We are excited to announce that Lloyd Bore have recorded the rare greater horseshoe bat in Kent, the first time in over 100 years that the species has been recorded in the county.
The news has been picked up by the Guardian and published in their online and print editions and has also been announced by the Bat Conservation Trust on their website.
The recording was made by Laragh Smyth and Emily Cummins of Lloyd Bore, in May 2019 during a commercial bat activity survey visit at a location on the East Kent coast.
Another ecological consultant also recorded greater horseshoe bat passes during a bat survey using static detectors at the end of June 2019, within a mile of the initial record. Six passes were recorded over a period of one minute on a single date, further confirming the return of this species to Kent.
Due to the unexpected nature of these records, the sound recordings have been verified by Peter Scrimshaw of the Kent Bat Group and by national bat experts Sandie Sowler and Richard Crompton.
The reasons for the presence of this species in Kent are currently unknown. It is possible that an individual bat was blown off course or has travelled over from France, or that a bat has dispersed across the UK, from the west of England or Wales. It is also possible that the species is now able to expand its range into Kent due to climatic changes. The habitats in the area that the recordings were made are not dissimilar to those in its western strongholds, prompting speculation that the records could represent more than just an itinerant bat.
Lloyd Bore will be discussing further research efforts with the Kent Bat Group and Bat Conservation Trust, to ascertain whether this species is now resident in Kent.