Led by Henry Andrews and Louis Pearson

The course was held in rural Somerset over three days. Mornings were spent in the classroom then after lunch there was practical tuition out in woodlands nearby where bats are known to roost.

Course content:

  • The bat year – where each species is likely to be found and in what numbers at different times of the year
  • Legislation
  • Equipment
  • Potential roosting features (PRF’s) in trees – disease and decay, association and damage – which bats are found in what feature throughout the year
  • Roost height – what roost types are found at what height throughout the year
  • How to plan and map a woodland survey
  • Status assessment methods – field signs, remote observation, hand netting, radio tracking
  • Recording PRF’s/roosts in the field
  • Survey effort and timing

The course provides a practical, evidence based approach to surveying trees and woodland for bats. Henry and Louis have vast experience of finding bat roosts in trees, and are highly skilled and knowledgeable.

Over the course of the three days, attendees will learn all the basics (and not so basics!) of how to survey trees for bats. This includes valuable field experience of finding bat roosts in trees with the use of an endoscope.

In this part of the country, with Henry and Louis in the driver’s seat, you are almost guaranteed to find bat roosts on this course. To physically see different species of bat roosting in different PRF’s first hand was invaluable. Over the three days we found two Natterer’s roosts (one in a frost crack and one in a lightning strike), several brown long-eared roosts including a maternity colony in a frost crack and one Barbastelle (to the great excitement of Henry!), also in a frost crack.

Many misconceptions about tree roosts were cleared up. For example, bats will roost at ground level, so don’t discount PRF’s just because they are low down on the stem. Bats will also roost in tubes, and upward facing knot holes, which can seem illogical but the evidence speaks for itself.

I find myself now better equipped to plan and undertake woodland/tree surveys and would recommend this course to anyone working with bats or trees or both.