Carrying out a survey

Before the survey

  1. Select your survey date. Carry out your survey between 1st and 31st July.
  2. Check the weather forecast. Avoid surveying in strong wind, heavy rain or if the temperature at sunset is below 10 degrees.
  3. Check your equipment. You will need:
  • AudioMoth
  • Blank SanDisk Extreme 32GB micro SD card and plastic adapter
  • Three AA batteries (see step 1 below for guidance on battery power)
  • Weatherproof case
  • A padded envelope or similar, to protect your equipment when transporting it to site.
  • Pole
  • Guy ropes and pegs, or other means of securing the pole (optional). Poles can also be banged into the ground. Bring a dibbler tool in case the ground is hard, so you can create a hole.
  • Tape measure (to measure deployment height of 2m)
  • A way to secure your AudioMoth to the pole (e.g. duct tape or narrow cable ties able to pass through the mounting holes on the weatherproof case -
  • Scissors (to remove Audiomoth from pole after the deployment)
  • Flat head screwdriver or similar (to open weatherproof case after deployment)
  • Cloth (to dry case before opening)
  • Pen
  • Survey instructions
  • Survey point details form (download here), or a copy of the form you previously completed as a reminder of your survey point location
  • Risk assessment form (British Bat Survey: download here, Jersey Bat Survey: you will be provided with a risk assessment by your survey coordinator), or a copy of the form you previously completed.
  • GPS, or smartphone with GPS app installed
  1. If you haven’t already done so, gently insert a blank SD card (print facing down) and batteries, and follow these steps to configure your AudioMoth. Fresh lithium AA batteries will last four nights before they need to be replaced. Fresh alkaline AA batteries will last for three nights. Please do not use rechargeable batteries as they will cause the AudioMoth to fail.
  2. Activate your AudioMoth. Slide the switch to CUSTOM. The green LED will flash every two seconds to indicate that it is sleeping, ready to record. If other LEDs flash, click here to see what this means.
  3. Insert the AudioMoth into the lid of the case first. Press the circuit board of the AudioMoth into the gap in the foam padding, ensuring the microphone on the AudioMoth lines up with the hole in the lid. Place the pack of silica gel alongside the battery case on top of the lid. This will help to keep the case interior dry. Please make sure the silica pack does not cover the microphone or is placed on the circuit board.
  4. Attach the box to the lid. Gently press the box down onto the lid (with AudioMoth). Press the lid down gently to minimise air pressure against the weatherproof mesh.
  5. Place the weatherproof case inside the padded envelope ready to travel to your survey point.

At the survey point

Carrying out a survey
  1. The AudioMoth will start recording at 20:00, so aim to have it deployed before then.
  2. Complete a risk assessment. British Bat Survey: click here to download the risk assessment form; Jersey Bat Survey: you will be provided with a risk assessment by your survey coordinator.
  3. Set up the pole at your survey point. Remember the survey point should not be lit by artificial light and be at least 1.5m away from:
    1. Vegetation or other obstructions that could mask bat calls.
    2. Hard surfaces such as tree trunks or walls, which can cause echos that distort recordings.
    3. Water - the reflections of sound off the water's surface can distort recordings.
  4. Important - attach your AudioMoth to the pole 2m above the ground, vertically oriented, with the microphone uppermost and facing away from vegetation or other obstructions.
  5. If this is the first time you have surveyed this location, fill out the survey point details form. Click here to download the form. Take a GPS reading at your survey point. Please provide a detailed description of the exact location that you deploy your AudioMoth, so you can find it again next time!

After your survey

  1. Collect the AudioMoth. The AudioMoth will finish recording at 6:30am so can be collected any time after that.
  2. Open the box. If the box is damp give it a quick wipe before opening it, to prevent water getting on the AudioMoth. Insert a flat head screwdriver or similar into the slots on the side of the box and twist gently. The lid should pop open. As you remove the lid, take care that the Audiomoth doesn’t fall out.
  3. Remove the AudioMoth from the lid. Hold the circuit board and ease it away from the foam padding. Watch that the SD card doesn’t spring out of its holder.
  4. Slide the switch to USB/OFF to turn the AudioMoth off.
  5. If you will be completing another survey:
    1. Remove the memory card from the AudioMoth. To release the microSD card press down gently onto the card and it will spring out of its holder. Remove the card and place the card into its plastic adapter. Place the memory card and adapter into an envelope and write your survey point name on the back of the envelope. Without your survey point name we will be unable to process you recordings.
    2. If the batteries have sufficient power (see Before the survey for guidance) and are not removed or dislodged then the AudioMoth with remember it’s settings and will not need to be reconfigured. Insert a blank SD card and you’re ready for the next survey.
Next: What do the flashing LEDs mean?