The activities for the evening were planned, but someone forgot to tell the bats!
We started at 5.30pm, because the sun sets earlier now. After people had signed in with the assistance of Denis and Jill, Paul and Tom showed everyone how an endoscope can be used to check inside a bat roosting box with minimal disturbance to any bats in residence. They also explained a bit about microbats and their lifestyle. Adam then guided people to where Geoffrey was waiting to describe the bat roost boxes, how they are made, and why. Next Anne demonstrated two types of bat detector, explaining how microbats echolocate to navigate and to hunt for their favourite food, insects. She also described the way Friends of Native Wildlife are using the bat detectors to gather information about what microbats are where in Bayside. Elizabeth completed the information bonanza with more facts, showing leaflets supplied by the Australasian Bat Society, and answering many questions.
But there was disruption to this pre-sunset timetable.
Well before sunset the yelling started. "Bats!" was the shout. Gould's Wattled Bats had decided to come out much earlier than we have ever seen before. In daylight, they sped across the sky, giving all present some of the best views of free-flying microbats you are likely to see.
Given the unexpected views before sunset, it is unsurprising that we found more bats when we later split into groups with one bat detector per group, and wandered off in different directions around Long Hollow Reserve.
It was a great night for all, despite the plunge in temperature during the event. Thanks to those named above, as well as all those who helped with the publicity and planning prior to the event. Our team effort, combined with the cooperation of the bats, made it an evening to remember.