Friday, March 30, 2007

Yes, flying foxes

Yes, flying foxes, a variety of large bats, thousands of them. This is how you usually see them during the day, asleep in the trees of the Royal Botanic Garden, wrapped in their wings like in a black silk cape. Each evening after dusk they wake up and take off in silent flocks towards Sydney's eastern suburbs gardens where they spend the night feasting on nectar and fruit. At the crack of dawn they return home here. To the curious tourist they are easy to see. More great photos (not mine) here.
Last Friday at 8 am they were already settled for a day of sleep when a roaring helicopter doing a round over the botanic garden at low altitude sent them wild. Taking off in screaming hords (you should hear it!) they flew in a wide loop over the city before coming back to their trees. I was lucky enough to be there.

Oui, des roussettes, ces grandes chauve-souris que les australiens appellent renards volants. Dans la journée on les voit d'habitude ainsi, dormant enroulées dans leur ailes comme dans une cape, fourrure rousse contre soie noire. C'est à la nuit tombée que tous les soirs elles s'éveillent et s'envolent par milliers en nuées silencieuses vers les jardins des quartiers est de Sydney où elles passent la nuit à se goberger de nectar et de fruits. Avant l'aube elles reviennent vers le jardin botanique où elles s'installent pour dormir toute la journée, pendues aux arbres. D'excellentes photos (pas de moi) ici.
Elles étaient déja 'couchées' quand vendredi dernier à 8h du matin, un hélicoptère passant à basse altitude dans un bruit de tonnerre a lancé les bestioles piaillantes et criaillantes (car il vous manque le son, écoutez ici ! ) par nuées
dans une grande boucle au-dessus de la ville avant de revenir se poser. J'y étais.

18 comments:

Muriel said...

Et j'ai vu à la télévision française que deux adorables pandas roux sont nés dans un des zoos de Sydney: tu iras les voir?

Icarus said...

Yep, I saw that report on the red panda cubs too. As for the flying foxes, the first picture in the link, the single one, when you click on it to see the blow-up, says it all. Amazing creature, like some sci-fi creation. I recall being led into a dark vault in the crusader castle of Akko, northern Israel once. There were thousands down there. Once was enough.

Kate said...

It's amazing what we can see when we have cameras with us. Great capture and a wonderful true story.

Norman said...

Like the flying foxes, posts about them are proliferating. Sadly the former's increasing populations are proving a problem in several parts of Austrlia, because being now largely predator free, their numbers have endangered such things as Botanical gardens.

Heidi said...

Wooo, fantastic, I have never seen such a thing! (Looks like a decorated Christmas Tree to me!).

Kerry-Anne said...

Thanks for another great memory - I remember well our surprise when we looked up at one of the trees in the botanical gardens and saw all these napping bats. It's quite an awesome sight, particularly when you're not expecting it!

Olivier said...

c'est tres beau à voir comme cela, on dirait des fruits dans les arbres. c'est vrai que le bruit est assez surprenant (et tu critiques mon chant de la vache ;o) ). Je te souhaite un bon weekend avec tes nouvelles amies

it is very beautiful to see like that, one would say fruits in the trees. it is true that the noise is enough surprising (and you criticize my song of the cow ;O)).
I wish you a good weekend with your new friends

Marguerite said...

Après le père Noël orange, le sapin de Noël avec des boules, euh... marrons ? qui pendouillent C'est drôle c'est chaque fois la même chose j'ai des hallucinations quand je pars en vacances...

hpy said...

Elles paraissent énormes par rapport à celles que j'ai aperçus en France et en Finlande.

ruth said...

These are such great photos, Nathalie. My husband tells me fruit bats are not nocturnal, they're different than regular bats that way I guess. I didn't read up on them at all to verify that. (But he knows everything, so I believe him. ;)

Maxime said...

Stupéfiant !
Les arbres australiens donnent vraiment d'étranges fruits. Je me croirais dans un roman d'Arthur Upfield - encore qu'il n'ai jamais parlé de ça !

Chris & Deb said...

what a remarkable series of photos-I particularly like today's photo-they're all so uniform in how they sleep...

Jilly said...

I remember flying foxes when I lived in Cairns. thanks for the memory!

Great photo.

Amities - Jilly x

Imparfait présent said...

Ca se mange?

Bleeding Orange said...

Le bruit est spécial en effet... c'est marrant ce nom de renards volants !

Nathalie said...

Mu, je ne savais pas ça !
Oui, je crois que je vais aller a Taronga Zoo un de ces jours

Norman it's true. I wonder who the predators of the flying foxes were originally ?

Kerry-Anne and Jilly, so glad you got to see them for yourself

Cergie, ah oui, y'a des droles de trucs partout dans ce pays, c'est ça qui est marrant. C'est Noel tous les jours.

Ruth I can assure you these are nocturnal. You know, everything's the opposite downunder!

Imparfait Présent, eh non, c'est peut-être ça qui les a sauvées car je suis sûre que les premiers colons affamés ont essayé !

Ming_the_Merciless said...

WOW! Thanks for the link to the photos. They do look like foxes but their body shapes are so different from other animals.

+ said...

my son is interested in these "critters" - as he calls them.
we're looking for info.

nice looking blog!

all the best-

praxymetry