In Search of Bats

Skyline from Lady Bird Lake - Austin, Texas

Skyline from Lady Bird Lake – Austin, Texas

We arrived back at the Congress Avenue bridge after sunset, and just at the start of blue hour. The ideal time to see the bats take flight. Except, weather and nature have a way of throwing a wrench in the plans. A passing evening rain shower cooled the air, which changed the bat’s dinner plans.

As an Austinite, you hear rules for optimal bat viewing. This may be an old wives’ tale or have a scientific basis, but here’s what I’ve heard. When it’s scorching outside, they get hungrier, and the bats leave earlier, usually before sunset. They are easier to see. August is a great time because it’s usually sweltering and the days are long.

In September, the bats leave when it’s darker, making them harder to see. That night, being cooler made it worse. Thus, our bat viewing was far from optimal. It wasn’t a big deal for me, I’ve seen the spectacle before. And, I got to make this neat skyline photo just as the blue hour was starting.

I feel bad for the hundreds of onlookers waiting at the bridge, however. Click on the photo for a larger version, and you’ll clearly see the crowd lined up on the bridge. The bats were starting to take flight, but it was a slow trickle and hard to see that night.

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5 thoughts on “In Search of Bats

  1. I would zoom in a bit on the photo but on mobile it seems to be impossible to take a proper closer look. Tilting the phone to landscape doesn’t make the photo any bigger either.

    1. Hi Timmy, Unfortunately, the Smugmug platform (that host my photos) tries to be smart about smaller smartphone screens and auto adjusts the image size. Looks like there’s no way to zoom in. Sorry. If you have an PC/Mac or possibly a tablet, it might work better for you.

  2. Please. For Bats In Flight photography you need a heavy tripod, a Wimberley gimbal head, and at least a 1000mm lens. An IR modified camera should be available in case the flight occurs late.

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