Scilly’s Bat Group Want More Help With Their Research

The Isles of Scilly Bat Group has an ambitious list of projects for next year but needs more members to be able to achieve their goals.

That was the message from yesterday’s AGM, held in the Methodist Hall on St Mary’s, where group secretary, Mike Gurr, described a bumper year for bat numbers on the islands.

Mike said it was a shame that poor weather during the summer had lead to the cancellation of several bat walks, including the one planned for Walk Scilly week, but the conditions did not seem to be affecting numbers spotted, with around 80 of the nocturnal mammals being detected in the Maypole area during the peak season. He said that was as good as they’d ever seen.

The bats migrate frequently to different roosts, but plans to monitor where they move to, particularly testing a theory that they go to Longstone, wasn’t possible because of a lack of volunteers.

And research into an unusual colony of ‘soprano’ pipistrelle bats on Bryher, and the large bat population on Tresco had also been hampered by too few members.

Mike told us the group was keen for more people to get involved with their work, particularly on the off-islands. They’d also like anyone seeing bats feeding on the beaches around Scilly to get in touch as this is another behaviour they’re monitoring.

The Bat Group started charging people attending their walks for the first time this year. The £5 per adult donation has helped replenish their funds and has made it possible to buy new equipment.

That and two grants totalling almost £2,000 from the AONB and the Bat Conservation Trust, has been used to purchase new bat detectors, bat boxes and a night vision scope, that allows rare brown long-eared bats, that don’t make a detectable sound, to be seen.

The group are also likely to feature in an ITV programme in February. Well-known naturalist Ray Mears visited the islands over the summer and spent an evening in the Rosehill area, filming with the group.

Mike said the bats put on an unusually good display that night, but unfortunately won’t be seen in the programme. The film crew forgot to bring their night vision cameras.

Anyone interested in joining the Bat Group should visit their website where contact details and dates of their walks can be viewed.