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How many hands does a bat worker need?

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Old Friday 22nd February 2019, 12:57   #1
HermitIbis
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How many hands does a bat worker need?

In 2014 I bought a Ciel Micro Trio and am still pleased with this device. Even this simple set-up requires more than two hands, if I want to use a torch & record a call at the same time.

Adding an Echo Meter Touch 2 seems counterintuitive at first. To quote Peter Jones from my 2014 thread: "Tablet, mic, torch, is starting to become a bit of a juggling act." Indeed, how many hands do we have? But now I've read an interesting review of the EMT2 Pro by Suzanne Halters, in Dutch language, titled: Vleermuizen waarnemen met de smartphone: ervaringen met de Echo Meter Touch 2 PRO .

She describes how she uses the Pettersson D240X as her primary tool, and regards the EMT2 Pro as a supplementary device. In the field she typically turns the screen and noise of the EMT2 off. To be consulted only for further study of an "interesting" call, or to have the GPS data of an encounter. For someone like me, still relatively unexperienced, it must be even more valuable to assist in the identification process. Worth a thought in the next bat season perhaps.

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Old Friday 22nd February 2019, 16:06   #2
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Hi, quite startling to be quoted out of the blue, I could probably get used to it!
I don't think it has got any easier for me since then. Most of the time i'm just a hobbyist, so my ciel401 and the dog on a lead works fine; But the surveys I do: Pen, paper, torch, bat detector, GPS, stop watch, spare batteries. You have to be very disciplined to what goes in which pocket, and get into a routine.

One small trick I have learned is with my phone, I can say "OK Google, set a timer for 4 minutes", and it will beep after 4 minutes, so the survey points can be timed without the phone even coming out of my pocket.

I've also kept an old tablet, which has a crazy battery life, and is compatible with the EMT2 in case I go down that route. Should be a few warmer evenings in the near future.
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Old Saturday 23rd February 2019, 22:37   #3
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[...] the surveys I do: Pen, paper, torch, bat detector, GPS, stop watch, spare batteries. You have to be very disciplined to what goes in which pocket, and get into a routine.
I've considered a headlamp instead of a torch, to save one hand. It could look odd in the city... maybe O.K. when I visit a lonely place.

Routine/workflow: A review by Dean Waters called the Pettersson M500 an "amazing piece of kit", yet still had doubts:
Quote:
You do have to ask yourself what you would use it for. This approach of screens in the field may not work for some and it's worth having a good long think about how you would use it.
That's why I liked the Dutch review: an experienced bat worker tells how she has integrated the EMT2Pro into her workflow. It's a good review, discusses weaknesses and strong sides of the device. Yes, the M500 has the superior recording quality, still she comes to the conclusion: "I find the use an added value compared to just a regular detector. By default, I make more sound recordings and, even with potentially special and valuable recordings, I have a fairly exact location for a follow-up visit later on."

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I've also kept an old tablet, which has a crazy battery life, and is compatible with the EMT2 in case I go down that route. Should be a few warmer evenings in the near future.
For a while I've considered the Pettersson M500. However, the automated ID implemented in the EMT2(Pro) is very tempting. Maybe I'll get an Android phone, Moto G5, offering to exchange batteries. Final decision in a month or two...

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Old Tuesday 26th February 2019, 22:36   #4
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I'll continue to post some thoughts on the M500 / M500-384 and the EMT2 (Pro) in this thread. These mics are small, but powerful and are surprisingly often mentioned in serious bat studies. According to the Pettersson website, the M500 and M500-384 use "the same advanced electret microphone technology as the well-known D500X detector". And cost only a fraction of the D500X.

Someone has posted a sample file recorded with the M500. The BatExplorer 2.0 rates the quality of the recording as "99%", clearly superior to bat call files from my Ciel Micro Trio (rarely rated higher than 55%). The BatExplorer 2.0 documentation defines "Recording quality" as "probability that the recording contains bat calls."

I haven't found a sample file of a bat call recorded with the Echo Meter Touch 2 (Pro). If an EMT2 owner could post such a file, it would be great. Not the ideal time of the year for recording bats, I know...
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Old Saturday 2nd March 2019, 16:39   #5
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The EMT2 came out in late 2017, so I had expected to find more sample files. Finally I had luck where I should have looked first. The Wildlife Acoustics website offers sample recordings of the EMT (original model), the EMT2 and the EMT2PRO for download. Apparently a simultaneous recording of the three devices, all showing the same bat call. I guess an American bat? The site doesn't say. Anyway, it is a useful comparison, exactly what I had hoped for.

