Scilly’s Bat Group Wants To Improve Their Data Reporting

Mike Gurr

Mike Gurr

Scilly’s Bat Group wants to improve the way people report sightings of the flying mammals this year.

Chairman Mike Gurr says the group has made “huge progress” recording the activity of bats on the islands since the year 2000 when they were formed. But he adds that they were starting from “a very low base” so bound to make progress.

Notable successes have included the discovery by the group of a brown long-eared bat near Old Town Church, which made national headlines in 2012.

But some of the sightings reported by the public have been difficult to study because they haven’t provided enough information.

So Mike says the group will be focussing on biological recording at their annual meeting this year.

They’re also contacting the islands’ Bird Group, the Wildlife Trust, the Records Centre for Cornwall and Scilly and islands’ wildlife expert Rosemary Parslow to devise a new bat reporting system.

They hope this will improve the data provided by both their own volunteers and members of the public.

Mike says some visiting birdwatchers are interested in bats and report their findings.

Unusual sightings recently have included a noctule bat by the Daymark on St Martin’s.

They’re rare here, but without details of the direction it was flying, the weather conditions and the time of day, Mike says it hard to know whether it was “passing through” from the mainland or roosting somewhere on the islands.

They also haven’t been able to confirm a second sighting of a long-eared bat, made on St Agnes.

Mike hopes they can have the new system in place over the summer.