Eons ago I started a series on beasts that live in our backyard. It is tempting to imagine that in a city of 4million fauna is sparse. But the truth is we have plenty of fauna to distract us.
Some of that fauna is potentially lethal and I am always alert to spiders that can mess up your day. Other animals are much more benign though no less interesting. At the moment our date palm is in full flower and during the day there is a circus of rainbow lorikeets giving the flowers a thorough going over. They are a nectar feeding bird. They change shifts for the fruit bat (sometimes known as a flying fox) at night. This baby (is that was a juvenile fruit bat is called?) was negotiating its way to the flower cluster last night but watched me very closely as I took his picture – sadly from too far away.
Each twilight, when the sun has well set but the sky is that deep translucent cobalt blue, squadrons of these things weave through the air over our house. We are under a flightpath which lifts them up from the forests below us where they roost during the day, and on to wherever they are feeding at this time of the year. There are hundreds of them and they silently flap their way overhead only a short distance up, weaving in and out of each other and through the trees. It can be an impressive sight.
While they only feed on nectar and fruit one particularly large specimen used to make my heart race when I was riding to work on my bicycle to start my midnight shift at the Townsville airport. He would silently drop out of a tree near one of the intersections I rode through and fly along side me for a block or more. Weird stuff. Suddenly there would be a shadow rising and falling beside you, appearing on one side of my head then seemingly instantaneously appearing on the other. Sometimes flying slightly in front or worse, flying along just above my head where I could not see him unless I twisted around for a look. I won’t deny there were a few wheel wobbles when he first started that stunt. He made me test my understanding that they are herbivores only!! But we soon settled down into a regular routine and he seemed to enjoy the low flying companionship. It must have been a strange sight if anyone had seen us – had they they looked our way when getting up late at night for a glass of water.
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