Waterway Survey

Due to the current restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, please do not carry out this survey until you receive further notice from us. Do not travel from home to undertake any survey activities, including preliminary site visits, e.g. to carry out your daytime recce or meet up with the landowner. We will keep this under review and update you if government instructions change.
For more information see our statement on COVID-19 and NBMP surveys.

Keen to try out your bat detecting skills?

Why not try out this survey, monitoring activity of Daubenton's bats along a waterway near you? The survey method is straightforward and is ideal to try if you are relatively new to bat detecting, and still great fun if you have more experience! By taking part you can help us monitor how this species is faring across the UK.

You will need a heterodyne (tuneable) bat detector and a torch. We have a limited number of bat detectors which we can lend to volunteers. If you would like to borrow equipment please click here.

Want to sign up to the NBMP? Click here.

Are you already a volunteer and want to login to your online recording area? Click here.

Want to sign up for the Waterway Survey? Login to your online recording area and click 'Volunteer for the Waterway Survey'.

Daubenton's bats have a distinctive flight pattern and it's fascinating to watch them as they skim low over the water, often picking insects off the surface, as seen in the clip below.

A guide to taking part

We have lots of sites that have been surveyed in the past but need taking on by a new volunteer. You can find maps and lists of these at the bottom of this page. If you would like to take one of these on then please let us know. If there is not a repeat site near you then you can still sign up and we will allocate you a few new sites to choose from.

Please contact us at nbmp@bats.org.uk if you need help with any aspect of taking part in this survey.

July - you receive your survey pack

Waterway Survey

The pack includes survey forms, full instructions and a survey route map if you are surveying a repeat site. This will be sent by email or by post depending on your preference.

You will either have chosen or been allocated one or more waterways to survey. If the survey is at a new location you will need to map out a route.

July/early August - visit your site during the day

Waterway Survey

Seek landowner permission if needed.

Walk the route to check it is safe and accessible. If needed, modify the route to avoid potential hazards when walking at night, or contact us for a different site.

August - visit your site on two evenings to carry out surveys

Waterway Survey

Kevin Durose

The first survey should be between 1st and 15th August and the second survey between 16th and 30th August.

The survey begins 40 minutes after sunset and usually takes about one hour.

You should not survey alone, so you will need one or more survey buddies. Bring friends or family along for safety and to share the excitement of watching bats!

Count the number of Daubenton's bat passes for four minutes at ten stopping points along the waterway.

Send us your results

Waterway Survey

Once you have completed your surveys, please input your data online or post the completed form back to us.

Survey sites up for grabs!

Click on the links below to see details of repeat sites that need taking on by new volunteers in each region/country. If there is not a repeat site near you then you can still sign up and we will allocate you a few new sites near you to choose from.

East Of England

East Midlands

North East

North West

South East

South West

West Midlands

Yorkshire and The Humber



This survey is sponsored by:

Waterway Survey
Next: Field Survey