Waterway Survey

Bat monitoring activities are currently restricted in order to comply with government guidance on controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information see our statement on COVID-19 and NBMP surveys.

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Waterway Survey

The Waterway Survey is sponsored by Wildlife Acoustics.
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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.

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.

Steps you need to take for the Waterway Survey

Receive your survey pack in July

The pack includes survey forms and instructions to carry out this survey. The pack will be sent by email or by post depending on your preference. Please read these important health and safety documents below before you start your survey.

Download the safety guidelines for this survey; Download the Waterway Survey risk assessment template.

Download BCT's safeguarding policy statement.

*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. Mapping instructions will be included in the resource pack. If you need help with any aspect of taking part in this survey, contact us at nbmp@bats.org.uk

Visit your site during the day in July/early August

Waterway Survey




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.

Seek landowner permission if needed. You can find advice on potential sources of information on landowner details on the Landowner Form included in the resource pack.

Visit your site on two evenings to carry out surveys in August

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

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!

Submit your counts

Waterway Survey


Once you have completed your surveys, submit your counts online or post your completed survey form to Freepost BAT CONSERVATION.


Your online recording pages enable you to view and download all data you have submitted. Read here how we share data via the NBN Atlas.

Next: Field Survey