Belmont Club

Looking for Bats By Day

If you’ve ever wondered what bats look like one the best times to look them up is by day. Though they are mostly nocturnal they aren’t entirely inert in daylight.  Fortunately a whole bunch of them roost in Sydney’s Botanical Garden. The garden was once a vegetable patch for the early colonists, but it has since been turned into a 30 acre preserve for exotic plants. If you’ve ever wanted to see what a baobab looks, there are some there. The Little Prince was forever worried that baobabs would turn his little planet to dust. It’s not going to happen any time soon.

“It is true, isn’t it, that sheep eat little bushes?”

“Yes, that is true.”

“Ah! I am glad!”

I did not understand why it was so important that sheep should eat little bushes. But the little prince added:

“Then it follows that they also eat baobabs?”

I pointed out to the little prince that baobabs were not little bushes, but, on the contrary, trees as big as castles; and that even if he took a whole herd of elephants away with him, the herd would not eat up one single baobab.

There aren’t any elephants in the Botanical Garden. But there are a fair number of weddings. Besides the baobabs there are men in tuxedos starting out their lives cheek by jowl with bohemians in flip flops who have never begun theirs. The best way to get to the bats is to take a train to Milson’s Point which lets you get off near the Harbor Bridge. Then it’s down through the old town past tunnels cut in solid rock by convicts. Some distance past the Opera House is the gate to the gardens.

In times past I’ve followed the shoreline as far as the roads would let me all the way around the south head. There on a rocky headland between Bondi Beach and Coogee there’s an cemetery where the graves look out to sea, dreaming their long slow dream of England. But I was not going so far today.

A wedding in the garden

Here’s some video of the way down to quay and the bats.

[youtube z_j2z5fj_nY]


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