Going into bat for creatures

Creatures of the night in Piney Lakes Reserve are sending some local residents a little batty. About 12 volunteers from the Friends of Piney Lakes will track and record the number of bats seen inhabiting the area in the next few weeks. The group will use fine nets called mist traps, as well as ultra-sonic sound detectors, which will allow them to record the type and number of bat species before releasing them.

The City of Melville mayor Katie Mair said many people were completely unaware of the plethora of life that existed within the area. “It would be fantastic to be able to show visitors how much the Piney Lakes has managed to preserve and protect the wildlife that exists right in the middle of suburbia,” she said. She said an existing nature trail through the reserve would be expanded and bat nesting boxes and signage along the trail would be erected by March.

Friends of Piney Lakes volunteer Joe Tonga, who will be involved in the project, said bats offered biological control over mosquitoes and flies. “This is particularly helpful for suburban areas with bodies of water which are the breeding grounds for many insects,” he said. Long-neck tortoises and more than 60 bird varieties can also be found in the Piney Lakes reserve.

— Published in the Melville Times

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