Bat box check at Wilson Reserve, 7 May 2016

12345678910Written by: Robert Bender

 

Another fine day for batting and we had a big team to go around the 26 boxes

 

 

 

Steve was busy, so Melissa brought the harnesses and ropes and did nearly all the ladder-climbing.

 

 

 

One delight was finding the beginnings of a glider nest in SG2 – first sign for almost 3 years.

 

 

 

I found some Gould’s in box 4. We stopped several groups of strollers for little show-and-tell sessions, which as always produced much enthusiasm for our beautiful little bats.

 

 

 

Melissa took on supervising assessment with Danielle managing the laptop with its history file.

 

 

 

Melissa offered advice to new handlers on repro con.

 

 

 

Nathan had a go at scribing, as we had five handlers at work.

 

 

 

Including Amy Monagle. As it was quite dark when all the bats had been done, several people came down to help release them.

 

 

 

Nichola was a bit startled when one Gould’s flew very close to her head.

 

 

 

And Evie released this last bat, which I luckily captured on camera. So everyone returned to cars very happy with watching little bats fly off into the night.

 

Box Bats Species Adult Esc
      M F  
B07 16 Gould’s 5 11  
B02 9 Gould’s 7 2 1
B03 4 Gould’s   4 2
B08 2 Gould’s 1 1  
B12 2 Gould’s   2  
B04 1 Gould’s 1    
B05 1 Gould’s 1    
B06 1 Gould’s 1    
B20 1 Gould’s 1    
B26 1 Gould’s   1  
  38 Total 17 21 3
Burke Rd        
T02 2 Gould’s 2    
T09 2 Gould’s 1 1  
T12 2 Gould’s   2  
T08 1 Gould’s   1  
  45 Total 20 25 3

Immigrant from Gresswell Forest

Four Gould’s were microchipped, 2 females and 2 males, 3 of them done in January. The fourth was a mystery as I had no record of it, so asked Steve abouit it. He replied:

The mystery chipped male (735BBFF) Gould’s wattled bat is from Gresswell Reserve. I chipped it on 13-Nov-2014 when it was an unfurred pup, still attached to it’s mum. I recaptured it once at Gresswell on 25-March-2015, on that day it weighed 12.7g, and its forearm was 44mm. So that’s interesting, a male from one bat-box population moving to another ‘nearby’ bat-box site.

We have gathered very little evidence of where bats go when they emigrate from their birth colonies and this adds a little new information. Gresswell forest is north of Latrobe University, about 6 km north of Wilson Reserve. The bat is now 18 months old and has decided it is time to seek its fortune out in the big world. Most of the Wilson Reserve bats seem to emigrate at about 6 months, so this one waited an unusually long time.

We get a trickle of immigrants from other populations each year, but have no idea where they come from as there are so few bat box projects with bats being banded. If there were more banding projects we could get a much better idea of the dispersal patterns – how far bats travel, at what age, whether males and females seek out the same destination colonies, etc.

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About Pia Lentini

Pia Lentini is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the University of Melbourne's Quantitative and Applied Ecology group.
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