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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

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