This entry was posted on 2/4/2007 5:57 AM and is filed under Australia.
You know how we like birds. Well, Sydney is a bird watcher's paradise. Here's why...
hanging out in the park, thinking it's an ordinary pigeon, is this most
extraordinary bird. It has a long curvy beak and beautiful black
and white wings and it's called an Australian White Ibis.
It just looks for grubs and hangs out in the park. It prefers
eating crayfish and mussels but will be content with picnic food
too. Also loves to eat garbage.
he is with the seagulls so you can see how big they are in
comparison. The seagulls here have very orange bills and legs.
Australia is also the home of the Masked Lapwing bird. We also noticed these just hanging out in the parks.
Imagine our surprise when we heard a lot of bird screeching and looked up and saw a large flock of wild Sulphur Crested Cockatoos.
They were roosting in these high trees and flying from one tree to
another. We delighted in watching them being so playful in the
trees and felt so happy to see them living freely in the wild.
We also came across one of Sydney's most unique inhabitants of the Botanical Gardens. They're called Grey Headed Flying Fox Bats.
These bats, which live on fruit and nectar, live in the Botanical
Gardens right behind our apartment. They can be found during the
day hanging upside down sleeping in the trees. They are all over
the Gardens and are quite an amazing sight. Once in a while they
will stretch out or fly to a neighboring tree. Their wing span is
very long, maybe about 30" or so, and they make a little tittering bat
sound. They estimate that there are over 9000 of them living in
the Botanical Gardens. And there is now a colony of 5000 of them,
swelling to 20,000 in the summer, living in Melbourne.
Here's what they look like en masse hanging from the trees.
about 7:30 every night while it is still light, they all fly from the
Gardens toward town in a huge migration that fills a portion of the
sky. We've never seen anything like it. It is a massive
exodus of these bats. They go to orchards and trees and feed on
pollen and nectar, doing damage to the crops and frustrating the
Here are two really great movies of the bats we hope you watch, to
really get a sense of what it's like watching them fly overhead so
close and in such magnitude...
In this second movie, turn up your volume so you can hear the Cockatoos
screaching at the bats in annoyance. This is their park, and they
are not pleased to have anyone else invading their air space - and they
have a lot to say about it too! See how many cockatoos you can
spot in this movie...
We also saw a flock of Rainbow Lorikeets, very brightly
colored, almost irridescent beautiful birds. To see these
birds in the wild, that we only get to see in bird stores in Santa
Barbara or in the zoos, is such a treat for us.