Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Austin, Same Bat Time, Same Bat Bridge
OK back to the bats. As I mentioned on my DFW blog my wife and I spent this past weekend in Austin Texas. On Saturday night just before sunset we drove to the Congress Street Bridge and sat on a grassy knoll beside the lake and near the bridge. We waited for the bats as did the crowds on the bridge, by us and on the boats. I wasn't sure what to expect but I was very curious. After a few minutes we could hear squeaky sounds coming from the bridge but the chatter of the crowd was drowning it out. I was surprised by the amount of excitement that was growing as the sun sunk further and the bat squeaking grew louder and louder even than the crowd. Finally after about 40 minutes the first group of bats emerged to cheers, gasps, oohs and aahs. The whole area became frenzied with people looking to the sky in amazement. The bats were like rock stars going on stage, cameras were flashing all over even small children were taking pictures. The very strange thing was once the bats came out a terrible smell came with them it was really bad but not strong enough to drive people away. I read that the million plus bats there eat up to 25,000 pounds of insects every night. These are Mexican free-tailed bats and from March to November they live in Austin and come out at sunset to feed and do whatever else bats do. Fortunately I didn't get anything on me except a questionable drop on my arm that could have been rain. People were advised to wear hats for obvious reasons. It was an enjoyable and interesting time. I'm glad they came out before it was completely dark since I have trouble taking night photos. Click to see more bat pictures.