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19th Ave New York, NY 95822, USA

Creatures of the Night Moggs Creek Picnic Ground

We were pleased to have 24 people come along to the Moggs Creek Picnic Ground to join us for this activity.

It was a pleasant evening and most people brought along BBQ food that always tastes so good outdoors.

Some of the early comers enjoying their meal in the forest surroundings.

At 6pm it started to get dark, and the initial games of “Bat and Moth” were fun with the younger kids as we waited for darkness to fall. As they played, the calls of the Yellow-bellied Gliders Petaurus australis were echoing throughout the picnic ground and we were optimistic of positive viewing.

Pete leads the kids as they play cooperatively together

Lots of calling continued as we went on a short walk to look for the gliders along the creek loop track. We heard them taking off and landing but were not able to spot them in the dense overhead vegetation. They were certainly playing hard to spot.

Importantly though, other animals were also calling that our ears couldn’t even hear.

Craig brought along his ultrasonic sound detector which revealed the many bat calls from at least six different species:

  • Large Forest Bat – Vespadelus darlingtoni
  • Little Forest Bat – Vespadelus vulturnus
  • Goulds Wattled Bat – Chalinolobus gouldii
  • Chocolate Wattled Bat – Chalinolobus morio
  • Long-eared Bat – Nyctophilus sp (either Goulds Long-eared or Lesser Long-eared, cannot discriminate using call analysis)
  • Eastern False Pipistrelle – Falsistrellus tasmaniensis

largeforestbatCharacteristic soundwaves, known as sonograms – Large Forest Bat.

longearedbatSonogram of Long-eared Bat

Back in the picnic ground Pete and John had set up two mothing sheets to see what insects were around and might visit the sheets.

mothingsheetSetting up a mothing sheet at picnic ground

To our delight, even though it was a relatively cool night, 42 species of insect and moths came in.

And these were some of the beautiful moths and insects that drifted in.

hypobaptatachyhalotariaHypobapta tachyhalotaria

tigermothTiger Moth Spilosoma glatignyi

leomitopaLiometopa rectilinea

leafrollerAustralian Leafroller Trigonospila cingulata

The group members were keen to observe the beauty of the specimens as they grouped around the mothing sheets. John, Pete and Craig were able to help with identification.

helenlanceHelen and Lance photographing some of the specimens.

Pete had brought along some pictures of moths and insects that might be seen during the evening.

peteandmothsPete shares his knowledge with the group.

It was a fascinating evening. We were serenaded throughout the night by Boobook Owls that Pete had alerted by mimicking their calls. Their incessant hoots added to the atmosphere of the forest at night. Although the Yellow-bellied Gliders were not seen they continued to call letting us know that it was their forest and we were visitors. It was fun for our ‘experts’ to share their knowledge with our younger naturalists and seeing their enthusiasm and delight in finding out more about Creatures of the Night.

Margaret MacDonald