about this blog



I started this blog in 2008. It started mainly as a way of tracking the evolution of my dry garden, and that led to an interest in photography and in the creatures that live in the garden. It's still about the garden and wildlife, but now my passion is thinking about how we humans can learn to co-exist with wild animals and plants, especially in urban areas.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

yarra bend park


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

video

18 comments:

  1. Wow so many bats together in a tree......very exciting.

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    1. there are thousand of them, it's so wonderful to see them in the wild.

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  2. That's fascinating! I've never seen anything like it! We have bats here, but they usually rest in crevices and caves during the day. Fascinating creatures!

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    1. So glad you found this interesting, Beth. Native animals here tend to be very distinctive.

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  3. How fantastic! To see them so close is wonderful and they are so large. We have very small ones that fly round the house in the summer, catching insects, but nothing as large as yours!

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    1. HI Pauline, We have tiny small ones that catch insects too. These are a different species.

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  4. What cool creatures! I was going to say we don't have bats here, but a quick Google search informs me we do. I've never seen them, I wish I had!

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    1. HI Amy, I'm sure you can see them in a zoo, but it is so cool to see them in the wild. Do you think you'll come down to Melb some time?

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  5. that seems odd, to roost in bare? trees exposed to the worst of the heat.

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    1. Hi Diana, I think if the trees had dense foliage they would be in danger of tearing their wings when they all fly out at dusk to hunt. More info at http://www.depi.vic.gov.au/environment-and-wildlife/wildlife/flying-foxes/victorias-flying-fox-colonies

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  6. Replies
    1. I adore them, maybe you've been watching too many Dracula movies, Linda? (lol)

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  7. I always thought bats roost in caves and haunted houses. I never knew some prefer trees! They are amazing creatures.

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    1. So many different species, lots do roost in caves and haunted houses, Deb.

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  8. Everyone is welcome to the monthly GHFF surveys, run by ARCUE (Melbourne Uni). Wonderful experience to watch and count the thousands as they leave. There's a second camp (group) now, at Doveton, too. https://megabatcount.wordpress.com/
    The best place to watch the flyout from Yarra Bend is at Bellbird picnic ground, off the Boulevard, Kew.
    Good to read favourable coverage, Sue! Sorry link doesn't work, don't know how to create...Please copy and paste.

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    1. thanks for this, Debbie. I've been along to an ongoing microbat survey, didn't know about the flying fox one.

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  9. Wow we don't see bats hanging like that in trees....they are beautiful...too bad they had to be moved.

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    1. HI Donna, I'm so pleased you think they are beautiful too - at least they were moved and not 'culled' as some people wanted to do when they were in the botanical gardens.

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