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.

1 comment:

everob said...

Hmmm...bats & flying foxes aren't really something we promote! They are smelly, noisy, eat the fruit off trees and destroy entire forests. To top it off they carry disease that can kill. Having said that, my niece Billie is doing her PHD on them and adores them! She'll have a good argument with anyone who'll take her on (as most of the family have)as she believes them to be very useful and wonderful. Of course, there's merit in what she has to say. If you're interested in learning more, you can search "Billie Roberts bats" in Google and some info about her and her research will probably come up. She's often quoted in papers or on TV. She lives in Yamba and there's a lot of controversy there over the bats in the local area. Anyway, just thought I'd let you know that in case you are interested in further research.