A bat huddle in the Wolli Creek camp 2015

A bat huddle in the Wolli Creek camp 2015.  

In the Wolli Creek Preservation Reserve along Wolli Creek is an important bat colony.  The camp started in 2007 when Grey-headed flying-foxes first set up a seasonal camp in the Wolli valley.  Numbers then were a few hundred.  In 2013 Wolli Creek became a permanent camp.   Numbers fluctuate, but generally amount to around 12,000 endangered grey-headed flying foxes, so it is a very important camp.

For the first time in years the Wolli Creek bat colony is empty.

The Wolli Creek Preservation Society sent bat count volunteers an email about changes with the camp.

  • On 21st March 2016 there were still a lot of bats on the north side of Wolli Creek.
  • On 3rd April flying fox numbers were lower than expected with no bats at all on the north side of the creek. Bat numbers were estimated at between 1,000 to 5,000.
  • Just two days later the Wolli Creek camp had emptied.

Elsewhere –

  • The Gladesville camp has been empty since May last year Clyde camp has been empty between January & March.
  • On 31st March 2016 Macquarie Fields & Cabramatta camps were empty.
  • The Myles Dunphy camp remains empty.
  • Numbers doubled in the Centennial Park camp from February to March 2016.
  • The Gordon camp went from tens of thousands to empty in days.

So where have the flying foxes gone?  No-one knows yet.  Observers reported that there were lots of flowering trees around Nowra, as well as in the Hunter.  Perhaps the bats have left in search of better food.

Every month since 2008 volunteers for the Wolli Creek Preservation Society count the bats from Turrella Reserve as they fly out for the night.  This is the first month where there will be no count since this initiative started.

I will miss the sight of flying foxes above every evening.  However, it’s good to know that they do move around.  This may help lessen some anti-bat attitude in the community.

Flying foxes start to flyout from their camp in Wolli Creek in 2015

Grey-headed flying foxes start to fly out from their camp in Wolli Creek in 2015