Friday, 14 February 2014

A bit about bats

Recently a talk about Microbats was given Anna McConville at the Lake Macquarie Landcare Super Saturday Session.

Microbats are more common than you think. There are 23 microbat species in the Lower Hunter with five local threatened varieties. Many are no bigger than your thumb, they have small eyes and all of them use echolocation (hearing) to find their favourite food, insects, especially mosquitoes.

Unlike the Megabats, such as the Flying Foxes, who use their superb night vision, feed on nectar and pollen and have a wing span of up to 1.2m you would hardly notice a microbat.

Microbats are hollow-roosting, mossie-munching mammals that can eat up to 50% of their body weight each night. They will shimmy under bark, congregate in caves, tuck into tunnels, and cozy up in culverts. Being so small they only need small spaces to snuggle into which is why loose bark, hollow logs and branches are needed for their survival.

There are several different types of microbats.
  • Gleaning microbats are slow fluttering flyers who pluck their food on the wing.
  • Free-tailed microbats are swift fliers who like the wide, open spaces.
  • Forest bats are the smallest and fly around the branches and canopies of trees eating mosquitoes, flies and moths.
  • Gould’s Wattled Bat is the most common and likes the forest edges.
  • Fishing bats skim the still water surface for aquatic insects.
  • Bent-Wing Bats can fly up to 10km a night and are a Threatened Species
  • Greater broad-nosed bats are a larger beetle eating microbat which is also threatened.

Microbats can best be seen at dusk and are often mistaken for small birds. The only one that you are likely to hear is the White-Stripe Freetail bat whose cicada like cheap is within the audible range of humans.

There will be an opportunity to search for Microbats a little later this year on the community spotlighting events and as part of the Bioblitz event in September.

There are lots of interesting fact sheets available from the Australasian Bat Society covering topics such as

Sponsor’s Spot- Shields Auto Repairs

The CPPA would like to acknowledge the support of our sponsor since 2005 Shields Auto Repairs by letting Mark Shields tell you about why he and Leanne are in business.

Shields Auto repairs at 98 Excelsior Pde Carey Bay, has been in business since 2000 and has 80% local clientele.

This was my father’s business, which he started the year I was born. It started as a mobile car repair business in Sydney. When we moved up here we were one of the first few mobile repairers apart from the ‘big ones’.

Everyday is great this is our second home. It probably should be our primary home we’re here the most.

The funniest thing that has happened at work was changing a Hilux gear box in a field, in the dark at Quorrobolong, and having German shepherd guard dog come charging up whilst under the car growling at me with it’s mouth at my steel cap, not funny at the time but it was afterwards.

Our ‘point of difference’ is honesty, trying to do the best job we can and old fashion values.

The achievement we are most proud of is buying our new workshop and finally getting it open after 2 years. 

We’re having our Grand Opening on March 1st 

noon-2pm and everyone is welcome to join us for...

sausage Sizzle
jumping castle
face painting
kids activities
lucky door prize
motor vehicle displays 
and more

Throughout the year all of the Chronicle sponsors will be provided with an opportunity to share their story.

TASNG Waste Working Group update by Steve Dewar

Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group in conjunction with Toronto Tidy Towns has been working hard to clean the shopping area between Aldis and Woolies that had fallen into a very trashy state. 

We obtained grants from Keep Australia Beautiful and Toronto Workers Club to survey, cleanup and renew under the principles of zero tolerance to litter and graffiti and encouraging recycling.

The new twin bins for rubbish and recycling materials will soon go in along the Boulevarde and around the Council car park near Woolies. Graffiti has been removed in the car park stairwells and the walls coated with silicon for easy wipe-off in the future. 
Lomandra plants have been clipped back and 200 plants have been planted and mulched in the car park garden bed. There has been constant vigilance to keep the area clean and signs have been put up warning of the fines for littering.

As part of Clean Up Australia Day awareness there will "the Opening of the Bins” on Saturday March 1 at 10am outside Woolworths by Greg Piper. Green bags, cigarette butt holders and a native plant will be handed out. This will be followed by an Eco Angels' survey of the rubbish to see if there has been any improvement and the drains will be stenciled with the message "this drain empties into Lake Macquarie".

Everyone is welcome to come along on March 1 at 10am to celebrate the new clean look!

TASNG Community Garden by Chris Murphy

At the end of 2013 a new page was turned for the Toronto Seniors and Citizens Club who, with help from the local Lion's Club, have reinvented themselves and are now a new organisation - The Toronto Community Centenary Hub!  

This is now an evolving organisation for all members of the community, young and old to come together and join in many new activities. The Hub will now be the parent body for the Community Garden.

Late 2013 the council supported a proposal by the Toronto Area Community Garden for additional accessible vegie beds, a food forest (fruit trees, berries), an irrigation system and more. The Hub will implement this project, what a wonderful start to the year!

Farewell and thank you to Michelle and Bea who have been instrumental in making the local community garden a reality. Welcome to Chris Murphy the new community garden contact mob 1048 504 039.

Threatened Species Last Stand On the Coal Point Peninsula Update

In 2014, as part of the Threatened Species Last Stand on the Coal Point Peninsula project, there will be lots of support on offer and opportunities to learn about the local bushland, locate the treasures that are hidden amongst the shrubbery, identify the worrisome weeds that need constant control and befriend the wildlife that share the Coal Point – Carey Bay area.

Every Thursday there is landcaring on the public reserves along the Coal Point peninsula. On the 1st Thursday of the month there is an extra landcare session at Threlkeld Reserve. There are experts on hand to share skills and knowledge. You can pop in for any amount of time you want to. The Coal Point Progress Association’s blog has a calendar of local landcaring events, information and links to resources about the project.

Over the past year several ‘neighbourhood nodes’ of interest have been identified where locals have been keen to get additional support to look after their ‘bigger backyard’. This year these nodes will be used a starting point to connect the interested locals as a guardians group for their patch. The ‘neighbourhood nodes’ have been called Carey Bay, West Ridge and Stansfield. The dates when landcaring activities and Sunday support will be happening in these areas is available on the blog.

On the first Sunday of the month from 10am-1.30pm a Guardians Group field day will be held for local landholders who live adjacent to public reserves. Two bush regenerators will be on hand to share their knowledge and skills.

At the field day you can
· Discover and photograph the beauty in the bush on a guided walk.
· Learn about the unique local native plants at your back fence
· Identify the weeds in the local bush and learn how to control and remove them
· Enjoy a morning tea with your neighbours who share the bigger backyard bushland
· Find out about local landcaring activities
· Participate in a landcaring session
· Sign up for the Backyard Habitat for Wildlife program
· Have an environmental property assessment undertaken as part of the Land for Wildlife program
· Register for a National Tree Day planting
· Purchase or order
o  native plants
o  nest boxes and
o  bush regeneration services

Come along on the 2nd of March for the West Ridge-West gathering or 6th of April for the West Ridge-East event. You’ll meet your neighbours, learn new skills and find out about the wonderful bushland we share. Contact Suzanne Pritchard for more information, to RSVP and for meeting place directions on 0438 596 741 or

The meeting spot for the West Ridge West gathering on March 2nd is at the top of Whitelock Street near the Hunter Water gates.