Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Bats! 250,000 Mexican Freetail Bats Beneath A Houston, Texas Bridge! With Video!

250,000 BATS!
Beneath the bridge on Waugh Street that crosses the Buffalo Bayou in Houston, Texas lives a large colony of Mexican Freetail bats. Each night at dusk, every night of the year, the bats stream from their home beneath the bridge and spread out over Houston to devour millions of mosquitoes and other bugs. With so many mosquitoes out at night I shudder to imagine the city without this and other colonies that exist in hidden nooks and crannies.

Here my family walks beneath
the bridge to the best viewing area on the west side of the bridge. You might want to walk over the bridge at dusk as the bats are becoming active and there is a good chance of getting droppings in your hair.

Bat guano, as the poop is called, coats the angled concrete beneath the bridge. The bats make a home in narrow expansion joints that exist in the concrete beneath the bridge, hiding above and behind the rusty reinforcing mesh. A safe home for one of Houston's best assets.
Guano makes excellent fertilizer they say. Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico and other caves were mined for years to supply bat poop to farmenrs.

The bridge is easly accessed as it is just off of Allen Parkway, the same road that hosts the Art Car Parade. On this night there were two dozen people with wine, cheese, the kids, and blankets spread on the grass. The city even constructed an overlook platform for easy viewing, though most folks go down the Bayou's banks to get a closer view.
As the sun sets Houston shows off a cotton candy colore sky.

Believe me it's hard to carch good bat pix with a 90 dollar camera. This shot shows them pretty well as frenetic blurs in the darkening sky. Folks stand on the bridge and watch though staring down into the darkness is not the best view.
Watch this 90 second video for a better look at the swirl of bats. They all head west as if an invisible tunnel, a seemingly endless stream of black streaks in the sky. We left after a half-hour. There are only so many bats you can watch before you decide it may never end!

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Douglas June 4, 2009 at 6:10 AM  

And insects throughout the area tremble in fear as dusk descends on the Allen Parkway bridge.

Alan June 4, 2009 at 8:02 AM  

Can you believe Douglas that a mosquito bit me as I filmed this. Talk about hanging out in a dangerous neighborhood!

Anonymous,  October 15, 2009 at 5:43 PM  

hey alan
it aliana from the are look so happy....i am glad for you and i wish u the best .....take care....aliana from 227..

Alan October 16, 2009 at 2:49 AM  

Hey there Aliana. Well, lucky enough to take some time off work and that always is a happy thing. Thanks for dropping in. You might want to check out my other site too,

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