Relief as bats fly the roost
IT'S breeding season for flying foxes and the tell-tale raucous screeching can still be heard throughout the day in the suburb of Woodend.
For years the area has been blessed or plagued - depending on who you talk to - with a colony of flying foxes that reaches the hundreds of thousands.
Something has happened recently, however, that has resulted in the usual screaming orgy dropping down to a dull roar, and long-term residents like Jack Brown couldn't be happier.
Bat experts believe the Woodend colony has dispersed into various other swarms across the south-east, to feast on abundant flowering melaleucas and bloodwood in the Moreton Bay islands.
While acknowledging the reprieve was most likely temporary, Mr Brown said it was welcome.
"I have noticed they've dropped off a bit lately and I'm glad, but I know they'll be back," he said.
Mr Brown's house of 51 years overlooks a large nature reserve, which runs along a gully flowing into the Bremer River.
Ipswich City Council and the Department of Environment and Resource Management have joint responsibility for managing the flying fox habitat, with the aim of keeping the bats out of residential areas.
However local area councillor Andrew Antoniolli said DERM hadn't been contributing enough to the partnership.
"The site itself is seriously denuded as a result of those flying foxes. It had to be continuously revegetated in order for the colony to stay away from residential properties," Cr Antoniolli said.
CR Antoniolli said he understood the angst of residents like Mr Brown.
Bat Conservation and Rescue president Louise Saunders said flying foxes were enjoying almost perfect conditions at the moment.
"We're keeping a close eye on what they're doing at the moment because it is breeding season."
- On February 17 this year there were 10,000 black and 2000 grey-headed flying foxes at Woodend
- In the past, the total number of flying foxes in the area has been observed at more than 100,000