In 2012 BSG Ecology completed a pilot bat migration study at Dungeness, Kent. A bat detector was deployed at the Dungeness Bird Observatory to establish whether seasonal patterns of bat activity potentially indicative of migration were apparent. The results were interesting, with increased activity noted in Nathusius’ pipistrelle in spring and autumn. This species is known to be migrating within continental Europe at these times of year.
In 2013 the study was extended to three sites in Kent. Detectors were deployed at Dungeness Bird Observatory, at Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory, and on National Trust land at Dover between mid-April and mid-November. All of these sites are in coastal locations, and lie between 34km and 44km of the French coast . The results were again very interesting, with all three sites recording increased activity in Nathusius’ pipistrelle in spring and autumn. While neither the 2012 nor the 2013 work provides incontrovertible evidence of migration, the seasonal increases in encounter rates do suggest it may occur.
As part of the 2013 work, BSG Ecology co-ordinated the collection of Nathusius’ pipistrelle fur samples by licensed bat workers already involved in monitoring the species in the UK. These have been sent to the Liebniz Institute for Zoo & Wildlife Research, Berlin, for stable isotope analysis. This may help establish whether some bats are of continental origin. When the results of the stable isotope analysis are received, the report (below) will be updated. We will also summarise the results of pilot bat migration studies at Spurn Point (East Yorkshire), Portland (Dorset) and Severnside in this final report, which is expected to be available from March 2014.
We would like to thank David Walker of Dungeness Bird Observatory, Ian Hodgson from Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory and Robert Sonnen from the National Trust at The White Cliffs for servicing the AnaBat detectors and sending through the data. Members of Kent Bat Group have been a great help in shaping the project, and thanks are also extended to all of the bat workers who amended their licenses to enable them to take fur samples.
A full account of our work in Kent to date can be found below:
For further information please contact Laura Grant. Oxford: 01865 883833