THE flying fox counting activity to be held in Bega on Friday is expected to confirm the breeding colony of grey-headed flying foxes located at Glebe Park Lagoon has reached its peak size.
Regular counting activities have been held each month since the camp formed in October and have shown the camp size gradually increasing through the spring and summer months.
Counter error at the activity during the month of December was thought to be responsible for the slight drop in numbers of flying foxes, with the actual number estimated at being up to 5000 more than the 8325 counted.
However, the overall numbers are significantly lower than 12 months ago, a pattern that is evident across the whole range of the grey-headed flying fox according to the report on the November 2013 count of the National Flying-Fox Monitoring Program.
The report states that “In November counts were conducted at a total of 308 grey-headed flying fox camps with flying foxes found at 101 of these.
“With 95 per cent of the data submitted the estimate for the total grey-headed flying fox population in these camps was 365,000 animals.
“In this count 63 per cent of the counted grey-headed flying foxes were in NSW, 28 per cent in Queensland, nine per cent in Victoria and less than one per cent were recorded in SA and the ACT.”
Hugh Pitty, a local ecologist and organiser of the counting activities at the Glebe Park Lagoon site, said in past years flying fox numbers have reached their peak during February as the breeding colony swells.
“Although the numbers of flying foxes present are significantly lower than the 30,000 counted at this time 12 months ago, I expect a figure of around 20,000 resulting from the counting activity this Friday.”
New volunteers are welcome to join the counting activity on Friday, meeting at 7.45pm at the shelter shed on the southern side of the Glebe Park Lagoon (access from Rose St, Bega).