Sunday, June 18, 2006

Nature Never Disappoints

"There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story." Linda Hogan- Chickasaw poet, novelist, essayist, playwright, and activist

I'm sorry to say that i did not get even one picture on my remote camera at the pond I spoke of in my last entry, but there's always next time. I thought about leaving the camera there, but it cost me a "C" note and I would hate for it to come up missing. So when I return I'll try again and report anything that's captured. Now the trip up there was not a total loss. It never is. Something always turns up. Nope.....nature never disappoints. All you have to do is look and pay attention to her clues.
As I cross the bridge that spans Turkey Creek on my way home I see barn swallows everywhere. What does this tell me? It's as if they are calling to me. So I decide to "pay attention" and pull over to go exploring. As I walk beneath the concrete structure I'm immediatley caught in a veritable whirlwind of feathers and bird chatter. Swallows are everywhere greeting my arrival. As I look up at the belly of the bridge I see their mud claden, cup-shaped nests glued to the beams.

Nestlings peer over the edge with mouths agape waiting to be filled with the bugs captured by their parents. As I watch mesmerized by the sight a different type of chatter behind me gets my immediate attention. As I turn around I see a dark mass on one of the bridge's beams. As I get closer the mass begins to quiver and the chatter becomes more intense. Immediately I realize what I've found......a colony of bats!

The flash of my camera reveals about 50-60 of them. I've been told they could be big brown bats or a species of Myotis. Too many people fear bats and fail to realize that they're among some of our best friends in the natural world as they eat many of the insect pests that plague us and are excellent pollinators. Occasionally bats can contract rabies, but according to Merlin Tuttle, founder and president of Austin-based Bat Conservation International says that "less than half of one percent carry rabies at one time". Now this doesn't mean it's ok to handle them. It's best to just observe. Had I not paid attention and not stopped I would have missed this. Always be safe....but try and never pass up an opportunity when it comes to nature. Nature never disappoints.

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