Prep for all these workshops and travel is at a fever pitch, so when a friend suggested we "go do something" for the holiday I was a bit reluctant. But once we decided the "something" would be a visit to the Orient Mine to witness the nightly egress of 250,000 free-tailed bats... well... What prep? Do I have prep to do?
|View to the southwest from the trail to the Orient Mine|
The air smelled of sage and the scrub oaks were thick with towhees. Why the heck did I even hesitate about getting out here?
|Can you say "future linocut"?|
We'd been sitting outside the mine for probably 45 minutes, watching naught but swallows and swifts and then suddenly the sky was full of bats. From time to time the flow over our heads and down the hillside was so intense and fast that it was like a summer rainshower... but of bats instead of raindrops.
I didn't get much for photos... nothing that would suggest the feeling of the spectacle, but...
|This one's emiggenable so you can see the bats a wee bit better. Not much.|
|Best shot of the bunch.|
It was full dark by the time we made it back to the truck... but the adventure wasn't over even then! On the drive out via rocky backroad we flushed a couple of common nighthawks and probably six or seven common poorwills... the red reflections of their eyes in our headlights alerting us to their presence long before we saw the birds themselves.
No fireworks, parades, or loud parties for us... but I think we had the best July 4th ever.