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This Day in My History

2000:  A Life in Declarative Sentences
2001:  Chewing the Air
2002:  Look at Me, I'm Flyyyying
2003:  Over the Rainbow
2004The Princess in my Motel Room

2005:  Twenty Questions

"Boxcar Children"

Books Read in 2006
(Updated 9/5)

"Going Batty"

Going Batty

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Mefeedia Video Archive

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Desert Nut

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Lordy, Lordy

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Support liberty and justice for all

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Cost of the War in Iraq

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8 September 2006

The notice appeared in last Sunday's paper:


Yolo Basin Foundation's final "Bats in the Bypass" presentation this season will take place at 5:45 Wednesday at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Headquarters...

Thousands of these bats live under the Yolo Causeway on Interstate 80.  Each night at sunset an impressive ribbon of bats moves across the sky.  At this point in the year, the Mexican free-tailed bat pups have reached adult size and are flying with their mothers out into the fields to hunt for insects.  In the fall they will leave Yolo County to spend the winter in Mexico....

The article went on to explain that there would be a lecture where participants would have the chance to view live bats, learn how they eat and see their wing structure as well as other interesting features, and then following the lecture, participants would caravan into the wildlife area to watch the bats fly out at sunset.

They warned that the lecture was limited to the first 60 people who showed up, but stated that anybody could go on the caravan afterwards.

I remembered when our friends Dair and David had gone to see the bats a few years ago and raved about what an interesting presentation it had been and we decided to go. 

They told us it was the largest group they had ever had for this tour, so naturally we were not among the first 60 to arrive, but were told that if we wanted to wait around for an hour or so, we could join the caravan.

We wandered through the wildlife area and I tried in vain to get a good photo of an extremely cooperative spider, who disappeared in my camera's lens whenever I tried to focus on her.  I did get this picture, but I'm not happy with it.

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Finally it was time to join the caravan out into the wetlands.   We have lived here for 32 years and I've never been into the wetlands in this area before and had always wanted to go.  We were quite a group.  Walt counted some 70 cars all driving along the narrow one-lane road, kicking up so much smoke that you could hardly see the car in front of you.

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It was a little frustrating because there were lots of places I would have loved to stop to take pictures, but we were chasing bats--and there were at least 30 cars behind us, so we had to keep moving.

We got to the causeway just as the bats were emerging.  You could see them on the far side of the highway flying parallel to the bridge that is the highway at this point, and then bursting out into that described "ribbon" at one spot.  It was quite a sight to see.

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I took both photos and video.  I didn't know what, if anything, I was getting with the video camera because mosquito repellant was dripping into my eyes and stinging them and I had barbs imbedded in my clothing and so I just pointed the camera in the general direction of the bats and shot.  I was pleased that I got better video than I expected, even though it is quite shaky because I had to keep moving so the folks behind me could move forward.

I also got an artsy-fartsy shot of some of the flowers in the basin, with the causeway in the background.

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When I turned around to go back to the car, there was a gorgeous full moon rising up out of the trees.  I'd been trying to do some experimenting with the camera settings and took several photos until I finally got this one, which I am VERY happy with.

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When we finally left the bypass, the car was so covered with dust you could hardly see out any of the windows — and the windshield wipers just made mud.   So we drove to the nearest car wash and got the car washed before heading home.

I'd like to do this again next year — only this time arrive in time for the lecture!


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They say that the bats will travel some 50-60 miles
in a night and return at dawn.

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