Tuesday, July 8, 2008
A couple of nights ago Steve and I decided to go see the bats emerge from under the Campbell Avenue bridge over the mighty Rillito River.
While we waited for them to wake up, we enjoyed the usual postcard pretty Tucson sunset.
We were surprised to see that a couple dozen other people had the same idea. Some were sitting down in the dry (for now!) river bed. Everyone seemed to know the bats would fly to the west.
We could hear the bats twittering to each other as they woke up. They had been sleeping in the one inch space between pairs of joists. I read somewhere that some buildings and bridges are now designed as bat houses. I don't know whether that happened here, or whether it was just a lucky accident.
After the sun went down, the bats started coming out a few at a time. Eventually we could see hundreds fly away for a night of insect consumption. Eat lots of mosquitoes, guys!
We stood under the bridge with bats flying within inches of us, but none ever hit us. It was really fun.
Although the air was filled with bats, I could only get a picture of one of them. You'll just have to go see the spectacle for yourself.
Update: The Arizona Daily Star just did an article today about the Campbell Avenue bats. It says the bats are Mexican free-tailed bats. They've also got a photo of a cloud of bats.