Weekend’s bat watch

Bat Watch at Canoe Creek State Park

Date: May. 28, 2011
Start Time: 7:00 PM

The first bat watch of summer! Come walk to the bat sanctuary and watch the emergence of thousands of bats as they head out for a night of feeding. Learn about White Nose Syndrome in bats and its implications. Bring a flashlight for the return walk. Meet at bat sanctuary. Parking is in gravel lot across from bat sanctuary.

This is the way it was billed. This is the way it was supposed to be. Part of it came true. We did learn about White Nose Syndrome — the hard way.

After going all over the park because MapQuest messed me up again, we did get to the right place.  The woman who ran the program was excellent.

There is a maternity colony in the attic of a decommissioned church. We all sat on the side of the hill waiting for the moms-to-be to come out to feed. In 2006, there were upwards of 20,000 bats in the colony; last year there were about 4,000. Saturday, we saw maybe … MAYBE … 10. The poor bats are being decimated by White Nose Syndrome. That means there will be more bugs, more West Nile and fewer bats to watch in the night sky.

An ecological disaster, to be sure. But it is also a disaster to kids (and adults like moi), who will no longer be able to lie on their backs in a filed, watching the bats perform their ballet. It’s one of the simple joys of summer.

I’m gutted.

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