Bats at Wilson Reserve 3rd February 2018

Written by: Robert Bender

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After postponing the day due to extreme heat events, we eventually held the box monitoring and got a team of five for the afternoon: Steve and Danielle (whose post-grad research has been upgraded to PhD – much bigger than she initially thought), Ben Carr and Karina Anders.

 

Several big rain events meant there was a big pool beneath the tree holding boxes 1 & 15. I was in gum-boots so got to climb the ladder. Box 1 had a mother Huntsman guarding her precious egg sac full of her children.

 

Steve and Dani did all the other boxes and Dani did B3 that had a big group of 30 bats, plus 56 more escapees that flew out as the ladder hit the tree. Only four other boxes had small groups, so it was soon over. In December I had raked a wide trail along the meander of boxes, to make access easier, especially with the ladders. That took a week of doing about 10 metres a day and will need ongoing maintenance as removing the Trad invites Nightshade to sprout the large load of seeds in the ground.

Glider box 2, next to bat box B17, had two gliders in it again – now there for almost six months, since first seen last August. Show-and-tell for a passing couple who had not seen a bat before and as always, were amazed.

 

We moved to the back deck of my house as usual, where Steve, Dani and Karina dealt with a large crop of 36 full-grown adolescent bats that had to be banded. We had guests over to lunch who had a little show-and-tell provided by Steve and Dani.

 

 

The day’s catch included two species: Gould’s and Broadnosed bats.

 

 

 

After they’d been assessed and everyone went off home the bats hung in my laundry until after dark, when I went down to release them. All the Gould’s flew off instantly but several of the Broadnose sat and had a think about it. The night was warm and windless so I’m sure they got straight into hunting.

 

Box Bats Species Adult Sub Esc
 

 

    M F M F  
B03 34

2

Gould’s Broadn 1

1

7

1

8 12 6
B08 9

1

Gould’s

Broadn

 

1

6 3    
B11 9 Gould’s   2 3 4  
B14 2 Broadn       2  
B05 1 Gould’s 1        
  58 Total 4 16 14 18 6
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Bats at the Organ Pipes, 17 Dec 2017

Written by: Robert Bender

12345678910We had a beautiful summer day at the park, with many helpers at the ladders. Steve went up the east side of the track where all the maternity groups had gathered while I went up the west side. Had a peek into one glider box and found a very growly glider.

 

 

 

My one middle-sized group in box 3:

 

 

 

Steve reattached one box and repaired a lid, then we drove up to the Visitor Centre where a big team of 20 people gathered to assess our 233 bats.

 

 

 

Jarrod scribed for Dani, who banded many juvenile Gould’s

 

 

 

 

Sarah Deborre came with her friend Anita and scribed for her and Casey, who also did much banding.

 

 

 

Caitlin Tolsma scribed for Caroline Durre, while Michelle scribed for Andrew

 

 

 

We had two vets from Healesville, Veronica Peric with a dangly bat earring, and David Blyth.

 

 

 

And the Smith family: Martina and David with children Molly and Oliver, who has a passion for bats.

 

 

 

We were all done by 7, and I had three volunteers to help put all the mothers and pups back in their boxes, which took two hours, so we left at 9 p.m.

 

 

 

Putting all those bat one by one back up the entrance slits, and encouraging them not to fly out before dark was a slow business.

Box Bat Species    Adult

  M      F

Juvenile

 M      F

C45 84 Gould’s 1 28 30 25
C39 37 Gould’s   14 10 13
C36 33 Gould’s   12 11 10
C03 21 Gould’s   9 5 7
C37 16 Gould’s 1 8 3 4
C35 8 Gould’s 1 7    
C13 12 Gould’s   5 4 3
C46 10 Freetail 8 2    
C09 4 Gould’s   4    
C07 3 Gould’s 2 1    
C17 2

1

Gould’s

Freetail

1

1

1    
C40 2 Gould’s 1 1    
C06 1 Gould’s 1      
C16 1 Gould’s 1      
C27 1 Gould’s 1      
C33 1 Gould’s 1      
C42 1 Gould’s 1      
C43 1 Gould’s   1    
  233 Totals 22 86 63 62

The two new multi-chambered boxes between them had over 40% of the bats, so the bats really like them.

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Bats at Wilson Reserve, 18 November 2017

12345678910Written by Robert Bender

 

We had two new recruits to help us, Lynne Stockdale, a local artist, and friend Laurence Beesley, who scribed.

 

 

With their help we managed two ladders. Lucky me got box 20, with 20 bats in it, of the 24 for the day, a mix of 15 Gould’s and 5 Broadnose (a record number for this species)

 

 

 

Two of the Gould’s females had given birth recently.

