28th March 2023

Sunset Survey: Join us and discover your local wildlife in the twilight zone

Bat scientists are appealing to the public to join in this year’s Bat Conservation Trust Sunset Survey, which launches on April 1st.

With the arrival of warmer spring weather, much of Britain’s secret night life is out and about now, including our bats after their long winter rest.

You can help conservation by adjusting your eyes to the twilight world to find out what’s emerging as dusk falls or when dawn arises where you live.

It’s really simple - the Sunset Survey needs no skills or kit and you can do it with your friends or family from your window, balcony, garden or local green space. Each year people happily discover the unexpected, recording not just bats but also all sorts of other surprising nocturnal wildlife visitors, including tawny owls and other birds, foxes, deer, badgers, rabbits, amphibians, fish, insects, molluscs and hedgehogs. Twilight time is rush hour and meal time for many hungry animals, so it’s often the best chance to see them out and about.

To take part just keep watch for an hour from sunset or before sunrise and let us know what you see or hear by sending us your records by post or online. Our Sunset Survey form and guide with identification tips can be downloaded or printed here.

The Sunset Survey runs until October and is ideal for you if you don't have previous bat surveying experience and it’s a great way to discover bats.

Sunset Survey: Join us and discover your local wildlife in the twilight zone

These public surveys always reveal interesting secrets and we are very grateful to all the participants for their important wildlife records. Last year’s results were fantastic, including 2,273 bat records, 15 out of the UK’s 18 resident bat species, more than 90 non bat species and involved 353 volunteers. This year we would particularly welcome more records from Scotland and Northern Ireland. Less is known about bat species in those areas. You can see last year’s results here.

Also you can take part as many times as you wish, and the top three Sunset Surveyors will win a pair of Bare Kind bat socks.

People looking to deepen their knowledge and help bats further might like to explore our other bat recording projects, including Nightwatch, which captures the ultrasonic sounds of a hidden world using AudioMoth recorders. We also run a Roost Count Survey, a Field Survey, and a Waterway Survey.

The records from these activities are used by our National Bat Monitoring Programme to better understand British bat populations and apply that knowledge to conserving them.