Having had the bat boxes up for a year the council agreed to us having a bat survey carried out to see if any bats had roosted in the boxes. Only licensed bat inspectors are allowed to open up bat boxes and we used Huma Pearce from Mostly Bats to carry out our survey. Whilst she was up the ladder she also inspected the bird boxes. All of this surveying is time-critical as it must be done before birds start to nest in the Spring and before bats hibernate in the Winter. Huma carried out her surveys on the 19th and 25th October 2012.
The results of the first Dog Kennel Hill Open Space bat survey are a fascinating read:
Dog Kennel Hill Wood Bat Survey (.pdf 1MB)
No evidence of roosting bats was found alas, but that doens’t mean they won’t move in at some point in the future. Plenty of evidence of bird nesting and roosting was found. Huma also recommends some changes to the positioning of the bird and bat boxes as well as an evaluation of the site in relation to its suitability for bats.
She suggests that we carry out annual bat walks to monitor numbers of sightings. Judging by the success of our first bat walk, I think this will be a welcome yearly event.