Clouds of bats present astonishing spectacle in Hill Country

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Clouds of bats present astonishing spectacle in Hill Country

Postby Wayne Harrison » Jul 28, 2006 6:20 pm

04:06 PM CDT on Friday, July 28, 2006

By MARY ELLEN BOTTER / The Dallas Morning News

FREDERICKSBURG, Texas – Dozens of eyes watch us pass in the Hill Country's predawn darkness: White-tailed deer feed warily just beyond the cone of our headlights. We drive slowly, careful not to startle a doe or buck onto the two-lane road that undulates through the woods and pastures.

We press on. We don't want to miss homecoming.

In minutes, we'll be there, but no bands or banners will meet us. No cheerleaders or football heroes.

Instead, we will be the welcoming committee for hundreds of thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats returning from a night of gorging on insects, many of them harmful to crops, many a nuisance to humans.

Also Online
Photos
Video: Bats in flight

<a href="http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/fea/travel/thisweek/stories/DN-batflight_0730tra.State.Edition1.31bc6c7.html">Full Story, Cool Photos, Video</a>

MORE TEXAS BAT FLIGHTS

Bracken Cave, 20 miles from San Antonio; 20 million bats. Open to Bat Conservation International members.

Congress Avenue Bridge, Austin; 1.5 million bats. Free.

Contact: 512-416-5700 (category 3636). Boat tours: 512-327-1388, http://www.lonestarriverboat.com , $9; or 512-480-9264, http://www.capitalcruises.com , $8.

Devil's Sinkhole State Natural Area, Rocksprings, 3 million bats. Adults $10. Contact: 830-683-2287; http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us or http://www.devilssinkholetx.com

Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve, southwest of Mason, 4 million bats. Free. Contact: 325-347-5970; http://www.nature.org

Frio Bat Cave, on Frio River 20 minutes from Garner State Park, 10 million bats. Tickets $10. Contact: 830-966-2320; http://www.hillcountryadventures.com

Stuart Bat Cave, Kickapoo Caverns State Park, near Uvalde, half-million bats. Entry $5. Contact: 830-563-2342; http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us

Bamberger Ranch Preserve, Johnson City, about 15,000 bats in man-made cave. Tours $15. Contact: 830-868-2630; http://www.bambergerranch.org
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Wayne Harrison
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