As a break from birds and spiders we have been researching known Flying Fox roosting camps with a view to photographing these interesting animals. My interest in these animals was piqued when driving home from the airport at dusk one evening hundreds and hundreds of the animals blanketed the sky as they flew off to feed. One camp in dense creek vegetation not far from Sandgate station provided a fine series of shots of Black Flying Foxes through a small few square meter gap in the trees from the top of a nearby grassy bank.
Flying foxes are colonial animals roosting communally in camps containing anything from hundreds to thousands of individuals. They play an important roll in the pollination and distribution of seeds of native Australian plants, so protection of their habitat from destruction is becoming increasingly important, even though they are not listed as endangered. The Sandgate camp seems to comprise mainly Black Flying Foxes although Grey Headed Flying Foxes are also known to use this roost site.
Watching them, especially in the late afternoon when they begin scratching, stretching their wings and squabbling with each other is quite an interesting experience. Their tough leather wings aside these animals are quite dog-like in appearance, and its not difficult to understand how they got their name. Through the lens you can clearly see lice or fleas moving in their fur and it does not take long to the point where you start scratching yourself.
The other interesting thing is to see how big these animals are, and its quite hard to imagine them being able to fly, which of course is my ultimate aim; catching a shot of one in flight. I was hoping for this in time for this blog, but it was not to be. Despite quite a few late afternoon trips to the camp, the weather has always conspired to scuttle that goal and each time we have had to leave wet and miserable long before they started to leave the roost.
Never mind…its a quest that will have to continue!