Sunday, July 19, 2009
It's a great time of year to sit out in the yard at dusk and feel the cooling evening breeze flow over the compound wall and fill the space between the plants, the stuff in the yard and the fences. At this time of day, as the sky faded from that indescribable purple-grey-pink-orange color into dark I saw a bunch of bats hunting overhead the other night. They were wheeling around about 40 feet or so overhead in broadly erratic circles. They looked to be maybe 6 inches wingtip to wingtip as they flew soundlessly (to my ears) catching insects. I was hoping they were hunting mosquitoes, since this summer the little bloodsuckers are a bit pesky.
According to a list of locally occuring bat species, this could be Big Brown Bat, Eptesicus fuscus; or California Brown Bat, Myotis californicus; or even Hoary Bat, Lasiurus cinereus. All of these are said to occur here, all are insectivores.
Of course I couldn't get a photo of the bats. This picture is a set of what I guess are beetle wings found resting in the dodonaea. All of these bats do feed on beetles, so there's a good chance these severed wings, interrupted in unfolded flight mode and now slightly refolded along their resilin joints, are all that's left of a bat snack.