Sunset Survey

Keen to get involved in bat monitoring?

This survey is ideal for you if you don't have previous bat surveying experience. It is also a perfect opportunity to get together with family/friends and discover bats and other wildlife in your local area. Simply head out at dusk or before dawn, or both! Spend an hour in your garden, watching from your window or balcony, or walking around your local area and look out for bats and other nocturnal wildlife.

  • You can carry out your survey anytime from April to October.
  • You will need: Survey form, pencil/pen, torch, watch.
  • If you are doing your survey in the evening start at sunset. If you are doing your survey at dawn start one hour before sunrise.
  • Spend an hour looking for bats and any other nocturnal animals you can see or hear.

Download the Sunset Survey form. Print out this form to record your sightings during the survey.

Enter your Sunset Survey results here

Download our species ID tips sheet - print this out or download to your smartphone to use on your survey.

Three sights to look out for

1. Bats in flight

Virtually everyone who takes part in this survey sees bats. This common pipistrelle's calls can be heard on a bat detector but you don't need a bat detector in order to take part.

2. Bats emerging from a roost at dusk

If you think a building or tree might have bats roosting then take a look just after sunset to see if you can spot bats emerging.

3. Bats swarming around a roost before dawn

The easiest way to locate a roost is just before dawn when bats swarm before entering the roost. Each year several new roosts are located by volunteers taking part in the Sunset Survey.

Sign up to the National Bat Monitoring Programme and get access to the bat sound library, receive the bi-monthly Bat Monitoring Post e-bulletin and get the latest information on our surveys and results.

If you are interested in improving your skills, we run bat detector workshops so that volunteers can feel more confident taking part in our surveys.

Health and safety guidance for Sunset Survey

Download health and safety guidance for this survey

If leaving your household to carry out the survey you should only go to locations which are:

  • Close to home (short walking distance)
  • Familiar to you and safe to walk after dusk or before dawn, with safe footpaths along the entire route
  • Public open spaces (or if private land then you have permission to be there)

The above health and safety guidance is designed specifically for this type of relatively straightforward survey route. If your local environment is more challenging to walk in the dark then please complete a full risk assessment.

Please read our Covid-19 guidance.

Download BCT's safeguarding policy

Next: Roost Count