Spotlight Prowl

Guest post by Daphne and Dom Gonzalvez

After hearing about the recent Spotlight Prowl in Centennial Park, we signed up quickly. At the start of the tour we were told that there’d be a surprise waiting for us – and what a surprise!

Wearing glow bracelets and shining our torches, we started out along the embankment between Busbys Pond and McKay Oval. Our mission was to look for possums gliding down rough palm tree trunks on their prowl for food, birds roosting in trees and bats flying overhead on their nightly foray for dinner.  Suddenly our Parklands’s Guide Vanessa said: “Look! There’s an owl on this tree! I always tell people there are no owls in the Park and here’s one!”

Vanessa had spotted this Barn Owl in a tree

Vanessa had spotted this Barn Owl in a tree

The entire group agreed it was a fine surprise. We were lucky indeed to see this rare visitor to the Park and even luckier to sight it before it flew off looking for something to eat.

Here's our feathery friend up close

Here’s our feathery friend up close

The children in the group were all excited about the bats and our guide Vanessa had brought along two “bat meters” that picked up bat sounds which are beyond the range of human hearing. The Park is home to megabats and microbats. The bigger bats are visible and vocal; no one can miss them. But the microbats (about the size of a mouse!) emit ultra-high frequency sounds that bounce off their prey. Seeing microbats is very difficult, and the only way to hear them is via the bat meters.

We saw many other creatures: huntsmen spiders and other smaller arachnids, cockatoos noisily going to sleep in their favourite trees, but the highlight of the prowl was the Barn Owl!

Thank you Vanessa, Dom and Jal of the Centennial Parklands Education Team for giving up precious evening time to show us the delights of Centennial Park after dark!

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We will be running another Spotlight Prowl shortly – see our What’s On calendar for all the details. In addition to this great report, you can look back at our story on the Centennial Park Flying Fox colony to get an insight into what you will discover.

Want to know what, when and where more programs like this are on? Download our iPhone app and have all the information instantly at your fingertips!

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