Monday, March 24, 2014

THE AUSTIN BATS

Geri and I are spending a month in Austin, Texas, and it has given me the opportunity to take some photos in a new venue.  One of Austin's biggest tourist attractions, as any native would tell you, is its bat colony.  Yup, bats.  1.5 million Mexican free tailed bats live under the Congress Avenue bridge, the main bridge crossing Lady Bird Lake (aka Colorado River) in downtown Austin.  They represent the largest urban bat colony in the United States.  Most spring and summer evenings at dusk they leave their nests on the underside of the bridge to forage for insects.

First of all, we did see the bats, if at a distance of perhaps 200 yards.  It seems that the bats left primarily from the south side of the bridge, while we were situated on the north side.  So, unfortunately, I don't have any photos of bats to show.  Instead, I had to resort to "indirect" shots.

While we were waiting for the bats to appear,  I got a shot of a handrailing on a walkway under the bridge that was being bathed in the warm evening light.


Even though I didn't get shots of the bats, I did get a shot of a few of the hundreds of spectators waiting for the bats' appearance.


The next day we did some hiking along the river, including the bridges that cross the river.



Although this last shot has some technical issues, I did like the overall composition, primarily because of the individual fishing under the bridge who's in the center of the "eye" made by the arch of the bridge and its reflection in the river.

I think I never heard the term "ghost bike" until a few weeks ago, a term used for a memorial for an individual who has been killed while cycling.  But since then I have seen a number of ghost bikes, including this one on the bat bridge.


Pretty powerful.

Finally, there were these signs under the bridge near the primary bat viewing area, written in both English and Spanish.  Note, particularly, the sign on the far left.


Why this bridge?  It appears that the bridge construction included the creation of narrow crevices on the bridge's underside that are the ideal size for the bats who like to pack together while sleeping during the day.

I suspect we will be back for another attempt at the bats later in our stay.  Maybe I'll actually get some shots of the bats themselves.  Stay tuned.

John

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