Nathusius’ pipistrelle bat crosses North Sea in one night

In the night of Sunday 2 to Monday 3 May, a Nathusius’ pipistrelle bat flew from Minsmere in England directly to Wijk aan Zee. This is the first detection of such a crossing from England to the Netherlands through the telemetry study of the migration of Nathusius’ pipistrelle bats. The bat, an adult female, was tagged on 29 March 2021 by the Norwich Bat Group, who are WUR research partners.

In the telemetry research, which uses the Motus Wildlife Tracking System, Wageningen University & Research investigates bat migration. The researchers also study how the wind energy sector can best take bats into account during the construction and operation of wind farms at sea.

Up to now, bats in the Netherlands have only been monitored in the autumn, says Sander Lagerveld. “This year, for the first time, we are also tagging animals in the spring. The bat that made this direct crossing last Sunday night is actually the first animal to be tagged in England for this research,” according to Lagerveld.


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The female Nathusius’ pipistrelle bats can cover distances of up to 2,000 kilometres during their seasonal migration, which takes place between their wintering grounds in Western Europe and their breeding grounds in the Baltic States. Then, in late summer, they travel the route in reverse, together with their young. The males do not migrate, or migrate over small distances, and usually stay in Western Europe year-round.

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