Saturday, March 16, 2013

This is what happens when you stop and smell the roses :)

Hello there!

I have officially ended my fourth week of school here at SCU. To mark this auspicious milestone, my body has decided to yield to the cold virus... again. But, I do not let such things get me down! At least, not for long. Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day and I intend to enjoy it and the barbecue put on by my college (college is used in place of "dorm" here. Don't ask, I'm not sure either) to the fullest.

This week, I thought I'd share some information about the local bats. My college sits right above a forested park that is home to the grey-headed flying fox population. What I did not realize before I arrived in Australia is that flying foxes are bats (I thought they were some sort of flying rodent, like a flying squirrel or something). These bats are over a foot long in length and probably have about a two-to-three-foot wingspan. They're so cute!
https://lh3.ggpht.com/_4jV2etiJcQg/TGumsXobR5I/AAAAAAAAAA4/gSQpDwKsbeA/s1600/flying+fox+pic.jpg
As I was saying, hundreds if not thousands of these bats reside in Rotary Park right below my college. At twilight every night they have a mass exodus and the sky is filled with hundreds of these beauties. Unfortunately, this is really difficult to see from where I'm at but downtown Lismore is the perfect viewing spot. It is a truly incredible site.

Though I can't always view the evening show, walking down the hill past the park in which they reside is a lot of fun. If you look carefully, you'll see them:




They are all over the place! I love watching them twitch around and listening to their chirruping. I think these guys in the video (see my Facebook page) are actually fanning themselves. These bats are the largest bat species in Australia and do not echolocate. They rely on sight to locate food (pollen, nectar, and fruits) which is why their eyes are so big. They are hugely important to distributing seeds in rainforests throughout Australia and with a face like that, what's not to love? :)

So... remember last time when I said that I would need to take a closer look at that tallowwood tree next time I passed by it? Guess what I saw Monday morning while walking to class:
 There, my friends, is a mama and baby koala. Like I've said, these guys usually sleep hours on end every day, but these two were up and moving around in this morning. Enjoy!




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