What is the Waterways Survey?
Bat Conservation Ireland piloted the Daubenton’s Bat Waterway Survey based on the Bat Conservation Trust (UK) methodology in 2005. The survey has been continued annually in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland since 2006. Survey sites correspond to those already monitored for water quality by the Environmental Protection Agency/NIEA. The aim is to assess levels of activity of Daubenton’s bat. Trend information from 2006-2012 indicates that species is currently stable.
Can I help monitor Daubenton’s bat?
Yes! Daubenton’s bats fly close to water and are easy to identify. With a little training, you can identify and count Daubenton’s bats over a waterway near you. Daubenton’s bat is easy to see because it flies typically within 30cm of the water surface, often picking up insects from the water. It usually flies back and forth along a regular flight path. If you are willing to spend a couple of summer evenings walking along a river or canal while participating in important wildlife conservation work then this project is ideal for you!
Do I need experience to be involved?
No! Identifying bats on field surveys with tuneable bat detectors does requires some training. Therefore, Bat Conservation Ireland will provide you with free training prior to the survey. The training will take the form of a short 2-3 hour course on one evening in July (training course times will be listed on the events page). After the course we will supply you with a volunteer pack with information on bats in Ireland, surveying techniques, how to use a bat detector, details of the monitoring methods etc. that you can read at your leisure.
Do I need any equipment?
You will be supplied with maps and recording sheets. Each volunteer uses his/her own torch and bat detector. There will, however, be a number of bat detectors available for volunteers who don’t have one. We recommend that you bring a mobile phone with you on the survey.
What is the survey method?
You will be assigned a 1km stretch of waterway that is within 10km of the your home address. We recommend that you visit this stretch during the day (with the landowner’s permission) to assess the site for safety. On two evenings in August you survey this stretch of waterway (with a survey partner), using a torch and a bat detector. All you need to do is count Daubenton’s bat activity using the bat detector and torchlight at ten points along the 1km stretch. Volunteers will then fill out Survey Results Sheets and return them, along with a map of their 1km transect, to BCIreland for processing. You will receive a report on how your participation contributed to this All Ireland monitoring scheme.
Does it take long?
No! The survey takes on average one to one and half hours, although you will have to visit the site in advance to make sure it is suitable for the survey.
What if my 1km stretch is not suitable?
If you cannot get access, if there is too much vegetation or if the site is unsafe you will be able to select from two other potential 1km stretches of water. We strongly recommend that you check out the stretch of water well in advance of the survey so that you can go to another site if necessary. We are available at all times to give advice on how to gain access and we will provide you with a letter of introduction that you can give to any landowner that details the survey and insurance cover.
How do I volunteer?
Contact us using the form below: