Monday, 2 June 2008

Aussie bats given out

I've been finding a few moth wings, not attached to the insects body, in my moth trap. I suspect that it is probable the work of a wasp, but I haven't caught one in the trap. Later in the summer we do get bats, probably Pipistrelles in the garden. I think that these do take some of the moths attracted towards the trap, but I doubt if they manage to drop the remaining wings in the trap. I've never managed a photograph of a bat in Kent, I really must find some sites that would allow me to get some pictures. There are only about 10 species that occur in Kent and some of those are very rare, The Kent Field Club published a fascinating book "the Bats of Kent", by Peter and Pauline Heathcote, in 1994. I don't know how much things have changes since then, but it is full of detail and well worth having.

The only bats that I've managed to take decent pictures of are the Grey-headed Fruit Bats that roost in the Botanical Gardens in Sydney. Unfortunately the numbers have escalated over the last few years and they are damaging the trees that they roost in.

As it is a Botanical Gardens and they have chosen some of the prize specimens it is causing some concern. This is an extract from the Botanical Gardens Web site

"For six years small numbers of flying foxes (averaging less than 100 annually) roosted in the Royal Botanic Gardens. In May 1998 numbers increased significantly to 3500, then to 5000 in1999 and 7300 in 2002.

By early 2007 there were 11,000 flying foxes roosting in the Royal Botanic Gardens and damage to trees is now severe and widespread in and beyond the Palm Grove. The collection of trees in the Palm Grove is of exceptional heritage significance because many of the trees and palms were collected and planted by colonial explorers and botanists. The collection is of international significance because various trees collected worldwide are now rare in the wild due to loss of habitat. This means that there are irreplaceable trees in the collection. According to eminent botanist Prof David Mabberley, the Palm Grove is one of the great tree collections of the world. The first trees were planted in that section of the Gardens in 1828.

According to a report commissioned by the Botanic Gardens Trust in 2005, nine mature trees had died from the effects of roosting flying foxes and seven others were expected to die in the next few years. By 2007 thirteen trees have died, twenty-five are permanently damaged or likely to be permanently damaged, and a further eighteen have temporary (reversible) damage. Among these lists are trees of significant cultural, heritage and scientific value.

The flying fox camp and its environment in the Royal Botanic Gardens is not sustainable – if the camp remains at its current size, or gets larger, the Royal Botanic Gardens will continue to lose significant trees, the Palm Grove will be destroyed and in time the flying foxes will need to move on anyway. A management plan is in preparation to discourage flying foxes from using the Gardens as a roosting site. The plan must take into account the welfare of the flying foxes and the impact any change will have on the species as a whole. It must also ensure that the heritage and scientific collections of the botanic gardens are not further damaged."

That means there are probable more bats to be seen in the botanical gardens in Sydney in one day than in Kent in one year. I hope that they resolve this conflict, without damaging the population of the bats, they are an extraordinary sight, especially in a city centre.

Moths I did catch a Buff-tip last night, first for the year. This is the moth that is beautifully disguised as the broken end of a Silver Birch twig.

1 comment:

Deslilas said...

Clement Ader, the French engineer who built Eole knew the bat.