The best time of year is summer when bats are most active. Choose a place that is safe to walk at night, make sure to wrap up warm, wear sturdy footwear and carry a torch with spare batteries and a bat detector with spare batteries if you have access to one. Among the best locations to watch bats are at known roosts when bats are emerging.
- Arrive at dusk – most Irish species emerge between sunset and 1 hour and 30 minutes afterwards.
- Get comfortable (a stool can help) and try to get your line of vision against the sky so you can see the bats silhouetted against the falling light levels.
- Never shine a torch on their entrance/exit point because this will delay emergence or prevent emergence entirely.
- It can help alot if you can listen in on the sounds bats are making. For this you will need a bat detector. For more details see the Bat Detectors page.
Check our map of Bat Hotspots if you would like some ideas for where to go looking at bats. Good places to go watch bats could be local areas of freshwater and trees – such as rivers or canals. In this kind of location you can shine a torch beam across the surface of still water and you may see a Daubenton’s bat fly quickly across catching insects on the surface of the water. A bat flitting around a hedgerow could be a common pipistrelle.
You can watch bats along a stretch of waterway in your locality and help contribute to a nationwide count of Daubenton’s bats. To find out more about the Waterways Survey and how to volunteer see the Monitoring pages on this website.