To the Bat Cave (24)
/forum/topic/1166088/0

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blueimage
Registered: Jan 11, 2010
Total Posts: 829
Country: United States

I appreciate the kind remarks made on my image of a Swainson's Hawk hunting Bats in my last post - so I thought I'd share a more in-depth look at this amazing event. Pardon the high image count...I lost control

Located on the private Armendaris ranch in New Mexico, the caves are actually lava tubes formed from an ancient volcano that erupted some 700,000 years ago, and coincidentally, nearly identical in timing to the volcanic eruptions that defined the Serengeti in Tanzania (my other favorite place)

While their are several different species here, the population is predominately Mexican Free-tailed Bats - which migrate up from Mexico. Though the total biomass fluctuates greatly, it is generally in the millions! From late May to the end of July they are raising their young, and in August the young start to fly - and that's when it gets really interesting. The Swainson's Hawks (and Peregrin Falcons) have been congregating here to feed on the Bats for centuries, much the same way Bears congregate to Salmon streams. At it peak this past August I counted over 75 Swainson's hunting at the same time.

So, first you have to get to the cave, and that entails 35 miles of bumps and dust after you leave the pavement - and I thought I'd show a few more pics of critters to be seen along the way....then the Bat show.

Thanks for looking - and please offer any critique you may have....I'm trying to improve.

Jim



blueimage
Registered: Jan 11, 2010
Total Posts: 829
Country: United States

4 more



blueimage
Registered: Jan 11, 2010
Total Posts: 829
Country: United States

4 more



blueimage
Registered: Jan 11, 2010
Total Posts: 829
Country: United States

4 more



blueimage
Registered: Jan 11, 2010
Total Posts: 829
Country: United States

4 more



blueimage
Registered: Jan 11, 2010
Total Posts: 829
Country: United States

4 more



eyelaser
Registered: Oct 29, 2005
Total Posts: 19617
Country: United States

Jim, these are remarkable! Truly one of nature's great spectacles that gets very little play because bats are generally unloved at best and reviled by most. I am pretty certain this forum has never seen anything like this and so thanks for sharing these! The critters on the way are pretty cool as well.
Some days I feel like I was around when those volcanic eruptions took place
Eric



K mueller
Registered: Feb 16, 2012
Total Posts: 182
Country: United States

These are really great! I really like the silhouettes - Kyle



Chris Schlaf
Registered: Feb 10, 2004
Total Posts: 2761
Country: United States

Very enjoyable set



big country
Registered: Nov 27, 2006
Total Posts: 3566
Country: United States

awesome photos! is this place open to the public? i think your last rattlesnake pic is a red diamondback, not a western diamondback.



KCollett
Registered: Jul 02, 2010
Total Posts: 23135
Country: Canada

Superb set! What a cool place to visit. Thanks for posting these. Very neat indeed, with the last image being killer (so to speak).



emtanner
Registered: Sep 03, 2010
Total Posts: 188
Country: United States

Wonerful set! Enjoyed veiwing everyone

Emily



wrepass
Registered: Mar 25, 2011
Total Posts: 49
Country: United States

This is truly a great set of photos. The documentary is fantastic as well. It's stuff like this that keeps many of us going out with our cameras, hoping to find something that hasn't been overshot and oversold. Fantastic!



jodelak
Registered: Oct 25, 2009
Total Posts: 653
Country: Canada

Superb images James! I am a bird guy but to me, the sunset shot is my favorite in this series, I am a melodramatic bird guy Love the bat hunting as well, really excellent action shots. You are blessed to have these opportunities and thanks for sharing.



Rob Tillyer
Registered: Nov 17, 2007
Total Posts: 13970
Country: Canada

Awesome set James, I was hoping you would give us more bats. What a cool place to go and you documented it so well.

Rob



surfnron
Registered: Dec 17, 2004
Total Posts: 31285
Country: United States

Some great shots documenting the hunt Jim. The rest are very nice too ~ Ron



fyffem
Registered: Aug 15, 2012
Total Posts: 23
Country: United States

Wow.



codroy
Registered: Jul 14, 2012
Total Posts: 442
Country: United States

Superb images. Loved the silhouettes.



hayath
Registered: Oct 12, 2010
Total Posts: 932
Country: India

A fitting continuation
Yet again the silhouettes stand out, with the last one being the cherry



kmunroe
Registered: Feb 02, 2010
Total Posts: 29476
Country: Canada

an excellent set James.. i like the silhouettes also



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