Yarra Bend Park is close to the city and about a 20 minute car journey for me. It's a wonderful opportunity to have a walk on the wild side and get a nature fix.
|unknown Acacia species - photo by Barbara Marsh|
Lots of birds can be seen - parrots and noisy miners, ducks swimming in the river and herons sitting on rocks drying their wings. But the most exciting creatures to see are the large colony of Grey Headed Flying Foxes. They are the largest bat species in Australia. They spend their days hanging upside down in trees. Come dusk and they all fly off to go hunting for food - fruit, nectar and pollen. They're important pollinators, and they're also important for the environment because they disperse seeds.
This colony used to live in the Melbourne Botanical Gardens but as they increased in number they started to destroy many precious plants. There was a furious community debate about what to do. Some people wanted them killed, but they were moved on and found a new home here on the banks of the Yarra in Kew.
They can't take extreme heat, and during the last heatwave lots of them fell out of the trees and died. But lots survived, and they seem to be doing well.
I keep meaning to go there with a better camera to try to capture the details of the bats, but even with my phone you can see them in their thousands hanging off the trees.
Here's a closer up photo of these extraordinary creatures taken from Wikipedia.
|Photo by Justin Welbergen|