My time with the bat
The day in late July would bring us more extreme heat, surrounded by an extra layer of thick, heavy humidity. Another day in the Monsoon season, amid the dramatic landscape that is the desert southwest.
The storms were likely crashing the scenery to our southeast, leaving Tucson, with just plain, wicked heat.
Family had just arrived in town and they met me at the bridge at Campbell and River Road. Not the usual family vacation destination.
Bat looking toward the bat flight and a beautiful sunset
We would be joined by my wildlife biologist friend, Eric Peffer.
Underneath the bridge, a crowd was gathering, as Eric began an excellent introduction to one of the cities bat hangouts. An estimated 10,000 Mexican Free Tailed bats reside at this location.
The bat colony would send out a few scouts to determine the direction of the wind. Much easier to soar into the wind than with the breeze.
This is the time of the year that the newborn are taking their first flight. This flight is a challenge as the little ones have to drop from the thin opening that is between the cement beams that they call home. They have about 20 feet to learn to fly or they become part of the food chain. Unless of course, we step in.
Sunset from under the bridge
The runt of a family did not make his/her first flight and ended up on the ground below. We watched the little guy drag himself along the ground, knowing that he would not be able to gain flight and that he would likely not survive the night.
I was surprised when Eric picked the bat up. He would explain that the bat was not old enough to bite (the rabies issue). Being nature minded and leaning toward adventurous, I would also hold the bat.
Eric would deliver the bat to a friend who transported him to a wildlife refuge. The last we heard he is one of 3 or 4 bats that have been dropped off recently.