The wav file of the EMT2Pro, opened in BatExplorer 2.0, shows a sharp and clean bat call, according to the software the "quality" is 99% (vs 76.2% for the basic EMT2, probably due to some noise in the low kHz). These samples look good, better than my Ciel Micro Trio... I only wonder why the cheaper mic has caught the higher frequencies better than the PRO. Of course there are many variables in play - e.g. the bat might have been closer to the EMT2.
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Old Sunday 3rd March 2019, 08:42   #6
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Have to say, the app which accompanies the EMT2 range looks impressive. Really takes the recording to another level. Looks like it has GPS tagging, species identification, and with it being on the phone, one click and you can fire the files off to anywhere.

Maybe a shame that the design and the typical phone usb connector position leads you to use it in portrait mode, when landscape would give a broader view perhaps.

Pity the two old phones I have in the house are not compatible, nor is my current huawei, or I'd have pulled the trigger and got one by now!
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Old Sunday 3rd March 2019, 18:24   #7
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I agree GPS tagging would be nice. The Anabat Scout (announced for 2019) will also have GPS, but not automated ID.

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Maybe a shame that the design and the typical phone usb connector position leads you to use it in portrait mode, when landscape would give a broader view perhaps.
A short extension cable + tape might help?! Also useful: phone with headphone jack and micro-USB on opposite sides, to avoid a conflict. Exchangable batteries - GPS sucks a lot of power. FM radio for the lonely walk home. A recent Android version. Some of the cheap "Moto" phones don't work with the PRO version... not sure if I actually need the PRO version though. I fear my decision will take a while.

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Old Tuesday 5th March 2019, 21:37   #8
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German professionals are using mainly a D240X or D500X (Pettersson), for remote recordings often a batcorder (ecoobs). On third place: Elekon's Batlogger. Only very rarely appears the Echo Meter Touch in German papers on species protection inspections. How could it be a serious tool? In particular, I used to think that the technology of automated identification "wasn't there yet". However, Suzanne Halters' review raised my interest. Then I found this Belgian study, titled:

Comparing the results of four widely used automated bat identification software programs to identify nine bat species in coastal Western Europe by Robin Brabant, Yves Laurent, Umit Dolap, Steven Degraer, Bob Jonge Poerink.

It offers the full text of this 2018 study for download as a PDF. It's complicated, nobody can say bat-IDying were easy. But let me quote just one sentence:
Quote:
When rating the correct number of species-identifications in this test, BatIdent scored the best (77%), followed by Kaleidoscope (71%), SonoChiro (65%) and BatExplorer (31%)
This success rate comes with several caveats: only for certain species, in free flight (no cluttered area), no feeding buzz or social calls. Still, I was impressed. The full Kaleidoscope costs a lot, yet as we all know its ID classifyers are implemented in the free software available for the EMT2 microphones. And I began to reflect on the possibilities of this technology. Reviewers have suggested how valuable such a device could be if it was able to "ignore" the Common pipistrelle. Why should this not be possible, theoretically, in a future software update?
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Old Wednesday 6th March 2019, 11:10   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HermitIbis View Post
German professionals are using mainly a D240X or D500X (Pettersson), for remote recordings often a batcorder (ecoobs). On third place: Elekon's Batlogger. Only very rarely appears the Echo Meter Touch in German papers on species protection inspections. How could it be a serious tool? In particular, I used to think that the technology of automated identification "wasn't there yet". However, Suzanne Halters' review raised my interest. Then I found this Belgian study, titled:

Comparing the results of four widely used automated bat identification software programs to identify nine bat species in coastal Western Europe by Robin Brabant, Yves Laurent, Umit Dolap, Steven Degraer, Bob Jonge Poerink.

It offers the full text of this 2018 study for download as a PDF. It's complicated, nobody can say bat-IDying were easy. But let me quote just one sentence:


This success rate comes with several caveats: only for certain species, in free flight (no cluttered area), no feeding buzz or social calls. Still, I was impressed. The full Kaleidoscope costs a lot, yet as we all know its ID classifyers are implemented in the free software available for the EMT2 microphones. And I began to reflect on the possibilities of this technology. Reviewers have suggested how valuable such a device could be if it was able to "ignore" the Common pipistrelle. Why should this not be possible, theoretically, in a future software update?
The crazy world of bat detecting.. The BatIdent software is free, but only available for Mac! (why would anyone do that?!!), and the others cost a fortune, or are low reliability!
My experience with Bat Explorer, (albeit using the Ciel TE files as opposed to the bat detector it was designed for), was ok and it did generate the call parameters quite well. It just seemed to go off a bit with the final identification in some cases.

