The Woodpecker Network


A Chichester Natural History Society volunteer project to monitor bats in the Chichester area,

co-ordinated by Ken and Linda Smith. Our bat monitoring project ran through until October 2019 with fantastic results, summarised below. In spring 2020 we had to suspend the loan of the detector due to COVID19 restrictions. 

Now lock-down has eased we are able to resume the programme of monitoring. We are looking for more volunteers to host the bat detector in their garden or other suitable location, for a couple of nights. If you are interested in having the detector in your garden (within a radius of 8 miles from Chichester) please get in touch.

Bat kit 250

You would nornmally collect the kit from us, we live in Chichester/Lavant, (but we can bring it to you by arrangement).

The automatic detector has a microphone sensitive to the range of frequencies of calls made by bats when flying and feeding. The recorder is active all night, every time it is triggered by a bat call it records for 5 seconds. All recordings are stored on a little memory card and we have some clever software to analyse the data and match the calls with the different species of bats. Because the detector is vigilant all night, it gives much more comprehensive results than a hand held device.

The equipment is very simple to operate, all you do is put it out in your garden for 1 or 2 nights. It comprises a microphone sensitive to bat ultrasound, which is mounted on a 12ft plastic pole and connected to the detector box on the ground. As the bats fly over their sounds are recorded and stored on a memory card. The detector station is left out unattended overnight for one or two nights. When you return the equipment Ken will extract the data and transfer it to his computer for analysis by specialist software to reveal which bat species were detected in your garden.

More details in the Bat monitor set up instructions

We plan to place the bat detector overnight at as many suitable locations as possible in Chichester and surrounding area (within an approx 10 km radius of Chichester). This will give an insight into the species present in the area and their distribution.

Bat map oct 2018Update - October 2018. The bat recording project has been running since April 2018 and has achieved amazing results. 
So far, the bat detector has been placed in 51 different locations in Chichester and the surrounding area (within an approximate eight-mile radius of the city) mostly in ChiNats members’ gardens from Nutbourne to Chilgrove to Slindon to Selsey as shown on the map.

It has successfully recorded for a total of 135 nights collecting over 68,000 bat records involving at least 12 different bat species. Records of the less common species will need to be reviewed by a bat expert, but we are confident that bats are found everywhere.
• Both Common and Soprano Pipistrelles have been recorded at all the gardens, some in very large numbers which were probably close to a roost.
Of the other bat species:
• Brown Long-eared, Serotine, Natterer’s and Noctule bats were detected in over 70% of gardens.
• Daubenton’s bats, which prefer to feed over water were found at 66% of the locations
• Nathusius’ Pipistrelles, which migrate here from southern Europe at 55% of gardens.
• Barbastelles, which are thought to be scarce and wander widely at night, were recorded in 43% of gardens, but in very low numbers.
• Leisler’s bat and the Myotis species, Whiskered, were recorded in a few places with prime habitats.Barbastelle bat C Robiller sqBarbastelle bat, photo C Robiller

Now the evenings and nights have turned colder, the numbers of bats flying has decreased. The survey has now been suspended until the weather warms up again in the spring. We will deploy the detector in our garden in Chichester on suitable nights through the winter to monitor any activity.

If you would like to host the bat detector for a night or two in your garden or elsewhere in 2019 please get in touch with the project co-ordinators, Ken and Linda Smith, contact details This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone 01243 786079.

More details of the project see Chichester Natural Hisory Society website


LSW RichardJacobs leftcolLesser Spotted Woodpecker by Richard Jacobs 2019 LSW TimPreston 256Lesser Spotted Woodpecker © Tim Preston

Don't confuse juvenile Great Spotted Woodpeckers with male Lesser Spots - they both have red caps!

Dont confuse your woodpeckers

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