Friday, May 2, 2014

Going Batty

Photo taken from Project Echo taken by Terino Pukeroa

Last year I missed out on the "Bat Tours" offered by the museum and Project Echo so when I saw them re-advertised this year I jumped at the chance.

So one Thursday evening during the last school holidays the family set out for the museum where we heard a talk given about bats, by a chap from DOC (Dept of Conservation) for about an hour.

Did you know that bats are the only native mammals found in New Zealand. There are two species, apparently there were three but one has become extinct. The chap speaking and showing us clips likes to think that they still are around somewhere but just haven't been sighted in many, many years. I like his optimism!

We then all jumped into our cars to regroup at Hammond Park for a walk to do some long-tailed bat spotting. A couple of bat detectors were handed out and then we took a walk to an area where bats are known to frequent.

It is very odd walking in near pitch black conditions through parklands (which were very bushy) over little bridges etc. We were allowed torches (with red cellophane across the lenses) but many of us chose not to turn them on so as to not alarm any wildlife.

We ended up in a clearing where we all stayed for about 30 - 45 minutes (between us seemed like forever), keeping quiet and just using the radars to try and find the bats whereabouts. Despite having the most perfect evening for it (it wasn't cold, very clear and no wind), we did not end up sighting any but we did hear them feeding on their evening snack on the bat detectors. Then everyone would get a little excited (still being quiet) and all turn in that direction to try and find the little creatures.

I found it rather difficult to suppress giggles whilst the Papa whispered comments like, "what have you gotten us into now, this guy could have lead us anywhere in the dark and we could all be murdered" or "gees I am so glad I am not at home when I could be standing in the dark in the middle of the night in the bush staring up into trees trying to find tiny flying creatures" ... and other cheeky comments.

On the walk back to our cars we were taken along another wee route where we saw loads and loads of glow worms (I originally thought someone had left their Christmas lights up as there were houses above where we walking and there were so many of them) and ended up at a creek where some young eels were playing.

It was a pretty cool evening, informative and a bit of fun being out wandering through the bush tracks at night. It was around 7pm when we finished up.


  1. "gees I am so glad I am not at home when I could be standing in the dark in the middle of the night in the bush staring up into trees trying to find tiny flying creatures" That made me laugh! I like the Papa's sense of humour!

    1. He is much more of an action man and suffers so when I drag him off to museums and such. I of course enjoy watching him trying to behave like a "normal person", such a struggle.

  2. I think bats may be the only native mammals in NZ, but there are plenty of others there in the wild now, thanks to man. Rats, mice, rabbits and beautiful ferrets are the ones that come to mind. You must also have foxes? And stop dragging your man to these boring things ;)

    1. You are quite right I should have written "native mammals" in NZ. There were no land mammals, but we do also have some sea mammals (dolphins etc). Anything else has been introduced. We even have some wallabies here (no guesses where they came from) but no foxes which is good news for the local animals. I do think foxes are kind of cute though. And do not feel sorry for that man, I took him to the theatre when we were dating and he fell asleep before half time! It was Jon English in the Pirates in Penzance ... how do you sleep through that????


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