Yes, there really is a bat in this photo.
You might have heard people say that in the Sonoran Desert, “It’s a dry heat.” Yes, there is very low humidity in Tucson, which makes the high afternoon temperatures comfortable–okay, tolerable. However, this also makes the overnight temps surprisingly cool. I enjoy swimming and am fortunate to have a nice pool. But I am a wimp when it comes to water temperature. The pool must be at least 88 degrees before I can comfortably swim at night. When those magical nights come, I enjoy watching the night creatures emerge, as the daytime inhabitants head to bed.
At dusk, I float on my back and watch the sky. The first to appear are the nighthawks with their distinctive wings crisscrossing in pursuit of insects. They are the Lesser Nighthawks, Chordeiles acutipennis.
A few minutes later, the animals I’ve been waiting for arrive: my favorite mammal, bats. As I quietly float, they swirl, swoop and circle around me . . . at a very high rate of speed. They are gulping insects. I wonder if I’m attracting some of the insects and that is why the bats speed around me. Occasionally, a bat touches the water–perhaps catching a quick drink?
I believe these are big brown bats. The “big” part is in comparison to other North American bats. I like them because they eat insects, especially around my house. I don’t have to put up bat houses to entice them, since they roost in my trees. I do have one that likes the side of my chimney. I am always delighted to see my bat neighbors.
I’m told I should include photographs of my blog subjects. I want you to know I tried, I really did. But, do you know how fast bats fly? According to the Desert Museum’s website, it is up to 40 mph. And they don’t fly in straight lines! I took about 30 pictures to get this one shot.
That gray smudge is a bat.
But I’m not disappointed. I get to enjoy them in person, every night, sometimes, floating on my back in my pool.
Now, that’s life!
For more information about bats, please see Lyric Power Publishing’s supplemental, educational workbook, My Book About Bats and Rats, Grades K-3.