Thursday, December 3, 2009

Skywatch Friday: Bat Flight



When I found out about Skywatch, these were the first pictures that came to mind, and the ones I wanted to use for my first post. They're from July, in Hill Country Texas. The cave has one of the biggest roosts of Mexican Free-tailed Bats and Cave Miotis. They started to come out of the cave a little after 8pm to forage, but because there were millions upon millions of bats, they were STILL coming out until after 10 pm! We stayed the whole time, mesmerized by the whole shebang. I got peed on a couple times ( I guess that'll happen!) as they were swooshing and zooming right past our heads. The cave miotis forage really low on the ground, picking bugs of vegetation and the like. In comparison, the Free-taileds catch insects higher in the air.

There were several Swainson's Hawks and a merlin preying on the bats. Pretty crazy stuff to watch! There are obviously millions of bats in the photos, but even that doesn't do the numbers justice. Definitely one of the cooler things I've seen! As we were leaving, there was a baby bat on the ground. The babies will hang on when the parents forage and sometimes fall off, but the moms will come back to pick them back up (not sure how often, but makes me feel better that it DOES happen!).


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16 comments:

Louise said...

Welcome to SkyWatch Friday, and this is SOOOOOO cool. I didn't know about the babies. Glad the mothers will (at least sometimes)get them. I've always wanted to go to Carlsbad to watch the bats. Now I want to go even more!

Guy D said...

Simply fantastic, what a great series of captures.

All the best
Guy
Regina In Pictures

Quasi Serendipita said...

Wow. These are amazing shots.

Manang Kim said...

Wow never seen like that one. And the second picture it looks like the bats are in formation of some sort ^_^ Nice shot!!


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Photo Cache said...

I second Louise's comment about this post being totally cool.

Welcome to skywatch, you'll love it.

Bill S. said...

If you had not said they were bats, I would have thought they were blackbirds. Great pictures.

eileeninmd said...

I do not like bats, ever since my hubby took me spleunkling. But your photos of them are awesome!

Larry D said...

Very cool photos and post!

Lianne said...

huwaw those are a lot of bats!!!!

leethroughthelens.blogspot.com

Gaelyn said...

Welcome to SWF. Excellent captures of the 1000s of bats, double layers with different feeders. And then the hawks too. I didn't know that the mothers would look for dropped babies. When I worked at Oregon Caves we didn't have that many bats even during winter hibernation. Great post!

Lorac said...

An amazing sight to be sure! Also very good information.

Julie said...

If this is your very first SWF then I am very impressed and have logged on as a follower.

These photographs are quite something as is the information that you have provided. It takes over 2 hours for them all to fly out from their caves. How splendid is that!

That poor naked little baby did not look too impressed with the situration that he found himself in. I hop his mother comes back this time but I understand they have A PREetty good communication system.

Terrific post.

Johnny Nutcase said...

Happy you all enjoyed the batty bats! Thanks for checking out my post and thanks for the great comments! Very much appreciated :) If you're ever around a bat cave (quite a few in TX), definitely check it out!

bobbie said...

So long as they are at a distance, they look beautiful. Lovely skies.

Paula said...

I'm glad to know they're out there, I've heard so many of them are sick. Seeing them just made my heart soar, it must be incredible to see them all at once.

JOE TODD said...

Great photos. Love the Hill Country of Texas