It’s summer in the southern hemisphere.  In southeast Australia, it has been a shocker.  In Canberra (the nation’s capital), we have had drought, a huge hailstorm and now fire in the Namadgi National Park to the south and west.

We also had a small colony of Little Red Flying Foxes take up residence in one of our town parks.  When we first discovered the colony, we asked our son whether we should report it in.  He told us that the ACT Government (that’s our local government) most likely already knew about it.  They didn’t.  Turns out the Little Reds haven’t been seen in Canberra for 23 years.  Imagine that!

We’ve been keeping a close eye on the little foxes because the heat really affects them.  Many die when the temperature gets up to around 42ºC.  You can imagine how concerned we were when the temp climbed to our hottest on record at 44ºC in early January.  Much to our relief, they survived, possibly because their roost is located in dense shade right next to a lake.  The lake probably provided them with some evaporative cooling.

It has been really difficult to get a nice photo of the little foxes with so much smoke in the air combined with the dense canopy.  The smoke problem was fixed (temporarily) when a huge hail storm moved through.  Unfortunately, the hail storm also killed several hundred of the vulnerable grey-headed flying foxes resident in the capital’s main town park (Commonwealth Park).  Many birds and animals were killed in the hail storm, so again we were worried about the little colony in the west of town.  The storm must have just missed it because hail damage was minimal in that area.  Phew.  Here they are with shiny blue sky so that you can see them properly.  Aren’t they gorgeous?

littlered ff

I love this photo of the little bat climbing up to its friends.  The higher uppers, however, weren’t happy at all, and a squabble ensued.  Typical, right?  Note the little buddy on the far left.  It never took its eyes off the photographer the whole time.  This is one time when it is a pleasure to be in the red.


Here are some bonus red photos for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge —  Pick Something Red.  Better late than never.  Definitely better late than never.

Sunset.  Time for the Little Red Flying Foxes to venture out.


And now the moon.  Also coloured red by dust from the fires.


I’m also jumping into The Changing Seasons – January challenge, hosted by Su at Zimmerbitch,  I will have another post for that challenge, but this has to be the best of my January news.

Kind Regards,

46 thoughts on “In The Red

  1. Fantastic photos, and so lovely to see. The bats are something I have been worrying about with the rising temperatures, so lovely to see a colony hanging in there, sorry bad pun. It was terrible to see the birds and bats affected by the hail storm but thank you for the lovely good news story and awesome photos.

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    1. I’m glad they brought you some cheer, Sharon. I think the bats are having a hard time finding a safe territory at the moment. Even here they can’t escape the intense heat. They could go up to higher elevations I suppose, but there may not be sufficient food source for them there. Also, there is the problem of the fires. Poor things.


    1. The fruit bat family Pteropodidaes are mostly tropical (I think), Liz. We are definitely not tropical here. The bats move vast distances in search of fruit and nectar. The Little Red is about half a kilo (1 pound). They’ve probably moved in because much of their habitat has been destroyed by the fires and drought. Hopefully the habitat will rebo und but bat populations may not recover quite so quickly.

      I don’t know much about bats. Here is some info on the N. American bats. They seem to like to roost in caves. Our little micro bats like small dark spaces too. This is sweet. and They are disease carriers (think SARS and coronavirus) so people get a bit hysterical about them. My husband has pointed out to me that humans spread more disease than bats.

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      1. Thank you for the links. I had no ideas that some bats are agave pollinators. Here on the East Coast, bats are known for eating mosquitoes, and some people put out bat houses to attract bats for that purpose. However, they do carry rabies.

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  2. Such beautiful creatures. My heart breaks for all the creatures, human and non-, threatened by the fires a world away. I know Australia is a big place and the fires aren’t everywhere, but the scale of the tragedy is breathtaking.

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    1. Hello Celia, thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. The fires are just the latest drama, which arise from probably the worst drought we’ve ever had in eastern Australia and we have had more than our fair share in the last 30 years. So even areas that haven’t been burnt are completely stricken. 😦 I hope all is well in your part of the world. Kind regards. Tracy.


  3. What a good piece of news that the flying foxes are doing well. I appreciated hearing update from you, Tracy. The US news hasn’t been covering the Australia stories very well recently. I’m glad to hear that hail gave respite from the fires, but sad it created other problems. Our thoughts are with you.

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  4. Such lovely creatures and they do so much good for the environment, eating annoying insects. It must have imbued wonder to look up and see the trees festooned with these inquisitive bats hanging down like furry fruit. Sorry about the death toll from the hailstorm – you all need a nice calm break.

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  5. I think you can guess that I love Little Red Flying Foxes and yours are no exception – so, so adorable!! And your pics are awesome – how sweet that the one on the far left followed you with his/her eyes all the time, these are special moments, right? I’m so glad that they survived the heat so far, and also the hail. Keeping my fingers crossed!

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