Group On The Lookout For Rare Long-Eared Bat

The Isles of Scilly Bat Group is asking members of the public to record sightings of bats.

And they’re keen to know if anyone has spotted a brown long-eared bat this year.

Mike Gurr of the Bat Group says brown long-eared bats, which are quite rare, were spotted on the lane to Old Town Church on St Mary’s last year.

He says they’re particularly difficult to detect because their call doesn’t show up on the usual bat detector equipment, so they need to be spotted and identified by eye.

The group has purchased a pair of special, infrared binoculars to help them with this.

He says the bats are very distinct with ears almost as long as their bodies.

The group are also undertaking research this year into the roosting pattern of different types of pipistrelle bats on the islands.

Mike says the two forms of this bat, which are very closely related, have calls that can be monitored on their equipment, but at slightly different frequencies.

The high frequency bats are called ‘sopranos’ because of the higher pitch of their call.

But Mike says the majority of the sopranos seem to be roosting on St Agnes, and nobody seems to know why, even the experts on the mainland that he’s written to.

So the group will be doing a full survey this year to gather more data about these different species.

Mike is asking anyone who spots a bat on the islands to make an accurate record, which he says will help the group to build a map of where the bats are roosting and when.

Forms can be obtained from the Bat Group or from the Wildlife Trust office.

If you’d like to see the bat detectors in action, the Bat Group walks will be taking place every month. The next one is on May 15th.