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Polite Request for Bat Data

4 January 2014

We are running a project which we hope will be of benefit to everyone who records bat activity. The aim is to construct a countrywide (Scotland only at present) dataset of bat activity that could then be used to provide context when assessing site specific activity levels.

Currently, there is a vast amount of untapped bat activity data that consultants (including us) are effectively sitting on, much of it never to be used again. If this data could be pooled, it would be possible to provide ranges of activity levels for different species across varying habitat types. Of course other parameters could also, and will be, analysed.

We would like to build as large a dataset as possible with data from static detectors deployed seasonally/monthly at the same point. The data collected by these units (most often used on wind farm sites) provide what we perceive to be a good starting point in helping to determine activity levels for species. As other important parameters are also usually recorded during surveys of this type, it is hoped that as the dataset grows, associations and assumptions can be drawn out and verified.

Whilst we may all have a gut feeling of how the activity of a site relates to the wider area in general, it seems very unsatisfactory to assign bat activity into categories of low, medium or high with little or limited justification. We want everyone to be able to provide context when describing bat activity of a study area; in other words, to be able to relate species specific activity of a site to that commonly found within similar habitat types or geographical areas.

The intended outcome of the analysis is to provide a publically available document that can be used as a reference of analysis. The dataset would be updated year on year and analyses republished as the dataset grows. The provision of any data that can aid this outcome would be extremely welcome. Given the concerns we all have and the difficulties faced in assessment, we feel that a united effort across the industry would be of benefit to all.

If you think you could help in any way, please let us know and we'll send out a recording form and instructions for providing data.

Thank you.

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