Laura Garnt, a Senior Ecologist at our Oxford office, will be leading a workshop on Bat Migration at the Bat Conservation Trust’s annual National Bat Conference at the University of Warwick this weekend (13-15 September 2013). The workshop will be structured around BSG Ecology’s on-going research that aims to establish whether there is regular migratory movement of bats between the UK and mainland Europe.
A pilot study conducted by BSG Ecology in 2012 provided anecdotal evidence of the migration of Nathusius’ pipistrelle. In isolation the pilot study results were by no means conclusive, and the scope of the 2013 study has been considerably expanded. We are currently collecting data at six sites: three in Kent (Dungeness, Sandwich Bay and The National Trust’s White Cliffs Visitor Centre at Dover); one in Yorkshire (Spurn Point); one in Dorset (Portland Bill); and one on Severnside.
While the combined results to date do indicate seasonal pulses of bat activity (which would be expected with migration) this doesn’t confirm migratory movement. To provide more solid evidence of bat migration we also plan to collect hair samples for stable isotope analysis to identify the probable origin of bats encountered. The collection of hair clippings will be completed under licence, and in conjunction with local bat groups and bat workers.
The wider conference programme for the three days will include talks on topics including legislation, mitigation, threats to bats, monitoring techniques and case studies about specific sites.