I don’t do many professional bat surveys, as a rule, as I don’t have a bat licence and don’t feel comfortable leading survey work without one, despite the fact that I’ve been surveying bats for over 10 years. The world of planning applications has changed and local authority ecologists are getting pickier, sometimes turning their noses up at surveys from unlicensed ecologists. This has to be a good thing, really, as the expectation that ecologists will be suitably qualified can only lead to higher standards in our profession. Anyway, on to today’s post.I was asked by a colleague to join a team doing bat surveys of two primary school buildings in Liverpool which were scheduled for demolition, as their staff were overstretched and in need of experienced help. I roped in a couple of friends, one already bat licensed and the other nearly so, and off we went to a random budget hotel in Liverpool to meet the rest of the survey team.
The first night was just a bit cool and windy and the results depressingly predictable – no bats. I have surveyed buildings in urban Liverpool a few times now and this is the most common result. I have spent many nights standing outside a random building in the dark holding a gadget emitting funny noises whilst wearing my entire wardrobe. When there are bats, this is super exciting and fun. When there are no bats, I’m standing outside in the dark getting cold and very very bored.
In severe cases I have resorted to reciting the names of all British bat species, in English and Latin, just to stay awake (!)
Happily, there were a few bats about on the second survey night, although none using the target buildings. Never been so happy to see a pip in me life !!