Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bats at twilight

photos by Eddie Toro

This month I went on two of the Tuesday Bat Walks in Central Park sponsored by the New York City Audubon. Paul Keim was the leader. Both walks took place in the park's northwest quadrant, commonly know as the North Woods.

We didn't see too many bats on the first day, 6/ 16, though we heard occasional clicks on the Bat Detector, an instrument that translates the ultrasionic sounds bats emit during flight into lower tones that are audible to the human ear. That let us know that bats were nearby -- but we just hadn't found the right spot.

On June 23 at about 8:15 we settled down on a little rock outcrop just east of the woods, overlooking the North Meadow. In front of us were a couple of hickory trees. Jackpot. First one bat began circling us, then two, and more, flying in and out of the trees, catching insects. The Bat Detector clicked away.

One of the participants that evening was Eddie Toro, a digital photographer. And though it's almost impossible to move fast enough to photograph a flying bat, he managed to get a few shots to document our successful bat walk. A thrilling experience.

PS There's one more walk next Tuesday. It meets at 103 and CPW at 7:45 pm. You can reserve a place with the NYC Audubon.