A high pitched screech came from a short palm tree as we walked along a row of burnt back fences at Lake Tabourie.
A small bat hung from a low branch about a metre from the ground and cried out whenever we came close.
We visited the South Coast town on Friday to speak to residents after fire raced to its edge on a southerly wind the day before.
Princes Highway would be closed for at least another few days and the young bat was unlikely to get help soon.
It was time for us to go north to Ulladulla, and things looked bad for this lone baby flying fox. The Canberra Times photographer Sitthixay Ditthavong and I took him with us.
Let's be clear. Some bats carry the deadly lyssavirus and taking Barrie Tabourie, as we came to call him, was a risky decision. Wildlife rescue groups urge people who find injured bats never to touch them, but to call in wildlife rescue volunteers, who have been vaccinated.
We'd have done that, but for the highway blockades. Sitt had studied lyssavirus at university and knew the risks. We were extremely careful, catching and carrying Barrie in a fire jacket. Still, what we did is not advisable.
Barrie's first carer Anne found he had a bruised wing membrane and an ear injured probably by Thursday's fire. It's likely his mum dropped him escaping the blaze.
The one-month-old grey-headed flying fox will live, but his species is suffering as bats starve along the eastern seaboard.
South Coast wildlife rescue volunteers are receiving bats in unprecedented numbers.
Flying fox co-ordinator and manager of Shoalhaven Bat Clinic and Sanctuary Janine Davies said bats had lost their food sources further north and were migrating.
"What appears to be happening is babies are being abandoned by mothers, which in itself is unusual. They are all underweight," she said.
"The animals are likely flying south in search of food because drought has decreased their food source."
Mothers have grown underweight, stopped lactating and their babies have fallen off.
About 1500 bats have died in the region since November 20. Volunteers have taken in more than 100 babies, and wildlife groups further north have had to take some of the bats into care.
Ms Davies said those figures didn't include bat colonies volunteers hadn't accessed following fires, or others that were unknown to Wildlife Rescue South Coast.
"It's just horrific, and the point we need to get across to people is that without this keystone species, a number of eucalyptus species will cease to be pollinated and without eucalyptus we would have no koalas, possums and birds, all our native species that rely on these trees," Ms Davies said.
"They are known as our night time pollinators."
The true number of flying foxes killed in the Currowan bushfire will likely never be known.
"The problem is with flying foxes and fire, most of the time we won't see anything, any result, because the trees get burnt, they get stuck in there, they get incinerated," Ms Davies said.
"Some colonies are unknown so we don't know that we've lost them."
Other wildlife rescue volunteers are receiving king parrots, kookaburras and magpies as drought starves them of their usual food sources.
Wildlife Rescue South Coast bird co-ordinator Jenny Packwood said fledglings arriving for care were very thin, abandoned by their parents as seeds and fruit had become scarce.
"You can feel their chest bones and that's not right for baby birds," she said.
Volunteers are beginning to see the signs of damage brought by fire to local wildlife.
A Wildlife Rescue South Coast member is caring for two kangaroo joeys, one missing half of each of its ears due to fire.
Another member at Kioloa has had to euthanise baby kangaroos and wallabies too badly injured by fire.
The wildlife rescue group is liaising with the NSW government and could get to the fire ground as early as Tuesday.
"That's when we will find out what happened," Ms Packwood said.
Pygmy possums and sugar gliders live in the district, and it's unknown if they've survived the Currowan bushfire.
"It's a sad event, devastating for our wildlife," Ms Packwood said.
Volunteers are run off their feet trying to look after drought-affected bats, in addition to the species they usually foster.
Barrie was the first flying fox bought to Wildlife Rescue South Coast since the fires. Ms Davies will raise him until he's ready to return to the wild in three months.
She's rearing another five baby bats already, and works full-time. They need feeding every few hours. Ms Davies isn't getting much sleep.
"They are hungry and like human babies they are telling you," she said.
The baby bats will live on a diet of milk, moving onto fruit and blossoms when they grow.
"They have to bond with you, and you bond with them, and they have to believe you're their mother," Ms Davies said.
In several weeks they'll move into "creche", when they interact less with humans and spend time with a full-grown bat, who teaches them to be an adult of their species.
Once they've reached the right weight and learnt to fly distances in an aviary, they'll join a wild bat colony.