2014 begins with . . .
Night spotting, Jagun, New Year’s Eve
Starlight rinses the trail pale, tomorrow’s new moon
authorises vision to venture past Orion and almost lose
a conscious sense of being present, and then retract
to latticework the beams dance along hunting Greater Gliders.
The forest vibrates with displaced air, the thump of wallaby,
leaf litter rustling, the screech-squeals of the bats, aural excitement
and anticipation – a Sugar Glider? Bandicoot? Tree snake?
A huge white moth flaps off unattracted to light, probably
the Giant Wood Moth, the heaviest in the world, then I spot
two pairs of shiny red eyes in the gully of blossom trees
and we finally infiltrate this other world of bats swinging
from branch to branch like the agile Gibbons.
Mac’s spotlight tracks them swooping through the contiguous tangle
of Blackbutt, Bloodwood and Banksia, a pleasure viewing this endangered
species at ease in their nocturnal state, mostly Grey-headed with a rare visitor,
two Little Red Flying Foxes in a world I know and barely recognise.
“. . . the subjective character of experience.” Thomas Nagel, ‘What is it Like to Be a Bat?’
From Bundaberg to Melbourne the Grey-headed Flying Foxes are one breeding population which has suffered a 30% decline in one decade (1990 – 2000). We have bought some find-raising calendars from a the bat protection society.