BATEMANS Bay’s most divisive furry fliers are back.
About 10,000 grey-headed flying foxes have once again made the Batemans Bay Water Garden their home after an absence of about six months.
NSW Office of Environment and Heritage threatened species and ecosystems team member Joss Bentley said her team had conducted a bat census at the Water Garden at the end of February.
“There were about 1000 of them then, and obviously a lot more have come,” she said.
While spotted gums at the Garden were not in flower at the start of the month, the absence of nearby nectar had not deterred the bats.
“They can roost here and travel to the gums,” fellow team member Lorraine Oliver said.
“We did a census at Cockwhy Creek (north of Batemans Bay) and found the rainforest was producing fruit.
“We had a wet, cool summer, so it is possible that plants are flowering at different times.”
Ms Oliver said she didn’t know how long the creatures, who have frequently raised the ire of nearby residents, would stay.
“They are not predictable animals, so it is hard to say, but we are really interested in finding out as much as possible about them,” Ms Oliver said.
“They could move out to-morrow.”
The team members advised nearby residents to keep their distance.
“We would also ask people not to disturb them,” Ms Oliver said.
“They are still threatened and declining.”
“If anyone has health and safety concerns, they can visit the Office of Environment and Health website or the Department of Health website.”
The bats’ arrival has not gone unnoticed.
Janelle Wright, of the neighbouring Batemans Bay Salvation Army, said the animals were closer than they had been last year.
“There have to be thousands of them and they seem to fly around more during the day now, whereas it used to be only at night,” she said.
“You can smell them already and we have accepted that it is going to get worse before it gets better.”
The Batemans Bay Museum is also right next to the Garden.
“They are stinky and they have made quite a bit of mess out the back,” Museum volunteer Lesley Moore said.
“Some of our men volunteers make banging noises out the back to keep them away.”
However, last season, curator Myf Thompson was prepared to live and let live.