Batty about birds

March 11, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Posted in Australia, Gardens, Nature, Tourism | 5 Comments
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I visited Parramatta Park again last week, spending over six hours alone there while my husband was otherwise engaged.

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A section of Parramatta River

I love going there, even though it is in the city and I am a country girl. It might just be that it is a large park within a large urban sprawl. It is well used, proving that if such a facility is retained or established, people will come to it. 

Ducks graze on the grass.

Ducks graze on the grass.

Drivers cruise around the 30kph-limited road that winds through and around the park. Cyclists, serious walkers, joggers, amblers and dog-exercisers follow the walking/cycle path. There are picnickers on the lawns, bird watchers, and many just enjoying the beauty and atmosphere of the place.

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Sulphur-crested cockatoos, corellas, water hens.

This early autumn day is quite warm and humid after recent good rainfall. Instead of my husband’s good camera, I only have my cheap one, not good for zooming in on things, especially animals.

Masked lapwings (plovers)

Masked lapwings (plovers)

However, I do my best to capture shots of the park’s extensive bird life. (You can click on each photo and see it in higher resolution).

Greater cormorant (slang: a big shag)

Greater cormorant (slang: a big shag)

I don’t get them all, and some shots are poor, but I have scattered a sample of them here.


I have mentioned before the extensive colony of “bats”. The animals are actually grey-headed flying foxes, though a lot of people call them bats due to their bat-like wings. I took a few photos of them too and sat for a while where the colony stops at the weir.

Flying foxes in the trees along the river

Flying foxes in the trees along the river

It is a little smelly there, partly due to the inevitable droppings of many hundreds of the mammals, partly from storm run-off and the mud and detritus that collects above the weir wall. Included in that detritus is a dead eel.

Dead eel

Dead eel

Parramatta means ‘place of many eels” in the language of the indigenous people who once lived here.

The flying foxes hang like ripe fruit from just about every branch in the eucalypt trees that line both sides of the river above the lower weir.

Flying foxes

Flying foxes

There is constant movment within the colony: a sleepy stirring, an itch being scratched, a wing stretched.

As it warms up, they flutter their wings to cool themselves. Occasionally, one takes off and flies from one tree to another, up or down stream, or from one side of the river to the other. There is also a constant chittering among them.

The hanging flying foxes show up against old buildings covered in creeper.

The hanging flying foxes show up against old buildings covered in creeper.

The noise of the flying foxes, of cicadas chirring in the background, and the burbling of water flowing over the weir is constant and relaxing. That changes when a flock of sulphur-crested cockatoos invades the lawn area. That’s when it really gets noisy for a while.



Then a few ibis arrive and the cockies rise in a screeching , circling mass and head to a more private place downstream.


I hope I have shown a few of the reasons why I like to wander alone through Parramatta Park.


Do you have a special place you like to go to relax?



Other posts you may enjoy:  Walking in Parramatta Park; Catherine Hill Bay; Mystery Bay; Down by the Lake; Kiama Blowhole; Parramatta Park

Photos by Linda Visman

© Linda Visman


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