 

 

 

The 5 Broadnose bats were all pregnant females, a first for our boxes, to have Broadnose bats treat them as breeding sites. They have a single young, so one bulge.

 

 

 

Glider box 2 had the highlight for the day, 3 gliders.

 

 

 

And in the hollow of the multi-stemmed Redgum with box 6, the usual al-fresco Brushtail.

 

 

Steve was keen to examine and assess the Gould’s mothers and put them back in box 20, with the pregnant females. These pups still had their umbilicus attached.

 

 

 

There were some unbanded bats, so we had to go to my house, where Steve did a show-and-tell for Carolyn’s Amnesty group, who were fascinated.

 

 

 

Kristin did the assessing and scribing.

 

 

 

The last bat was a bad-tempered Chocolate Wattled bat male. With just 24 bats, it was all over by 5 o’clock, so Kristin and Steve went off home. The forecast storm started thundering soon after, so I decided to take the bagged bats and put them all back into box 20 before the rain started.

 

 

It began to pour just as I got back to my car, so that was good timing. There were none in the Burke Rd tubes.

Box Bats Species Adult Pups Esc
M F    
B20 15

5

Gould’s

Broadnose

1

 

13

5

4

 

1

 

B02 1 Gould’s 1
B03 1 Gould’s 1
B05 1 Gould’s 1
B12 1 Gould’s 1
  24 Total 5 18 4 1
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Bat Night at Marcus Hill, Bellarine

123Written by: Robert Bender

The Bellarine Landcare group invited a speaker for their 11 October meeting and I volunteered. It is south east of Geelong, near Queenscliff. The meeting was at a fairly isolated hall, part of Greater Geelong infra-structure.

An audience of 25 was expected but as often happens the night was cold and rainy, so the audience reduced to 13. It is a very active Landcare group and they usually do better than that, but the weather determines who will venture out for the night.

I have my usual Powerpoint presentation, tweaked to refer to the problems associated with bat box projects, as so many groups get enthusiastic about setting up boxes without understanding the problems they are taking on. I left a copy with the group on their laptop. As it was too wet for a bat-detector walk, though it was well into bat pregnancy season, the talk went on much longer than planned, with many questions from the audience. The evening was organized by Sophie Small, the local Landcare Co-ordinator (on the left of the photo) and she kindly organised for Kath Lockhart (right) of the group’s committee to put me up for the night as it was a long way home.

The evening went very well, and apparently they have a speaker about some local issue almost monthly. They hope to persuade many local landholders to install bat boxes soon on their properties.

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Bats at the Organ Pipes, 29 Oct 2017

Written by: Robert Bender

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The monitoring set for 8 Oct. had to be cancelled due to dangerously wild winds, and we reassembled on 29 Oct to give it another try. Just Dani and me to start with, so only one ladder. Gould’s in box 14:

 

 

 

Along came Michelle, then two casual park visitors, Kim & Phil Seeley, who stopped for a little show-and-tell, and stayed all afternoon to help. Kim:

 

 

 

Phil helped me with the ladder, then scribed for me, too.

 

 

 

 

The same Brushtail was in glider box 7, as in August – a very tight squeeze!

 

 

 

Bat assessing got started in the Visitor Centre while Dani and I were still checking boxes below.

 

 

 

Michelle scribed for Dani as well as helping with box monitoring.

 

 

 

Our ABS secretary Pia arrived to process bats with husband Alex.

 

 

 

 

Tanya Loos drove from Daylesford, Eva Reda took time off from 3rd year microbiology exam preparation

 

 

 

And of course, Lindy

 

 

 

We only got two Large Forest bats, as they were in the multi-chamber box 46, and kept wriggling around the bark I used to try to extract them, so some were left in the box. This one had a tick on his right forearm.

 

 

 

There were 8 Freetails, nearly all first-timers, so Dani micro-chipped them. Kim scribed for Anita.

 

 

It was all done soon after 5:30, so everyone went off home but Tanya and me. We sat about chatting for a while, then as Tanya had a long drive home, there was just me. Had to wait a long time for the ravens and magpies to finally settle down so it was safe to release the bats. Finally got started at 8:30 p.m. Patient little bats, snoozing away the boring waiting time in their bags.

 

This Freetail decided life was a drag, and just flopped on the bag. I put it on my shoulder and it flew off in a minute or so.

