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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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And the flying foxes put on a wonderful show

The flying foxes put on a wonderful show

March is ‘Australasian Bat Month’ & the Wolli Creek Preservation Society will be having their annual Bat Watch Picnic in Turrella Reserve.

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.  To me this has been one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen.

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.

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 11th March 2016.

TIME: 6.30pm. Last year’s event was finished by 8.30pm.

This is a free event.  I will post a reminder & more details closer to the date.

 

The Inner West is at serious risk of losing precious bushland of the Wolli Valley for the WestConnex Motorway.  If you have never been, this is a perfect opportunity to see why the community organization, the Wolli Creek Preservation Society, is lobbying hard to save it.

Wolli-Creek-walk-Saving-Our-Trees

 

This is in the section of Wolli Creek that is under threat  Hopefully it will be untouched by the WestConnex Motorway and safe for future generations.

This is in the section of Wolli Creek that is under threat  As you can see it is a beautiful place.   It needs to be kept safe for both the wildlife & for future generations.

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

Another local National Tree Day event happening this Sunday 27th July 2014 at Illoura Reseve Earlwood with the Wolli Creek Preservation Society.  I am a bit late posting with the RSVP by noon today, but I am sure they will be happy for as many participants as possible & there is a phone number to check.

Another local opportunity to plant trees.

Another local opportunity to plant trees.

Red-eye tree frog.  Photo by Shikhei Goh for National Geographic with thanks

Red-eye tree frog.  Photo by Shikhei Goh for National Geographic with thanks

The Wolli Creek Preservation Society (see Blogroll) are holding a talk by Marion Anstis from the Frog & Tadpole Study Group NSW called – ‘Frogs of Sydney – are they in trouble?’

This should be an interesting talk for Marrickville LGA residents.  All most of us need to do is pop in a water feature & within days the frogs arrive.  In our garden small frogs hibernate under the lawn during winter.  Marrickville Community Nursery had a natural rainwater pond positively brimming with tadpoles when I visited last February.  Frogs feature in our landscape so it would be good to know more about them.

From the flier – “The talk is an introduction to some of Sydney’s frogs & tadpoles, how they live & how they are surviving in present times.

Marion Anstis has had a lifetime career as a high-school music teacher while pursuing her passion for frogs & tadpoles in her spare time. Since retirement, she has written three books on frogs & tadpoles & several scientific papers, culminating in her latest publication ‘Tadpoles & Frogs of Australia’, in which she lays out profiles of every Australian frog & the life histories (eggs & tadpoles) of most of them to help conservationists identify which tadpole/egg belongs to which frog. She has also written a book for children which has been very well received.

Marion helps with raising public awareness about frogs through her association with the Frog & Tadpole Study Group where she goes on field trips & gives talks at meetings and in the community.”

  • WHEN:  Thursday 1st  August 2013
  • TIME: 7.30pm – Light refreshments.  Gold coin donation
  • WHERE: Canterbury & Earlwood Caring Association (CECAL)
    15 Clarke Street Earlwood (entry Lewins Street).
  • BOOKINGS: 0431 914 553 or info@wollicreek.org.au

The Frog & Tadpole Study Group has an open group on Facebook for those interested https://www.facebook.com/groups/FATSNSW/?fref=ts

They also have a website – http://www.fats.org.au/en/

National Tree Day 2012 at Wolli Creek

I went to a lovely National Tree Day event today organized by the Wolli Creek Preservation Society – contact link on blogroll on the left-hand column.  A large crowd of all ages divided into small groups for a guided walk through the area of Wolli Creek bushland that is at risk of being destroyed for an extension to the M5 motorway tunnel.

From the Wolli Creek Preservation Society newsletter June 2012 – “The top priority for the society at present is the threat posed to the Wolli Valley bushland by the Roads & Maritime Services proposed duplication of the M5 east motorway tunnel. Plans for a cut-and-cover tunnel east of Bexley Road would wipe out a rare stand of remnant rainforest trees, wreck the natural creek line & destroy two hectares of high-priority bushland where restoration work has proved highly successful.  Exploratory drilling could happen at any time.”

A lovely way to indicate the path, trees & places of note

Painted hands prepared by local school children marked the track & here & there in the bush some of the beautiful trees were wrapped in colourful material.  This was very successful in bringing one’s eye to the range of trees within this area.  It was a gorgeous effect & must have taken quite a while for those who prepared the site for today.  It was interesting to have the time to look at the trees that could be lost to the M5 tunnel & appreciate just how many very large trees are located in this section of Wolli Creek.

What was also nice & helpful was that plants, weeds & trees were labeled along the path allowing us to learn their names, as well as know what vegetation was good & what were weeds.

This Sydney Peppermint was massive with a girth of around 5-metres

There was also a historical section called ‘Bowen’s Camp’ showing where a couple with two children lived during the Great Depression of the 1930s.  This would not have been an easy time & though water is close, growing food must have been hard in the sandy soil.  I thought it quite lovely that the sandstone markers the Bowen family used for their paths & gardens had been preserved & not lost over time.

