The Eastern Falsistrellus (Falsistrellus tasmaniensis) is a large microbat that inhabits the tall wet forest of SE Australia and Tasmania. It is a bat I often encounter in my nighttime sojourns to Bunyip SP and the Central Highlands and can be seen patrolling up and down forest roads hunting prey. Since I acquired a decent bat detector I have had good recordings and observations of this species in Bunyip State Park, Yarra, Latrobe and Tarago State Forests and on the Tasman Peninsula in Tasmania (I will be writing more about the dark art of bat detecting soon). It is quite a distinctive bat in flight, larger than other local microbats with long wings and has a distinctive call sitting at around 35 kHz. It often flies consistent loops through the forest so by using the bat detector to hear them coming you can get good views through binoculars using a headlamp for illumination.
I was recently returning with the family from an excellent week at Depot Beach in NSW and we decided to come slightly inland and drive down the Monaro Highway through Bombala to Cann River. After raiding the bakery at Bombala we headed to the nearby platypus reserve for a break and leg stretch. While sitting down at the picnic table I noticed a weird bird flush from the tree above – it took a moment to realise it was actually a largish microbat. The bat perched in a nearby eucalypt and I took a number of photos to hopefully help with ID. After getting its bearings it again flew back to the spout it had been flushed from but was not comfortable there and eventually flew over 100 meters to another larger hole in a larger eucalypt and disappeared. It did all this while a Brown Goshawk was circling overhead. Looking on the back of the camera I thought it was one of the Broad-nosed Bat’s – perhaps Greater or Eastern but upon returning to Melbourne and posting to various forums and experts it was confirmed to be an Eastern Falsistrellus – my favourite microbat now photographed 🙂