The secret life of bats at the White Cliffs
This section of the page features an image gallery, so if you're using a screen reader you may wish to jump to the main content.
We've been working with BSG Ecology and the Kent Bat Group to find out if bats are migrating from Europe to Britain across the Strait of Dover. There is some limited evidence that bats migrate across the channel from recording points on ferries, and European bats are occasionally found grounded around the southern coast.
In 2012, BSG used a bat detector to remotely survey bat activity near Dungeness. This provided some circumstantial evidence of bat migration across the channel, particularly for Nathusius pipistrelle. During 2013, our site is one of three locations around the Kent Coast from which bat activity has been monitored.
Science and speculation
Another element of the project involves working with local bat groups to take fur samples from grounded bats, those found at roost sites and those captured in flight. The fur samples will be sent for analysis to find out origins of bats. There are many sites in and around Dover where this will be carried out, and trapping may also be carried out within the site later in the year.
The final report
We now have the report from BSG Ecology and it shows that eight different species of bat were recorded as part of the survey. Although it does not provide conclusive proof of migration, it does show a healthy population of bats around the White Cliffs site and may indicate the some of these species are moving between Britain and mainland Europe.
Take a look at the full report