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.

 

78

 

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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Bat box check at the Organ Pipes, 13 Aug 2017

123456789101112Written by: Robert Bender

We had a fine day, started at noon, and found two large groups of bats – photo of 40 Gould’s in C33. The park was very busy with casual visitors, so we had much show-and-tell. Bridal Creeper everywhere on Main Flat.

 

 

Peeked into glider box 7 and found a Brushtail!

 

 

 

The processing team had already started, with many visitors

 

 

 

 

Emily continued show-and-tell to eager young visitors.

 

 

 

All were welcome to watch bat assessing in progress.

 

 

 

 

Anita had Bethany Seitz as scribe – a new recruit.

 

 

 

Paul Bertuch again brought a mini-busload of his Conservation students up from Frankston. Some scribed, and all learned much from their afternoon with us. There were only 88 bats, so it was all over by 4:30. Several of the new recruits seemed eager to return for more bat monitoring days.

 

Steve found one young Gould’s, PIT-tagged last December, with a large tear in its right wing. We’ll see in October whether it has healed.

 

 

Everyone but Andrew and I went off home once the VC was tidied up and all gear packed into cars. We had two hours until dark, so enjoyed a stroll around the Pipes, watching the shadows creep up the basalt wall.

 

 

Andrew got into doing some weeding, pulling out Flea-bane and Spear thistles. There’s a big patch of Hemlock by the creek below the Pipes. Very toxic weed.

 

 

 

Half a dozen times, a very relaxed fox strolled past us, nose to ground, sniffing out dinner.

 

 

 

A group of ravens remained very active, flying about and cawing, until it was quite dark. Just as we were about to release bats, three dusk visitors came along and joined in – two of them Uni. Melb. science students who know Pia.

 

All the bats flew off quickly, and home we went.

 

Box Bat Species    Adult

  M      F

C33 40 Gould’s 10 30
C36 16 Gould’s 8 8
C47 13

1

Gould’s Lge Forest 3

1

10
C46 2

5

Gould’s

Lge Forest

1

1

1

4

C03 7 Gould’s 3 4
C20 2 Gould’s 1 1
C32 1 Gould’s   1
C17 1 Gould’s   1*
  88 Totals 28 60

* dead

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Bats at Wilson Reserve, 15 July 2017

Written by: Robert Bender

12345

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
M F
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

6

Gould’s

Lge Forest

12

6

16
C39 20 Gould’s 2 18
C45 17 Gould’s 4 13
C22 12

5

Gould’s

Lge Forest

1

1

11

4

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
M F
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

2

2

Gould’s

Broadnose

Lge Forest

16

1

2

10

1

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

Juvenile

M      F

C46 33*

16

Gould’s

Lge Forest

18

7

15

9

   
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

1

Freetail

Gould’s

2

1

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

1

Freetail

Gould’s

 

1

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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