I recently attended an Advanced bat survey techniques course at Stourhead National Trust Estate hosted by Greena Ecological Consultancy. Stourhead is at the heart of a 1,072-hectare (2,650-acre) estate where chalk downs, ancient woods and farmland are managed for nature conservation.

Stewart, UES Assistant Ecologist, attended the course in 2011 and got the opportunity to handle 11 species of bat, including Bechstein’s bat (Myotis bechsteinii), Barbastelle (Barbastella barbastellus), Greater horseshoe (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum) and Lesser horseshoe (Rhinolophus hipposideros).

The course covered advanced bat survey techniques and sound analysis, data analysis and data gathering techniques using remote monitoring devices, such as data loggers, to establish seasonal trends. Over the 5 day course I carried out trapping using mist nets and harp traps, and handled Common pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus), Soprano pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pygmaeus), Daubenton’s bat (Myotis daubentonii), Whiskered bat (Myotis mystacinus) and Brown long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus). Lesser horseshoe, Noctule (Nyctalus noctula) and Serotine (Eptesicus serotinus) were also recorded onsite. I also helped to prepare bats for radio tracking and then followed up with radio tracking surveys.