A friend of mine sent me a picture of a bat that took up residence on his back porch this morning (see image below):
We both live near Kyle, TX, just South of Austin. You may have heard of the "Batfest" that takes place in Austin every year, underneath the Congress St. bridge downtown. In fact, it's going on this weekend. When I got my friends picture, I jokingly said that the bat probably got lost on the way back from Batfest last night...
In the past I've noticed flocks of bats show up on the New Braunfels doppler radar, usually rushing out of some caves between here and San Antonio at dusk, so I thought it would be cool to watch the radar this evening and see them fly out of the Congress street bridge in Austin. (Yes, what is "cool" to one may not be "cool" to another, but you've got to consider the source here).
Well, much to my surprise, not only did they fly out of the Congress street bridge at about 8:10pm, but also out from under a bridge a mere 1/2 mile from my house. That explains the mystery bat, for sure...
Take a look at the radar images below. I've circled 3 bat swarms on the images. The first image was taken at 8:10pm, and the 2nd at 8:14pm:
The phenomenon looks even better in an animation if you have GRLevelX or some other kind of radar software (the higher resolution the better - this stuff doesn't always show up on the mass-media radar loops).
The Northern-most swarm is the Congress bridge, the middle one is a bridge that goes over Onion Creek in south Austin, and the bottom one is the bridge near my house (Kyle Parkway bridge).
Doppler radar is sensitive enough, when other atmospheric conditions are right, to pick up things like bird (and bat) flocks, and sometimes even insects.
Hmmm....I might have found a business opportunity here. "Kyle Bat Fest", here we come...
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