Sunday, March 20, 2011

Going Batty!

I was enjoying a warm spring day in Wildwood last Saturday, walking along the bike path when I saw a bird flutter across in front of me. "That bird sure has a "fluttery" way of flying," I  thought. Then it landed on a tree trunk, and I saw that it was small and brown - "maybe a brown creeper," I thought.

The "bird" didn't move - seemed stuck to the tree, and suddenly I realized that it was a bat! I moved closer to the tree and began taking photos, getting a closer look at the tiny, furry creature. Its head stayed tucked into its feet as it clung to the bark. Its fur was shiny in the sunlight, and its ears were even shinier.

I sent the photo to Gary Cote, the webmaster for the Wildwood website and Biology professor at RU. He forwarded it on to Karen Francl, the bat expert at RU. She says that it is a Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus). She also said that the bat looked very healthy and that it isn't unusual for bats to go foraging for food on warm days although we usually consider them to be nocturnal animals. I guess they enjoy the warm spring weather as much as we do!

The bat had chosen a tree that was directly across from Adams Cave , which is probably is its home. The cave overlooks the south end of the park, and the creek runs below it, providing a source of water and insects for food for the flying mammals. A few days later, I again saw a bat flying near that same area. As it flew against the bright sky, I could see the outline of its bones through its wings and could also see the silhouette of its tiny ears and nose. A magnificent sight that I had never seen before - isn't Wildwood  wonderful!  

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