In mid-February, community volunteers and Merri Creek Management Committee staff bravely ventured out after a rainy afternoon to Merri Park in Northcote for the final nest box monitoring session for the season. Thirty-two nest boxes were installed in trees in Merri Park in September 2019. The group was on the lookout for microbats, in particular Gould’s Wattled Bat and the White-striped Free-tail Bat, both of which use hollows and, potentially, nest boxes. Both types of microbat are thought to be in the area.
Volunteers watched for microbat activity around nestboxes and recorded any incidental fauna sightings. A recently purchased bat detector was used to detect echolocation from microbats. Although it was quiet around the nest boxes, a microbat was spotted feeding under a nearby street light and its echolocations were recorded by the bat detector. From the spectrogram (above), we identified it as a Gould's Wattled Bat - its echolocations occur at a frequency between 25-34 kHz.
We plan to continue nest box monitoring in Merri Park next Spring and Summer, both for birds and microbats, and to use the bat detector as an aid for microbat identification. Thanks to all the volunteers that helped this season. If you haven't already subscibed to our events notification emails please do, and watch out for opportunities to help out with nest box monitoring. We also welcome reports of the nest boxes being used.
Our nest box project at Merri Park was supported by generous community donations to the Merri Creek Environment Fund and a grant from the Hazel and Bruce Arthur Bequest.