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If you are ever in or even near Austin, Texas


DMD
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Over the summer, mexican free-tailed bats congregate underneath the Congress Ave. bridge (the road goes straight up to the Texas State Capitol Building) and they fly out in mass at sunset. They have offspring there (one each) and then fly back to Mexico in the fall sometime. I have seen the bats at Carlsbad Caverns. That was nothing compared to 1.5 MILLION bats underneath the bridge in Austin. There had to be at least several hundred people - maybe more than a thousand - standing on the bridge three deep the entire span and also below the bridge where we were. The Austin American Statesman (newspaper) owns the land and set it up as a free park to view the bats from.

 

It was cool. If you have any kids and are in central Texas, they have to see it. Heck - I thought it was incredibly cool.

 

Here are some pictures I found on the internets:

 

Dusk looking at the bridge

 

Down where I watched

 

 

Starting to stream out

 

The farther away they get, the more they become just a black, swirling cloud in the distance

 

Pretty cool and free to do no less...

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Largest urban bat colony in the world. They chow down on 10 to 30 thousand pounds of insects every night.

 

We've gone a few times; especially when friends/family are in town. We went last weekend, when my mother/stepfather-in-law were in town. Found out that August is definitely the best time to go. The bats come out both sides of the bridge and come out well before dusk.

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I was in Austin a few times, but the first time someone sugg'd we go down to the lake and watch them. :wacko:

We were staying at the Hyatt so a short walk. Saw the signs that read "Don't touch downed bats or guano!". :D

We stood pretty close,but a guy who'd been there before said "Stand back about 20'.". I said "Why?". He said what is the first thing YOU do when you get up from sleeping?". I got his drift and he was right as the people close up were getting pee'd on like crazy! :D

It was an unreal site and because it was April there were only about 500,000 there. They flowed out of there for 20 minutes or more. As I understand it, the bridge was designed for that purpose.

Cool shots David, but as you know...you have to be there to get the full effect.

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When I go hawk watching near Veracruz, Mexico in the fall - we head out to the country and hike out into the field where there is a cave opening about 10-12 ft wide in the ground. You can sit on the edge around it and wait until they take off at dusk - they just zip by your head as they exit the cave. This goes on for about 1 hour. You can hear them starting to exit the cave about 15-20 mins. before you actually see them - you just hear this rushing wind noise as they begin to take flight deep down in the cave.

 

Pretty awesome stuff! I tried to count / estimate the numbers - I'd guess 250-350,000. I have a picture at home I could scan in if someone could PM me a link.

 

Good stuff!

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When I go hawk watching near Veracruz, Mexico in the fall - we head out to the country and hike out into the field where there is a cave opening about 10-12 ft wide in the ground. You can sit on the edge around it and wait until they take off at dusk - they just zip by your head as they exit the cave. This goes on for about 1 hour. You can hear them starting to exit the cave about 15-20 mins. before you actually see them - you just hear this rushing wind noise as they begin to take flight deep down in the cave.

 

Pretty awesome stuff! I tried to count / estimate the numbers - I'd guess 250-350,000. I have a picture at home I could scan in if someone could PM me a link.

 

Good stuff!

 

No way I'd ever sit at that cave...but I would LOVE to see the pic...

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They're only there half the year (and this half is bat season) so keep that in mind if you visit. They also tend to fly out around dusk, so you have to make sure your timing is right as well.

 

I'd also recommend a restaraunt called the Shoreline Grill. If you go, ask for the patio seating and you can eat dinner and watch the cloud of bats fly out from the bridge. The restaraunt is just a block downriver from the Congress St. Bridge and the patio seating overlooks the water.

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