Sometimes, when you look like a tourist, people point things out to you that you may otherwise have missed.
On my visit to Parramatta Park, this happened to me. I’d visited the beautiful rose garden, strolled past Old Government House, and even admired the river. It was time to head back towards my hotel, but a man who shared the footpath with me noticed my camera and asked me if I had seen the famous bat trees.
I smiled, probably a bit quizzically, not sure if I’d heard him right.
Bats, he told me. There are about 5000 bats which rest in the trees about 300 metres that way. You should go and look.
I was excited. We don’t have big bats in my part of the world, and a few nights before I had admired the bats in Kirribilli and flying above the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I thanked my stranger – as he headed off I said “Thanks for the tip, Batman.” (yes, I really said that. Corny I know.)
His instructions had been a little vague, but I headed in the direction he’d pointed. Eventually I decided to give up, but first I would head down to the river where I could see some ducks on the water. I sat and watched the ducks, I checked my map to be sure that I knew how to get back to the hotel, and then I looked up. There was this:
Bats. In trees. Bat trees.
And this is where I not only breathed in excited little squees (not unlike a bat’s, perhaps), but I also decided I was going to stay there till I had a photo of a flying bat. This isn’t easy. Bats are nocturnal and, it was a warm afternoon. So mostly, they looked like this:
Which is remarkably awesome, because even asleep, and hanging upside down, bats are remarkably cute (yes, I know I used the word remarkably twice there. I’m excited, okay?). The other issue is that when one bat did, from time to time, fly from one tree to another, they did so without warning and flew very quickly, so it was hard to get a good shot. I did get this shot:
but I really wanted one that showed a bat in all its batty glory. After a while, though, I decided that I could be happy with the memory of that special visit, and put the camera down for a little while, before deciding I would take just one more photo before I left. Camera up, camera focussed, and, this happened:
This may well be my favourite photo ever.
So thanks, random stranger, for sending me off to find the bat trees. You are a superhero.