Bats at Wilson Reserve, 4 Feb 2017

1234567891011Written by: Robert Bender

A very small team turned out to help this month: Steve and Stanley extracted three male Gould’s from three tubes at Burke Rd., then Michelle Toomey came to help at Wilson Reserve, but we decided to use only one ladder. Box 21 had its second-ever bat, a male Gould’s, and three other boxes yielded one male each.



It looked like being a spider day, rather than a bat day, with a Clubionid in one box.




And the usual Grey Huntsmen in several.




And a long narrow White-tail, a few Jumping Spiders.




A group of 6 bats flew out of B8 as we placed the ladd-er, but two slower ones were captured. By the second-last box we had 6 bats, then suddenly hit the jackpot, as B6 was full of a big maternity group. At upper right you can just see the head of a smaller, paler Broadnosed bat.


And at the last box, B26, there were 5 Gould’s, the biggest group we have found in any of these new boxes. Steve reattached two repaired and repainted boxes. So with a full hanger, we headed home to my place.




Lisa Godinho, who started the project with me 12 years ago, decided it was time to get back into batting after retiring to have two children. Little Rafi was very keen to inspect a bat wing.



Michelle scribed for her.




Steve had to band a few new bats, and PIT-tag several, including one with a nasty banding injury, and White-spot, whose right arm had healed well, the band causing no trouble on the left arm, but to be sure, he removed it.



The one Broadnose was 96518, the resident male, now captured for the 9th time since being banded in Jan. ‘15. He visits most commonly in summer, but has been found in all seasons, like it’s his home. So we may well see him again this year.



All the bats of this species captured 3+ times are male. We were all done by 6 oclock, and everyone went off to their dinners. I took the bats down to release after dark and got one decent take-off photo.


We got 40 bats for the day, a bit down on last year’s tally, but the favoured boxes were very predictable. The boxes seem to have been more successful in attracting bats in late summer up to 2011, when our banding pro-ject got under way. The tiny column for 2005 was our first-ever bat that got the box monitoring under way. I told him to go tell his friends about our boxes and you can see from the tall 2006 column he did just that.

Box 6 has had over 15% of all bats in February. Four other boxes have attracted big maternity groups of over 20 bats, but box 6 has had 4 such groups to date. And the bats strongly prefer the original 8 boxes put up in 2000, probably due to the different internal climate in summer.

Box Bats Species Adult Sub-adult
      M F M F
B06 26






10 6 7
B26 5 Gould’s   5    
B08 2* Gould’s     1 1
B03 1 Gould’s 1      
B19 1 Gould’s 1      
B21 1 Gould’s 1      
Burke Rd
T02 1 Gould’s 1      
T03 1 Gould’s 1      
T07 1 Gould’s 1      
  40 Total 10 15 7 8

* 6 flew out, possibly the ones we found in B26


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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