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And the flying foxes put on a wonderful show

And the flying foxes put on a wonderful show

The Wolli Creek Preservation Society is holding their annual ‘Bat Watch’ Picnic again.  It is a great evening outing to have a picnic, then watch the Grey-headed flying foxes head out in search of food.  Personally I think it is a beautiful sight.

DATE:            Friday 10th March 2017

TIME:             6.30pm – 8.30pm.  There will be ‘batty crafts’ for the kids from 6.30pm.

ADDRESS:   Turrella Reserve, Earlwood.

BRING:          You, your family & friends, food & drink, something to sit on & insect repellent because the mosquitoes can be bad.

I was fortunate to see two mums with pups.

I was fortunate to see two mums with pups.

A bat huddle.

A bat huddle.

I recently visited the flying fox camp in Wolli Creek for the first time & what a delightful experience that was.  We have such a treasure on our doorstep.

The trees that the bats roost in are visible from Turrella Reserve. The walk to get there is quite easy.  You enter the bush of Wolli Creek at the National Parks & Wildlife sign & follow your nose taking the paths that travel downhill. Within 10-15 minutes, depending on how often you stop to look around, you come to a massive sandstone boulder locally known as ‘Dragon Rock.’   Look over the boulder & there across Wolli Creek are the bats – in all their splendor.

I really liked that the camp is separated from people because it keeps the bats safe.   The view from Dragon Rock is excellent & you will want to take your camera because the sight is amazing.

Wolli Creek is quite wild in this area. There is no concrete & no mown lawns. The bats hang from a group of tall Eucalypts & to a group of Poplar trees further along the creek. If you return to the main path & head west following the creek, you will see the bats hanging in the Poplar trees. These trees are much nearer to the path allowing a closer view of the bats roosting here.  Quiet though, as they are sleeping.

There are around 12,000 flying foxes, including endangered grey-headed flying foxes in the Wolli Creek camp.  This is an extremely important piece of bushland close to the city.  It provides much benefit for people & also offers a safe place for wildlife. Despite the weeds, there is much biodiversity here & there were many plants in flower.  I’ve seen birds in Wolli Creek that I haven’t seen in Marrickville LGA.  The bush is particularly useful for little birds.

It is worthwhile taking a trip up Nannygoat Hill. I did not know that there is an easy way to the top from the back of the hill, so we took the harder route. It is not too hard, but there are some sandstone boulders taller than people that require you to climb & scramble over.

Part of the walking track

Part of the walking track

Wolli Creek is a popular place for people to exercise. While we were there a number of people were running the tracks & one man had done the circle up & down Nannygoat Hill around fifteen times & had not finished yet. I mention this because how hard the trek to the top of the hill really depends on your fitness level.  The view from the top of Nannygoat Hill made any struggle worth it.

If you want to take the easy route, you can access ‘The Walk’ via Albert Park on Hocking Avenue. This path travels over flatter sandstone, but the track is not suitable for wheelchairs or people unsteady on their feet.

Every month volunteers for the Wolli Creek Preservation Society count the bats from Turrella Reserve as they fly out for the night. The Society welcomes volunteer counters. It is not hard to count the bats & training is provided.

Bring mosquito repellant, as the mossies are hungry in this area. Bring water to drink as well. The count takes between 45-minutes to an hour. It’s a peaceful experience & surprisingly to me, the bats are quiet as they fly overhead.   Any questions & to let the Society know you are coming email – info@wollicreek.org.au

Bats galore!  It's a wonderful sight.

Bats galore! It’s a wonderful sight.

Wolli Creek looking west. The colony is on the left.

Wolli Creek looking west. The colony is on the left.

Wolli Creek looking east.

Wolli Creek looking east.

 

And the flying foxes put on a wonderful show

And the flying foxes put on a wonderful show

I have just come back from a wonderful ‘Social Bat Watch’ event in Turrella Reserve put on by the Wolli Creek Preservation Society as part of Australasian Bat Month.

It was hard to estimate because of the happy children running everywhere, but about 200 people came to watch around 9,500 flying foxes leave their camp to hunt for food during the night.

It was a BYO picnic & that is what most people did.   The Wolli Creek Preservation Society had an information stall, plus games & face painting for the kids.  By the end of the night, most children were wearing painted bat faces & carrying paper bats on sticks & other hand-made bat toys.  Sparklers ended the night when the bats had finished flying overhead.

People relaxed, drank & ate & as dusk fell, out came the bats – a dribble at first & then the sky was full of these beautiful creatures. For some reason, perhaps curiosity, a greater number than usual took the route directly over the crowd & it was spectacular to watch.

I am biased, as the sight of bats flying overhead in large numbers is one of my favourite sights, but friends who had not experienced this before were really delighted. If you haven’t done it, you are missing something incredibly beautiful – and it is free, every night at Turrella Reserve.

The start of the flyover.

The start of the flyover.  As it gets darker more flying foxes fill the sky.

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

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

March is ‘Australasian Bat Month’ & there is a ‘Social Bat Watch’ event on the evening of Friday 6th March 2015 in Turrella Reserve. The event is supported by the Wolli Creek Preservation Society, City of Canterbury Council, Rockdale City Council, Transport Sydney Trains & the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage.

Bring a picnic dinner, rug or chair & insect repellent (for the mosquitoes) & watch thousands of grey-headed flying foxes stream out of their Turrella camp.

I have done this a few times & it is a glorious experience. A few bats start flying & within minutes, the camp starts to leave to go hunting for food.  Bats fly in a few directions & thousands fly over Turrella Reserve. You get a good view of them.

It’s wonderful to watch. I really was awestruck the first time I witnessed this & wondered why I had this on my ‘to-do’ list for so long without actually doing it.

We are so lucky to have such nature close to us. Flying foxes are extremely beneficial to the environment & without them, our forests would be in real trouble.

There will be ‘Batty Craft’ for young & old & the opportunity to learn about flying foxes.

WHERE: Turrella Reserve beside Wolli creek.  Enter via Henderson Street Turrella or Finlays Avenue Earlwood.  Please note that there are no toilets at Turrella Reserve.

WHEN: Friday 6th March 2015.

TIME: 6.30pm – 8.30pm.

Bring your camera too.  You will be wanting to take photographs of this awe-inspiring event.

For more information email bats@wollicreek.org.au

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