It’s dusk in Sydney. The air is as balmy and calm as any lover of summer twilight could want. The paved and landscaped area called “The Rocks” shapes one side of the structured bay known as Circular Quay, opposite the Opera House, where ferries, trains, subway and buses all meet in a symphony of public transportation.
Directly overhead, the sky is filled with bats. Thousands of bats; bats with 3 foot wing spans; wing spans that challenge anything Bruce Wayne ever dreamed about.
Yes, THOUSANDS OF BATS WITH 3-FOOT WINGSPANS!
Click on the photo to enlarge. Then continue reading the text below the photo.
Their sanctuary in the Royal Botanical Gardens, just beyond the famous sail shaped buildings is the daylight home of the one of the world’s largest colony of these bats.
It is a controversial colony. The bats, also called “Flying Foxes” are reputed to be noisy and smell bad. There are heated public debates about a common policy in the suburbs of issuing licenses to farmers outside the city to shoot them. I have no opinion on that, but I will say if noisy and smelly is justification for the firing squad, I have had some in-laws who . . . well, you say it, I dasn’t dare.
Every evening, as the daylight fades from the harbor, they take off in large flocks, flap awkwardly to a few hundred feet and head out for roosts as far away as 60 miles. Estimates say there may be as many a 22,000 in this colony.
For more information, click on > “Ku-ring-gai Bat Conservation Society.”
UPDATE July 24, 2011 – the Wall Street Journal just posted a video about these bats. here it is: