Batting4Bayside aims to learn more about microbats in Bayside through community-based research, and to ensure there is effective action to conserve them. This includes providing bat boxes to provide roost sites where there are not enough natural tree hollows.
Microbats are tiny insect-eaters. They are much smaller than fruit-eating bats like the Grey-headed Flying Fox.
In February 2012 and March 2013 a total of around 130 people of all ages came to events that the Bayside Environmental Friends Network and ourselves organised at Cheltenham Park. We learnt from the Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology (ARCUE) about bats and helped survey them, using harp traps and bat detectors. In 2011-13 ARCUE, with support from Earthwatch and the Council, surveyed seven sites in Bayside and detected a total of ten bat species.
During the warmer months of 2013 and 2014, we were fortunate to obtain several Anabat detectors on loan from ARCUE. This video shows how Anabats are used. By May 2014, we had trained 31 people, with three of them going on to hold three community citizen science sessions involving another 23 residents.
During the warmer months of 2014-2015 we held community events to look for microbats at Cheltenham Park, Elsternwick Park, Dendy Park and Long Hollow Heathland, with a total of around two hundred people coming.
Trained people have borrowed Anabats and so far 29 have been recording passes on their own with at least 2 doing passive monitoring from their homes. As of August 2015, we have collected 97,000 “pass” files and analysed 82,000 of them, with 15,000 still to be analysed. Of those analysed, 15,000 had identifiable call recordings.
- involving a broad range of residents and groups in systematic surveys, research, and monitoring
- performing bat surveys of public and private open spaces
- assembling records of bats in Bayside and other relevant information
- building a basis for discussions with the Council about how to contribute to its activities that affect bats, including land management
- learning about, and sharing, what is possible in bat surveys not led by experts
- running bat box workshops where people will learn how to make and monitor bat boxes
We encourage everyone to help care for our bats. We will inform the Council about key opportunities for improving bat habitats through vegetation, lighting management, and bat boxes on public land.
We are sharing our findings and cooperating with state and national microbat research and conservation efforts.