I don't know where it is all heading to be honest. 77% isn't particularly good, but the literature available to manually analyse bat sonograms isn't that easy to find / digest either.

Then again, there is enough out there to identify nearly all the UK species with a combination of bat detector and size/behaviour. I guess Bechstein's, Whiskered, and Brandt's, are the only really troublesome ones here.

I don't know how much harder it gets on the continent? I pick up Savi's and Kuhl's Pips regularly on hols, a probable Northern Bat in the Alps, Mouse-Eared sp., schreiber's and Free-tailed in Iberia. I don't believe I've recorded or seen any others yet.

I don't have much confidence of identifying Parti-Coloured, Pond, Geoffrey's, Mediterranean Horseshoe etc. etc. if I was standing in front of one. Not sure spending 1000's on a better detector and software would improve my chances a great deal either!
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Old Thursday 7th March 2019, 09:05   #10
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Then again, there is enough out there to identify nearly all the UK species with a combination of bat detector and size/behaviour. I guess Bechstein's, Whiskered, and Brandt's, are the only really troublesome ones here.

I don't know how much harder it gets on the continent? I pick up Savi's and Kuhl's Pips regularly on hols, a probable Northern Bat in the Alps, Mouse-Eared sp., schreiber's and Free-tailed in Iberia. I don't believe I've recorded or seen any others yet.
I'll reply in more detail on the % of ID and the available systems. Species: right now I focus on the Greater Mouse-eared. The Lesser Mouse-eared is extinct in Germany (ultra-rare even in Austria and Switzerland), ID via call should therefore be possible. Actually seeing it would be a nice extra... I've been told the Greater Mouse-eared was recorded in a part of my city, that's enough incentive to visit the place.

Whiskered/Brandt's is the same dilemma here. But then I haven't met either. Also Kuhli's or Parti-coloured bat are rarities where I live, Savi's unavailable.

Imo, 77% is a start. Three of these softwares have a 100% success rate with common pips! If the software can tell me "in the field" with confidence that a certain bat is a non-pip, that's already more than what the Ciel can do. The EMT2 app is regularly updated. Couldn't a future update enable my phone to play Jingle Bells whenever a Myotis crosses my path?

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Old Thursday 7th March 2019, 12:09   #11
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It's unfortunate that Common Pipistrelle is slap bang in the middle of everything, so can't be avoided, whilst at the same time, we could be tuned out of a horseshoe!
Having said that, I'm never exactly overwhelmed with them in the UK, to the point they are swamping the frequencies. Remote recordings, they tend to dominate the files, which can be a nuisance, getting up to 80-90% of files with Common Pips.
I swear a single bat spends most nights flying in circles round our property, resulting in 100s of files. That can be a pain!

Future updates to the app may see bats leaving you voicemails,! Or sending you WhatsApp messages, !

Have dabbled with the detector the last few nights, but nothing this year for me yet. Others have been luckier in the milder weather recently.
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Old Friday 8th March 2019, 20:41   #12
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I swear a single bat spends most nights flying in circles round our property, resulting in 100s of files. That can be a pain!

[...] Have dabbled with the detector the last few nights, but nothing this year for me yet. Others have been luckier in the milder weather recently.
About 5 degrees Celsius here. Today I met five Common pips (each circling around its "own" street lamp) and one 38-39 kHz bat, probably Nathusius's pip, close to my house. Confirms what I found in autumn 2014 - this bridge is a nath favourite. This year I plan to check when they leave the city to migrate back.
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Old Friday 8th March 2019, 21:37   #13
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About 5 degrees Celsius here. Today I met five Common pips (each circling around its "own" street lamp) and one 38-39 kHz bat, probably Nathusius's pip, close to my house. Confirms what I found in autumn 2014 - this bridge is a nath favourite. This year I plan to check when they leave the city to migrate back.
Wow, quite cold for bats. It's around 8 or 9 here, but a strong wind most evenings isn't helping.
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Old Sunday 17th March 2019, 21:55   #14
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I bought a used Moto G5 phone and two batteries for €50. Maybe not a wise decision. I had read it should work with the EMT2, not necessarily with the PRO. But one commenter wrote: "The latest app update is now allowing my Echo Meter Touch 2 Pro module to work on my discount Moto E4." Wouldn't this mean the PRO now also works with the Moto g5? To be sure, I asked Wildlife Acoustics via email. So far no reply. - It's not a major worry, as I might be happy with the basic version. Or I might get the Pettersson mic instead. When the bats are active again, I hope to have an answer.

