Seafaring bats – Evidence of Migration?

Seafaring bats – Evidence of Migration?

In 2007 Ahlén et al published an account of bats (both non-migratory and migratory species) foraging over the Baltic Sea at an off-shore wind farm in southern Scandinavia. That study and previous reports of bats being found on platforms in the North Sea (e.g. Russ, 2001, Boshamer & Bekker, 2008) have stimulated discussion about the extent to which bats cross or fly out over the sea on migration or to forage.

In the UK context these discussions have focussed on Nathusius’ pipistrelle Pipistrellus nathusii, largely due to the increasing anecdotal evidence indicating that this species is migrating to and from the UK. In 2010 BSG Ecology placed detectors on the cross channel ferry, the Pride of Bilbao (which sailed from Portsmouth to Northern Spain) to investigate the feasibility of operating detectors on ferries over a period of months. Whilst we recorded a Nathusius’ pipistrelle in the Bay of Biscay the evidence base was not overwhelming and did not confirm clear migration patterns. We are currently researching bat activity on the southern and eastern coasts of Kent and hope to report on this work early in 2014. A Pilot Study of our work in 2012 is provided on our News and Views pages, and it demonstrates that high numbers of Nathusius’ pipistrelle are recorded at the coast with a peak in autumn.

A report published in February 2013 (Jonge Poerink, Lagerveld & Verdaat) on  a survey of bat activity at two Dutch offshore wind farms adds to our understanding and knowledge base of this subject and is reviewed here:

Technical Review_Seafaring Bats

If you would like to discuss this article please contact:

Owain GabbSwansea: 01792 363026

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