need to know more about these cryptic nocturnal flying mammals - where the populations are and how they are changing.

Whether you live in a well-lit city or in the more remote areas of the Highlands and Islands, your help will improve knowledge of where bats are thriving, surviving or disappearing.

Anyone can take part in this simple survey, from a window, balcony or garden. It takes one hour at dusk or before dawn to record sightings of bats and other nocturnal wildlife and two minutes to send in your results. All you need is a survey form, pen, torch and watch. If you have a bat detector you can also record their echolocation calls and include the species details when you submit records.

You might even discover a previously unknown roost or solve the outstanding mystery about whether a 10th bat species - the Brandt’s bat - really is living in Scotland, or not.

The survey form can be viewed and downloaded from the Bat Conservation Trust’s website HERE

With an easy method of online results submission, it couldn’t be easier to take part!

Get busy this weekend helping us solve some of Scotland’s bat mysteries

If you can’t manage to help this weekend, you can still take part until September. Volunteers will be joining hundreds of others across the UK who are discovering the fascinating but often unseen nocturnal wildlife around their homes. The images show the results from volunteers’ efforts taking part in the Sunset Sunrise Survey so far this year.

One of our volunteers in Scotland described the experience of taking part: “It was lovely. Sat at door of back garden with a hot water bottle, a blanket and a cup of Rooibos tea. Peaceful. A lovely way to meditate. Also saw evening stars and the waxing moon and Venus as really clear night. Might make a habit of this! Saw lots of bats!"

The Scottish Bat Officer, Liz Ferrell says: “You can be a complete novice to bat surveying and take part as all you need is yourself and access to our survey form, though if you have a bat detector then do use it. It’s important to remember that an absence of any bats during the survey is just as important to record as the presence of bats as this will help to build a picture of how much bat activity there is in a variety of landscapes and habitats in Scotland. Virtually everyone who takes part has the joy of seeing bats and/or other nocturnal wildlife.”

Get busy this weekend helping us solve some of Scotland’s bat mysteries

There are nine confirmed species of bat in Scotland and possibly a tenth species though data are very limited. All of our bat species can be found in the southwest of Scotland with only our hardiest bat, the common pipistrelle, able to survive on the windswept Isles of Orkney. Check out the Bat Conservation Trust’s website for more information on the bats found in Scotland. FIND OUT MORE HERE

Higher resolution graphics and bat photos can be supplied on request, for more information please contact Liz Ferrell, Scottish Bat Officer for the Bat Conservation Trust on eferrell@bats.org.uk