The bats recorded from Iceland, the Faroe Islands, the Shetland Islands, the Orkney Islands, and North Sea installations are reviewed to the end of 2012. In total 12 species have been positively identified, while a considerable proportion of all records are sightings of unidentified bats. Eight of the species are European in origin and four originate from the New World. The largest number of species (8) has been recorded in Iceland, but the greatest number of individuals (180) has been found in Orkney. The bat invasion on the Faroe Islands in 2010 is without precedence, when 70 observations of a minimum of 45 individuals were noted. Most bat observations in the study area occurred in the autumn, with fewer in the spring. Most observations were of single animals, but there were also sightings of up to 12 individuals. There has been a marked increase in bat records in the past three decades. We discuss whether this is a real increase, or due to improved communications, increased public awareness, increased shipping, changes in weather patterns and/or the effects of climate change. All factors appear to be involved.
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Vol. 16 • No. 1