Bats at Wilson Reserve, 15 July 2017

Written by: Robert Bender


Mid-winter, so very few bats – just 8 this month, and none at Burke Rd. Several casual park visitors stopped for a show-and-tell, then we were off to my place with a very light load: Steve, Dani, Melissa – Stanley had gone home as there were no bats to release at Burke Rd




Dani weighed and measured, and banded one new bat




Melissa did some as well, and I scribed for both.




Drove down to the reserve at 6:45 and released them all. All but one flew off quickly – the one above was already a bit torpid, so I warmed it under my jacket and two minutes later it was ready to flap away, after sitting for its portrait a few times.



There were 10 bats in June, two fewer this month, and not the same ones. So there has been some movement, some leaving, others arriving.

Box Bats Species Adult
B01 4 Gould’s 1 3
B11 2 Gould’s 2
B12 1 Gould’s 1
B03 1 Gould’s 1  
  8 Total 2 6
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Bat box check at the Organ Pipes, 20 June 2017

1234567891011Written by: Robert Bender

Winter brings fewer bats, and that’s what happened this month with just 7 boxes occupied. I arrived late and missed most of the box-checking, but stayed to help Steve do some maintenance on a couple of boxes. Bridal Veil Creeper was rampant all over Main Flat.



Up in the Visitor Centre, work was well under way by the time we drove up.




Just two species for the day, with 11 Large Forest bats




New recruits included two young boys who were very helpful with scribing and checking bat bands against the spreadsheet history files.




Astrid Scott joined us in Feb. and returned this month.





Amanda di Fuccio was with us for her first visit




Anna Feldman, already vaccinated, had her first session of bat-handling with our project.




Jessica Ridout scribed for Anita





And Kael Mason helped by checking the spreadsheet on one laptop




Some of the Large Forest Bats were in boxes on repeat visits, so are perhaps part of the long-term population seeing the park as home.




There were only 112 bats, so it was all over soon after 6 o’clock. Andrew came down to help release the bats.



As happened in April, most of the bats were in the new-multi-chambered boxes, 45 and 46, with 51 of the bats between them.

Box Bat Species    Adult

  M                      F

C46 28



Lge Forest



C39 20 Gould’s 2 18
C45 17 Gould’s 4 13
C22 12



Lge Forest





C36 15 Gould’s 6 9
C30 8 Gould’s 2 6
C38 1 Gould’s 1*  
  112 Totals 35 77

* dead

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Bats at Wilson Reserve, 10 June 2017

123456789Written by: Robert Bender

We had a fine sunny winter afternoon for it, but only three of us turned up – Steve, Stanley and me. Doing the rounds of the boxes took 90 minutes, as all but four were empty, with only earwigs and Huntsmen.




Back at my house, Steve did all the assessing, quickly and efficiently.




Stanley managed the laptop spreadsheet. I scribed.




Box 20 had four bats, one of which was unbanded but had the telltale white spot on top of her head. Doing her matriarchal duties as always – very conscientious.




With only ten bats, assessing was soon over and the bats parked on their hanger in my laundry until after dark. Walked down to the boxes at 6 o’clock.




The bats emerged slowly and reluctantly. 8 flew off.




One young male had gone too far into torpor to fly off, and my attempt to warm him on my hands failed.




White-spot also was far into torpor. So back home again for the ladder.




I put the ladder up at box 20, and found a Huntsman hiding behind the box, that emerged to investigate this unusual event so late at night.




The ten bats were spread over 5 boxes, in ones and twos. The boxes usually frequented in June were all empty. As usual, more females than males. But only the one species. One unbanded bat, but as Steve hadn’t brought a PIT-tag reader we don’t know if it had been tagged, so he banded it, so we can recognize it next time, and remove the band if it is tagged. There were none at Burke Rd.

Box Bats Species Adult
B20 4 Gould’s 1 3
B16 2 Gould’s 1 1
B12 2 Gould’s 2
B05 1 Gould’s 1  
B01 1 Gould’s 1
  10 Total 4 6
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Bats at Wilson Reserve, 13 May 2017

12345678Written by: Robert Bender

As it’s May, bat groups were crowded into only 3 boxes and most were empty. Dani found 3 species in box 3: Gould’s (left) Broadnose (right) and Large Forest (still in the bag) (Photo: M. Giovas)


The Moore family was back again, Peter continuing to log on time towards his environment badge for scouts, doing box scribing, and little sister Liza irrepressibly curious and chatty. Dani stretched out a Broadnose wing so she could see the fingers. (Photo M Giovas)



It was soon over (including a gumboot venture into the pool beneath boxes 15 and 1 (which had 8 Gould’s)




The team assembled on my back deck, with Lindy Lumsden and Steve leading banding, Dani and Olwyn assessing. The Moores went off to another event, Peter having competed his hours.




Olwyn, Lindy and Dani




Kristin Semmens was back again from her fieldwork developing and monitoring chainsaw hollows for fauna, getting back into bat assessing.




And we had a new recruit to bat assessing in Heather Kiley,





and a new scribe, Michelle Giovas.




My main tasks were making tea and taking photos. Steve and Stanley had earlier found 12 bats in two tubes at Burke Rd. – the two most-used tubes.

Box Bats Species Adult
      M F
B03 26





Lge Forest






B01 8 Gould’s   8
B05 1 Gould’s 1  
Burke Rd.
T04 10 Gould’s 1 9
T08 2 Gould’s 1 1
  55 Total 22 29
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Bat box check at the Organ Pipes, 29th April 2017

12345678910Written by: Robert Bender

We had another fine windless day, and a big team came to help empty boxes, several undergraduate students. Bridal Creeper out of control all over Main Flat.




