Baker Consultants

The Diary of an Ecology Apprentice: A Month of Bat Surveys

June was filled with bats, bats, bats and a week in not so sunny Yorkshire for our Ecology Apprentice, Matthew Keough. Read his latest diary entry to find out more about his eighth month at Baker Consultants:

Every week in June I did at least one bat survey that required an overnight stay, the surveys can be emergences or transects. Emergence surveys are carried out when a potential roost feature has been identified in previous surveys. The surveyor sits and watches the feature thirty minutes prior to sundown and then for a further one and a half to two hours after sundown to see if any bats emerge from the feature. A transect (otherwise known as an activity transect) is when a surveyor creates a route following buildings, hedgerows or tree lines and walks along it to see where most bat activity is happening on site. I much prefer activity transects as you usually see more bats, and you also get your steps in!

One of the highlights this month was another bat surveying trip with my colleagues, Courtenay Holden and Rae Smith, to Elvaston Castle, where Baker Consultants has been working for many years on different parts of the site. A couple of weeks earlier, whilst carrying out an emergence survey on the old building, Courtenay and Rae had discovered 27 bats had left a gap above a window. So, we traversed the old building’s interior; it was like a maze with lots of hidden doors and was closed to the public for renovations, so it felt very exclusive, which added to the excitement. We found lots of droppings but, no bats. The bats must be using it as a day roost rather than a maternity roost.

To finish off the month of June, I went to sunny Yorkshire (which was not particularly sunny on any of the days I was there). I stayed in Thirsk, between the Yorkshire Dales and Yorkshire Moors. It was a great base for visiting all of the beautiful surrounding areas. First, I went to Harrogate and ate amazing food at a French-Algerian bistro. Then Whitby, a beautiful sea-side town with the remains of an Abbey atop a hill that overlooks the bustling town streets below. Overlooking the remains is the Whitby Brewery, and I found it fitting to have a pint of their Abbey Blonde. The next stop was York; I had never been to York before, and after getting off the park and ride bus the first impressions were fantastic. There were tons of old buildings and beautiful masonry with streets laced with quirky shops, cafes and pubs.

Looking ahead, the ecoacoustics work is starting to pick up as lots of my colleagues have gone to events to talk to landowners about our research. It is looking good for an Autumn of acoustic soil sampling. I am going to be very busy, very soon!

The Baker Consultants team is highly experienced and we are passionate about what we do. If you need advice related to ecology, surveys or conservation, then please get in touch with us via our contact form on the website, or you can call us on +44 (0)1629 593958 or email us on