The walk finished at the new Bioretention Basin – see – http://bit.ly/Ms5rzR  & then went up to Johnston Avenue where a sumptuous morning tea was waiting.  A volunteer gave a number of illustrated talks about the history of this section of Wolli Creek & how the M5 motorway tunnel would literally destroy the area we just walked through.

I’ve been to a number of National Tree Day events & planted trees. This was the first event where I was given time to admire trees as well as information about an area of bushland that I knew very little about.  I enjoyed the experience & very much hope that a new route is found for the M5 motorway tunnel.

A short diversion of the M5 tunnel route would allow a very special piece of vital bushland to be retained.  This would be very good for wildlife that have very little in terms of real areas of habitat left in the inner west & also provide many ongoing & important health benefits for the community.  Wolli Creek itself & the Wolli Creek Preservation Society deserve our support to retain this precious area of remnant Sydney bushland.

The section of Wolli Creek under threat is more than trees. It is also huge sandstone rocks & all the flora, including rare orchids

Wolli Creek is full of trees just like these.

 

This is in the section of Wolli Creek that is under threat

The only local event for National Tree Day this year is ‘Hug a tree in Wolli’ organised by the Wolli Creek Preservation Society.  Their pamphlet says, For National Tree Day this year, instead of planting trees in Wolli we want to celebrate some of the magnificent mature trees that are already there!”

This precious pocket of rainforest is the subject of a great news segment recently on the 7.30 Report on ABC1, which you can watch here – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-07-21/residents-concerned-in-the-face-of-road-expansion/4145278

It will happen on –

  • Sunday 29th July
  • 10 am to 12 noon
  • Meet at the junction of Bexley Road & the footpath leading to Johnston Street for a short guided walk.
  • They ask that you, “wear sensible walking shoes & clothes & bring a plate & join other tree huggers for tea, cake & a chat about the threat to the area.”

There is also a short video about the event here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzAM0Q5k2D0&feature=share

It is quite an important event as this area of Wolli Creek that is at extreme risk should the NSW government decide to extend the M5 at the end of 2012.  If this area were destroyed it would be an incredible loss to the community & especially the wildlife.

Wolli Creek is a very special & important area.  It is vital habitat for flying foxes as well as the overall biodiversity of the Inner West.  We cannot destroy everything for roads.  Nature needs a place & people also need nature.  I’m with Ansel Adams who said, “It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.”  Let’s hope this doesn’t eventuate & they find an alternative route for the tunnel expansion.

Marrickville Council will be celebrating National Tree Day later in the year on Sunday 9th September 2012 with tree planting planned for the Marrickville Golf Course.  I will write more about this closer to the date.

Wolli Creek

World Forest Day was yesterday. I missed it, which shows just how on the lookout you have to be for these major days designed to raise community awareness.  Google have done something great to mark World Forest Day by putting together a Google Street View of the Amazon River. With a couple of clicks you can join a speed boat as it cruises down the Amazon, stop where you want, look up, look down.  I’ve done it & it’s great. I’m a real fan of Street view as it allows me to travel & look at street trees & other things around the world.  There are similar similar apps for ipad.

The other thing you can do on this webpage is stand in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest & see what you would see if you were actually standing there & do a 360 degree turn.  I’ve only known two people who have actually been to the Amazon.  They would say that virtual is nowhere near the same as physical, but I’ll take what I can.

You can also have a few seconds of mindless fun because the coloured balls at the top of the webpage move if you put your curser in them. http://googleblog.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/visit-amazon-on-world-forest-day-with.html

Then you may want to have a look at the work being done by Amazon Watch as there are some pretty horrible things happening there with indigenous people being forced to leave the forest, other indigenous tribes fighting the loss of the forest through logging & gross environmental contamination by oil company Chevron, as well as the Belo Monte Dam.  Amazon Watch have all sorts of campaigns going so you may want to send an email, send an e-card or sign a petition to help the indigenous people save the ‘lungs of the world.’  http://amazonwatch.org/

Closer to home, part of Wolli Creek is under threat with the RTA considering a ‘cut & cover’ tunnel to extend the M5 Motorway.  Wolli Creek is the most significant piece of bushland in the Inner west & many in the community have been working hard to preserve & re-vegetate it.  The area is crucial habitat for urban wildlife, including the endangered Grey-Headed Flying Fox.  Contact details of Wolli Creek Preservation Society are in my blogroll.  The link is an old article from 2010, but it discusses what is planned & has a map of where the works will be.  http://smh.drive.com.au/roads-and-traffic/motorway-mows-down-proposal-to-preserve-lungs-of-south-sydney-20101102-17cdm.html

The small urban forest of old Monteray Pines at Pine Park Dolls Point on the shore of Botany Bay has to be experienced. It's a stunning place filled with birds. I love it.

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