Between April 2015 and June 2017 The Heritage Lottery Fund funded the East Cleveland Batscape (the forerunner of the Cleveland Bat Group).
The project recorded ten different species of bat in the East Cleveland area. The majority of detections were of the common pipistrelle, but a significant number of records were made of the Nathusius’ pipistrelle, a species which has been only rarely recorded in Great Britain and Ireland.
Three new species to the East Cleveland area were recorded by volunteers including soprano pipistrelles and Leisler’s bats. A single detection of a serotine bat in East Cleveland became the most northerly record known within the UK.
The project recorded ten different species of bat in the East Cleveland area. There are just 17 species of bat resident in the UK. A summary of the project’s findings in terms of these bat species, is given below.
Eighty-five percent of detections were of common pipistrelle. This is slightly lower than the national average (around ninety percent). Many of the common pipistrelle calls that we detected had a very high start frequency.
Only two Nathusius’ pipistrelle bat passes had previously been recorded in the East Cleveland area. Seventeen were recorded during the East Cleveland Batscape project.
Four percent of all detections were of noctule bats. This is normal for most places in the UK.
Brown long-eared bats are understood to be misrepresented within bat data for varying reasons, so it was expected to not receive a high number of detections. Only twenty-one recordings were made. A further survey undertaken as part of the new Cleveland Bat group has uncovered a spot with brown long-eared calls during peak mating time, so this is a site we are interested in continuing surveys. Some of the detections as part of the East Cleveland Batscape data are rather unusual and had to be verified by more than one bat expert.
Myotis species (Daubenton’s, Natterer’s, Brandt’s and whiskered bat)
Nine percent of all bat detections recorded were of myotis species (965). This genus is very difficult to identify between species and so most detections are simply recorded as myotis species.
Low numbers of the Daubenton’s (33), Natterer’s (11) and Brandt’s bats (2) were identified. The whiskered bat was not identified but this is not a surprise. This highlights the difficulty in identifying to species level, even when using bat detectors considered to be capable of collecting acoustic data at the highest quality. Only if a very loud and distinctive call is produced by the bat and then received well by the ultrasonic microscope of the bat detector, can a myotis bat be determined to species level.
Three new species to the East Cleveland area were recorded by volunteers undertaking surveys as part of the East Cleveland Batscape:
Of the ten thousand plus bat pass detections analysed and checked, thirty-three were of soprano pipistrelle. There were no previous recorded detections of soprano pipistrelles in East Cleveland.
Leisler’s bats have been recorded previously to the North, South and West of the Cleveland area, but never actually recorded within Cleveland. Two recorded bat passes on the edge of Skelton beck woods were therefore interesting, but not totally unexpected.
The single serotine bat record is the most northerly record known within the UK. There are few records in the north of England and this bat is considered a rarity. This was a very exciting find.