Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Afraid of bats? Don't read this post
This morning I was driving across Weyba Creek in south Noosa, and noticed a huge flock of brown birds circling over the water. Then I realized they weren't birds at all but bats. Hundreds of them, circling and swooping. I was on a bridge so I couldn't stop, but naturally I turned around at the next roundabout and navigated my way around to the base of the bridge.
What I saw made my jaw drop. Flying foxes. Thousands of them. The trees on either side of the road were thick with them, and the sound of their chattering was deafening.
A sign at the base of one tree said they were here feeding on blossoms, and would be roosting in the area for a couple of months. Obviously this is an annual event, but it's not one I've ever seen written up in a tourist brochure. I suppose I can understand why; "Noosa, home of the big freaky bats" lacks a certain something as a tourism promotion slogan. Quite an amazing sight, though.
We've seen flying foxes in the area before -- the first time we saw one we were driving at night and one flew across the road about 40 metres in front of us. At first I thought it was a big owl, then it turned and I could see the unmistakeable shape of bat's wings. They really are enormous: black flying foxes, which these ones are, can have a wing span over a metre!
I didn't have the video camera with me, but I'll go back and see if I can get some good video. This is something you really have to see in action to appreciate.