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












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


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








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



Lge Forest



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


Lge Forest




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.


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.




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


Gould’s Lge Forest 3


C46 2



Lge Forest





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


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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