BatIdent/bcAdmin is expensive. It might be useful for a Mac user, as there is a free 30-day trial version of bcAdmin. EcoObs focuses on devices for remote recording. Germany's wind turbines are their main clientel, it seems to me. Kaleidoscope / EMT2 offers identifiers for bats not only in Europe, a big plus. I don't travel much, but as an option it is valuable. Today bat fans are a limited group of customers, as compared to birders, yet automated ID could improve the situation. Even if I finally decide not to buy it myself, I hope the EMT2 is successful.

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Old Wednesday 24th April 2019, 18:07   #15
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A French dealer has published a comparison of the EMT microphones, those graphics (visible if you scroll down) show major advantages for the PRO mainly in the 85-120 kHz range. Looking at the "signal to noise ratio", sensitivity and noise, it seems to me I should be able to capture my German bats almost as easily with the basic EMT2 as with the PRO. The noise level is higher though.
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Old Tuesday 7th May 2019, 20:06   #16
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Had a couple of evenings watching bats. The Ciel that I have produces excellent TE recordings, but I struggle in the FD and heterodyne modes.
A partial solution has been to buy fairly cheap headphones with independent volume buttons for each ear. I have to turn the FD speaker right down in order to hear the hd better .

The other thing I have discovered is that bats seem totally oblivious to my torch's green LEDs, so I am getting good views this year.
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Old Thursday 9th May 2019, 09:05   #17
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A partial solution has been to buy fairly cheap headphones with independent volume buttons for each ear. I have to turn the FD speaker right down in order to hear the hd better .

The other thing I have discovered is that bats seem totally oblivious to my torch's green LEDs, so I am getting good views this year.
That's interesting, thanks. I own a normal (white) torch, yet have looked at better models with red and/or green light, for bat watching.

So far I've focused on TE with my (basic) Ciel. It has no separate (left/right) audio channels like the Pettersson D240X. I have no other model to compare, but it seems folks like the clear HD sound of a Pettersson. In terms of HD fun Ciel must range at the bottom of the pack, far behind a Pettersson or maybe Peersonic... there are impressive sample audios of the latter online.

Nevertheless it's worth to look at the idea of a more versatile headphone. I've also noticed that since 2014, when I bought a cheap USB audio stick to record the WAV, now Chinese models cost roughly the same, but offer the nice extra of voice triggering.

Suzanne Halters had written in her review (translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator):
Quote:
I don't use the Echo Meter on its own, but mostly next to a normal detector such as the Pettersson D240X. This is because the sound of a batdetector like the Pettersson is difficult to match in my opinion. In a number of tests, the sensitivity of the echolocation seems to be almost the same. Only the sound from the Echo Meter (phone) is slightly delayed and of lesser quality, some tinny. The sound and image are switched off when I use the Echo Meter, also because this way the battery of the phone will last longer.
I suspect the EMT2 sound "of lesser quality, ... tinny" would still beat my Ciel Micro Trio hands down.

Re EMT2 I am still sitting on the fence. The microphone may be great, but I hate all the extra hassle with a phone, batteries, Android upgrades...
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Old Wednesday 15th May 2019, 19:15   #18
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yes, I was struggling to identify anything with the Ciel (401) HD output at one point. Headphones have improved it quite a bit, but it just sounds "different" to the Petersson D230 i used to have. Flatter I guess.

I don't think anyone could have any complaints with the recording side of this Ciel model though. The file management, auto-triggering, battery life, quality of the TE files, and price all are pretty good.
Shame it's end of line now unless anyone takes on the old company.

don't know what i'd buy next.. They all seem to be going in bad directions, either weird designs or high prices!
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Old Friday 31st May 2019, 10:17   #19
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It looks like there have been some advances in Battery technology over the last couple of years. My detector uses 9v block batteries, and the rechargeables were useless.. They would discharge over time in the detector, and be flat when called upon. Even worse, the spares would also discharge at the same pace.

However, newer rechargeable batteries are advertised to hold their charge and this seems to be the case.
One is still "full" after almost a month in the detector.
Always carry a couple of non-rechargeable spares, but these are unlikely to be called upon now.
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