Written by: Robert Bender
December is usually the busiest month, with newborn pups and lactating mother bats. Fortunately we had some new recruits in Nathan Gregory,
And Andrew Mibus, who told us about his family home at Penshurst
Box C9 had a pair of Sugar Gliders in it.
But eventually we started finding big groups of bats.
As usual I did the south end and Steve’s group did the north end. Soon Lindy, Pia & the processing team arrived, took the first 100+ bats up to the Visitor Centre, that Steve had laid out ready for them. And away they went, blue gloves on many hands and many others scribing, lights with magnifying lenses, scales and calipers enough for all.
And we had a visit from a long-lost bat enthusiast and her family in Lisa Godinho, who came with Marcus and their two boys, Raf and Remy. Lisa got to stay until the boys had enough and needed to be taken home.
With grapes and apricots to keep them happy along the way.
Amanda Bush did some of the bat assessing, with Armstrong Scherlies scribing for her.
Lindy, Pia and Casey were kept very busy banding 117 juvenile bats while Steve and Danielle managed the microchipping and genetic sampling. Jess Whinfield is now a regular at Organ Pipes as well as at Ivanhoe.
Banding and microchipping is slow work, so it was near 8 p.m. when Nathan and Andrew came with me to start returning bats to their boxes, which was finished well after dark. Steve came down with the last lot of bats and we finished up around 10:30 p.m., then had to tidy up the Visitor Centre.
I left the park with Nathan after 11 p.m. – a long day’s work for all. We had captured 220 bats, less than half the 470 at the peak in 2012. This is possibly a cycle associated with wet vs. dry years.
There were bats in 24 of the 39 boxes, just about a
record. Box 3 was disintegrating so Steve took it away for repair. Some boxes had a predictable mix of adult females and juveniles (C37, C01, C42) but some juveniles are now quite independent so box 40 had only 2 adult females with 19 juveniles. At two boxes, Gould’s bats that had been flying about landed on the box lid and were captured.