Burdekin Park 13.1.2011


Dragged the whole family Drove to Singleton today and visited the grey-headed flying foxes in Burdekin Park.

I’ve been meaning to go there for so long, after reading about some of the residents’ dislike of the poor animals and the council’s desire – perhaps now changed? – to move the colony on.

In 2009 the Herald reported that the council was ‘losing patience’ with the bats:

 “Singleton council is this week hoping to finalise efforts to get rid of a big bat colony, with an application to move the animals being put to the federal Environment Department.

Thousands of bats have called Burdekin Park home for about a decade.

Council is losing patience, after the animals destroyed a further 10 trees in the park…”

Fortunately bureaucrats had more sense about this colony than the Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett had about the bats in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney, where a licence to harass their colony  into moving was granted – allowing the RBG to continue this awful practice for twenty years.

By mid 2010 the Herald was reporting that removals of damaged trees from Burdekin Park were to take place at night so as not to harm the flying foxes:

“The first stage of the controversial Burdekin Park tree maintenance program began last night with the removal of eight 150-year-old trees that have been a haven for flying foxes.

The trees, which have been deteriorating through old age and defoliation due to the flying foxes, are being removed by Singleton Council and Energy Australia.

The council has made it clear that the work is not being carried out to rid the park of the flying foxes, but to make the park safe…

The council’s manager of parks and facilities…said physical constraints plus threatened species legislation had made it difficult to obtain approval for relocation of the flying foxes.

He said relocation attempts in Singleton and other sites had proved expensive and unsuccessful.

Local, state and federal government licences, approvals and permits to complete the work had to be obtained by the council before work could start…”

No doubt bat conservation organisations would know how many colonies of grey-headed flying foxes there are in areas close to towns or cities. 

I’d be spruiking about this colony if I were Singleton council. What a lovely example of eco-tourism. The bats today watched us as we walked around the park; they have gorgeous little faces. I’d like to know when they sleep, since they couldn’t possibly sleep for other bats squawking in the day, and at night they have to forage for food.

 These important pollinators are listed as vulnerable; they can fly 60 to 100 km a day and disperse 10s of thousands of  seeds in a night. Ku-ring-gai Council has a page dedicated to them (sadly headed ‘Native animals and pests’ but anyway…) with some interesting links. I know some people are afraid of them, although I don’t think there’s much logic to that. If you come across an injured one, call a (vaccinated and) trained person to come and assist the animal; don’t do it yourself.

There’s a link to a page on the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water website about  guidelines for netting garden fruit trees to prevent injury or death of flying foxes and birds. The net, apparently, needs to be taut rather than just thrown over the tree and needs to be made of the right material. I was saddened to see a vineyard incorrectly netted on the way to Singleton. (See photo at the bottom of the page.)

I wonder whether some of these bats fly down to Newcastle to feed on our fig trees.

 It’s a really lovely little park and a credit to the council in Singleton.  It’s well worth a visit. If you double click on any of the photos you’ll get an idea of how many flying foxes live in the park.Home


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One Response to “Burdekin Park 13.1.2011”

  1. Ali Says:

    thanks for sharing this. sadly Flying Foxes are mostly misunderstood & the important role they play as pollinators is not so well known. I wonder how many of these GHFF’s have been displaced already due to other industry activities in the region.

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