 

Box Bat Species    Adult

  M      F

Esc Left in box
C42 21

2

Gould’s

Freetail

2

1

19

1

1
C23 26 Gould’s 6 20 1
C14 21 Gould’s 21
C03 14 Gould’s 14 1
C39 11 Gould’s 11 1
C35 8 Gould’s 1 7
C46 4

1

Gould’s

Lge Forest

4

1

1 Cg

1 Vd

C17 4 Freetail 1 3
C06 3 Gould’s 3
C24 3 Gould’s 3 1
C45 3 Gould’s 1 1*
C15 2 Freetail 2
C20 2 Gould’s 2
C27 2 Gould’s 2
C30 2 Gould’s 2 1
C13 1 Gould’s 1
C21 1 Lge Forest 1
C33 1 Gould’s 1
C44 1 Gould’s 1
C36 1
  133 Totals 30 102 6 2
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Bats at Wilson Reserve and Burke Rd. Billabong, 23 September 2017

1234567Written by: Robert Bender

September usually brings a flock of bats back into the boxes, so we had a good turnout. Shaun Coutts and daughter Essie, who helped scribe for Dani.

 

 

 

And one of Casey’s students at Uni Melb: May Lingzi with her friend Jensen, here with Stanley

 

 

 

Stanley had left one bat from Burke Rd in my garage, and there were another 22 from Wilson Reserve.

 

 

 

Back at my house, Olwyn did some of the assessing.

 

 

 

And Andrej Hohmann, back from 4 months in California studying Spotted Owls in a very long-term project.

 

 

 

May and Jensen were interested observers, learning about what happens with field bat research, and scribing.

 

 

Steve had several new Large Forest bats to band, and a couple of new bats to microchip, with the new supplies paid for by a Bendigo Bank grant of $1,700, which is most helpful for our project. I went down to the boxes to release the bats at 7 p.m., with a huge chorus of Pobblebonk frogs all around after several rainy days.

 

Box Bats Species Adult Escaped
      M F  
B05 11 Gould’s 3 8 1
B18 6

1

Lge Forest

Broadnose

 

1

6 1
B20 2 Gould’s 1 1  
B01 1 Gould’s   1  
B04 1 Gould’s 1    
B03   Gould’s     3
B06   Gould’s     1
Burke Rd.  
T06 1 Gould’s   1  
  23 Total 6 17 6

We collected 23 bats altogether, of three species, with 6 escapees, that flew out when the ladder bumped the box and almost 3 females for each male.

 

8910Old female, White spot, 4408006

After a month’s absence, she was back again, the only one of her generation to reappear, feisty as ever. She’s now been captured 64 times, her weight about normal for Sept. We won’t be able to tell until next month whether she’s pregnant and still interested in reproducing.

 

Large Forest Bats

The 6 females this month take the total of this species to 18, 9 of them last Sept. We get males in Apr-May, and females in Sept. One female, 16964, was among those found a year ago, and is the only one ever to appear twice.

Sugar Gliders

Steve did the woodland boxes, and peeking into glider box 3 (same tree as bat box 16), found a glider staring up at him. He’s sure there were two others further down in the box. It’s the first time this box has been occupied.

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Bats at Wilson Reserve 19th August

12345Written by: Robert Bender

A fair bit of rain overnight and early morning, but the afternoon was fine. So off to the woods we marched.

 

 

 

Ben and Kristin accompanied Steve, Brandont and the Chambers followed Dani and me. Steve and Dani har-nessed up and did all the box-checking, young Sophie scribing.

 

 

 

Several boxes had Huntsman spiders in them, as usual.

 

 

Steve got one female Gould’s from B17, and reported a growling glider in Glider box 2, so Dani’s team went back to have a look at it/them. We last had gliders in November 2013, so this is very good news.

 

 

 

Sophie and Will were very eager to learn about bats, and most helpful.

 

 

As there was only one bat, Dani weighed and measured it in the car park, then stayed for a chat with Steve, Kristin and Stanley, while the rest of us marched back into the woods with the ladder, so I could return the bat to her box.

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The peak box usage in August was the first two years after bats decided to start using them, and since then it has collapsed to a low but variable level. They should all be back next month.

 

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Ben declared an intention to station himself beneath the glider box and watch it/them emerge at dusk. Petra said she’d bring the children again as they were most excited by their afternoon’s experience, and I had the afternoon off.

 

 

Our one little bat sat for her portrait before being re-stored to her box. She was banded in June, and assessed as not having had pups yet – an adolescent.

 

The team was just the usual regulars: Steve, Dani, Stanley and me, plus five new recruits: Ben Wilson, Brandont Tiang, (both conservation students) and the Chambers family from Sunbury, mother Petra and two young scouts, Will and Sophie.

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