As well as the usual Gould’s there were Freetails in four boxes – this is C42, one of the large boxes.




And our first glider nest (with gliders growling at me) in C43, so I left them alone.




With three ladders going, we got the boxes emptied by 2 p.m., meanwhile Pia and Lindy started a processing team in the VC.




Two new recruits were Luke Johnson and Caitlin Surrey, Conservation students at VUT, both vaccinated and eager to start learning bat-handling skills.




Casey, about to submit his PhD thesis, was there as usual with Anita.




And their scribe was a new recruit, Dylan Piscopo.




Many of the Freetails were first-time captures, so Steve was kept busy PIT-tagging them, set up by the window.




The team slowly dwindled as students wandered off to other events, and a small team did the last few bats, finishing up about 7:30 p.m.




Lindy, Pia, Andrew and I stayed to release the 287 bats, with about 40 bats to open and empty. One Freetail was reluctant to fly away, so I set it on my cap until it was ready to go, and it flapped off.

Box Bat Species    Adult

  M      F


M      F

C46 33*



Lge Forest





C45 34 Gould’s 11 22 1  
C34 24 Gould’s 13 11    
C36 21 Gould’s 10 11    
C40 17 Gould’s 3 14    
C39 17 Gould’s 1 13   3
C41 16 Gould’s 6 7 2 1
C01 13 Gould’s 3 10    
C03 13# Gould’s 10 2    
C42 13 Freetail 1 12    
C28 12 Gould’s 1 11    
C30 12 Gould’s   12    
C35 9 Gould’s 1 8    
C17 8






C13 6 Freetail 2 3   1
C27 5* Gould’s 1 4    
C15 4






C20 4 Gould’s 1 3    
C22 3 Gould’s   3    
C16 2# Gould’s 2      
C24 2 Gould’s 1 1    
C07 1 Gould’s 1      
C14 1 Freetail   1    
C44 1 Gould’s 1      
  289 Totals 98 182 3 5

* = 1 escaped # = 1 dead (both were adolescents)


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Bats at Wilson Reserve, 8 April 2017

11Written by: Robert Bender

There was a storm building up, but for 2 hours the weather was windless and dry. We had several new recruits, including the Moore family, as young Thomas is a cub scout wanting to earn activity badges.



The usual Grey Huntsmen occupied several boxes




And Tim Caldwell joined us for a bit, between strolls to film tiger snakes around the reserve. Snakecatchervictoria/




Some passing strollers stopped for a show-and-tell, to see their first microbats




With almost 50 bats, we arrived at the car park just as the thunder announced rain, and had an indoor processing event, to keep out of the wind and stay warm.




Tao is now a confident bat handler, with Michelle to scribe for her.




And new recruit Fiona Enter scribed for Melissa. Steve banded several new bats, mainly from Burke Rd., then had to go home with a very sore shoulder




Little Eliza Moore, interested in everything, made friends with Dani.




By sunset the rain had stopped and the Moore family drove me down to the car park so we could all release the bagged bats. Thomas managed several bags.



And Ian held little Eliza up high, so with help from Phoebe, she could watch bats fly off into the night




And she got to open the last bag, very pleased with her new and exciting experience.

Box Bats Species Adult
B03 21 Gould’s 6 15
B01 9 Gould’s 2 7
B26 8 Gould’s 1 7
B06 6 Gould’s 1 5
B21 2 Gould’s 1 1
B08 1 Gould’s 1
Burke Rd.
T10 6* Gould’s 1 5
T03 2 Gould’s 1 1
  55 Total 14 41

* 1 escaped

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Bats at Wilson Reserve, 18 March 2018

12345Written by: Robert Bender

To start off the afternoon on a different note, Angela brought a friend, Jane Rumble, animal carer, raising a baby wombat, which slept much of the afternoon.




Steve had a sore shoulder and went off home after helping Stanley extract 7 bats from the Burke Rd tubes. So there was just one ladder and a long hot afternoon.




There were groups of bats in 8 boxes, so the hanger slowly became heavier.




Adam and Daniel Burrowes looked after the bagged bats all the way round the circuit, with several people stopping for a show-and-tell. Adam spotted a Frogmouth pretending to be a stump near box 3



Dani did the last box about 5:30 and we went off to my house, where Elizabeth Walsh was keen to develop her bat-handling skills, and Geoff Daniel scribed. Elizabeth and Geoff led a contingent from Friends of Bayside in Beaumaris, where I gave a Bat Night talk in August 2015.





Another new recruit was Tao Lee, who had also been vaccinated and developed her handling skills over the afternoon, including assessing White Spot.






Dani had to PIT-tag a few bats, and take membrane samples for her genetics project, as well as managing the spreadsheet to check judgments of reproductive condition of the various bats.


89We didn’t finish until long after dark. Elizabeth, Geoff and Tao were keen to come help release the bats. So we drove down to the car park, and the bats were all gone in about 15 minutes – 40 of them, eager to get on with feeding on such a perfect foraging night. Geoff makes bat boxes for the Bayside group, and was keen to see what a bat box monitoring project does.


After many photos of white bags, I got one of two bats flying off Elizabeth’s hand. We finished up at 9:30 p.m. everyone very tired after a long day.

Box Bats Species Adult
B13 14 Gould’s 6 8
B14 8 Gould’s 8
B19 6 Gould’s 1 5
B26 4 Gould’s 4
B21 3 Gould’s 1 2
B23 1 Gould’s 1 2
B04 1 Gould’s 1
B18 1 Gould’s 1
Burke Rd.
T05 3 Gould’s 1 2
T02 1 Gould’s 1
T08 1 Gould’s 1  
T09 1 Gould’s 1  
T11 1 Gould’s 1
  47 Total 13 34
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