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Bat monitoring in revegetation

Published 01 Jun 2022 by Dr Richard Thomas (volunteer)

An extensive revegetation project has been underway for the three years at Eurardy Reserve (mid-west WA). We want to know if bats are present in this new planting.

Our volunteer assignment was primarily to set everything up to start recording bat activity over the coming months (and maybe years).

It was tagged onto a seed collection exercise so I joined fellow volunteers John and Bev Koch for a week. On the first day reserve manager Sam Fischer asked us to collect seed. John and Bev, both exceptionally experienced botanists, found two species of Sheoak and some Hakea trees. We cut off the seeds and filled bins for subsequent drying.

Later that day John and I went out armed with an iPad GPS, star pickets, ties and tools to put the bat recorders in at the chosen sample points. It took a while and some frustration to locate the first point but we got there and set up the Audiomoth bat recorder.

It was hard going tramping through the brush in places. We only managed to install two that night with nine to go.

The good news is that some of the York Gums planted in 2019 were pushing 3 or 4 metres high.

John and I spent most of the next day placing recorders in the 2020 and 2021 revegetation sites and also in control sites with mature York Gums.

After spending over a day helping to replace camera batteries and SD cards, it was time to go and pick up all the recorders leaving the posts in place for another session in a few months.

About 650GB of data was obtained. A very cursory look at the recordings suggested there were many more bats in the control sites with the mature York Gums, than in the revegetated sites - as expected.

Five bat species may be present:
  1. Inland Freetail Bat (Mormopterus planiceps),
  2. Gould’s Wattled Bat (Chalinolobus gouldii),
  3. Inland Broadnosed Bat (Scotorepens balstoni),
  4. Lesser Longeared Bat (Nyctophilus geoffroyi) and
  5. Inland Cave Bat (Vespadelus finlaysoni).

My last afternoon was spent cleaning up the kitchen and ablution block so it will be welcoming for the next volunteers.

Sheoak seed collection. Sheoak seed collection.
First recorder placed in 2019 revegetation. First recorder placed in 2019 revegetation.
Driving in the post, 2020 revegetation. Driving in the post, 2020 revegetation.
Mature York gums at the control site. Mature York gums at the control site.
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