Wild In Bayside: Bats meeting

We are very pleased with the response to our first "Wild In Bayside" meeting, held on Monday 31 August. Thanks to all who made the effort to come out on a cold evening to learn about microbats and our Batting4Bayside project.

Guest speak Robert Bender talked about his experiences in bat monitoring projects at Organ Pipes National Park and Wilson Reserve in Ivanhoe.

Our Batting4Bayside project is carrying out community engagement and survey work. We will encourage Bayside City Council to consider the needs of microbats, their habitat and survival and biodiversity in general. We have forty boxes set up in people’s back gardens ready to begin monitoring across Bayside. The Council has agreed to putting up another thirty bat boxes across parks and heathlands in Bayside.  

In his talk, guest speaker Robert Bender mentioned that he participates in two bat projects. Councils and other authorities insist on training to ensure people work with ladders safely.

Our own project project is different. We are proposing to use endoscopes. They are snake like narrow cameras attached to extension poles that can be carefully placed up through the bottom opening of the boxes where the microbats access the box. Should we be lucky enough to eventually find any micro bats cuddled up in the top of the boxes, we can photograph them to record numbers and possibly species. We prefer not to open the lids as that is where they congregate and as we do not have a permit to handle wildlife, we do not want to disturb them.

Next week will collect six bat detectors to continue survey work, walking around our neighborhoods collecting data and showing residents what is out and about. We are also looking to train more residents who can then take out some friends and neighbours to share your new found knowledge with them one night using our anabats. Please let us know via info@bayfonw.org.au if you would like us to bring the detectors to your neighbourhood and see what we can find. As the weather is warming up and insects emerge we hope to find some microbats for you. There is time to ask questions and think about including a bat box on your property as well.

It was a pleasure to meet many new faces and hope you learnt about our hidden flying mammals.

Elizabeth Walsh