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Environment Agency Research at Sherrardswood

My name is Dr Sarah Scott and I work for the Environment Agency.

I am currently working on a project looking at Bat activity along rivers and I’m fortunate to be using the River Mimram at Sherrardswood School as one of my monitoring sites.

My surveying period runs from May to September, an optimal time when bats are highly active.

I leave a bat detector on the river bank for a week each month which records the sounds that bats make when they are echolocating (a special sonar system that allows bats to orientate themselves in the dark). Bat calls are recorded on the detector and analysed to species level at a later date using computer software.

There are 18 species of bat in England, with 11 occurring in Hertfordshire. Several species of bat are dependent on rivers and their associated floodplain habitats as a source of food. For example, the Daubenton’s bat forages almost exclusively over rivers and is specifically adapted to take insects close to the water surface.

All bats, and their roosts, are protected in the UK as population numbers have declined due habitat loss, direct roost destruction and diminishing food supplies. Bats are incredibly useful. They are used as an indicator of environmental health, and in many countries are important pollinators and seed dispersers.

 

For more information on the project, please contact sarah.jane.scott@environment-agency.gov.uk

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