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Batting 1.000

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Batting 1.000

Filed by KOSU News in Art & Life, Feature.
July 12, 2012
 

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So far, I’ve been to a bone museum, Guthrie’s Masonic temple, and a mansion that looked like it was dropped in from the southern Italian countryside. Some might have been surprised by each of those, put me in that group. But then I stumbled upon a bat watch. It’s just outside Alabaster Caverns State Park, 25 miles northeast of Woodward. This is not just another part in our series Oklahoma Revealed…

It sounded like any other meeting before a hike.

Like a field trip for adults, complete with the growling yellow school bus.

There were some families along for the ride, but the group was largely older, with a couple teens and 20 somethings sprinkled in. After 10 minutes on a dirty, dusty road, squeezing a school bus through what looked like an impossibly small gate, we arrived to a field sandwiched between heaping mounds of red dirt.

Then it was a walk to our viewing spot, oh and more cicadas…

Okay so you probably get the idea at this point. See here’s the issue, this is radio. Bats don’t make noise. Cicadas make a lot of noise. So the sun set and around 8:45…bats. It almost looked like a Hollywood special effect they flew so perfectly. A long stretch of them, off in the distance like they choreographed their exit from the cave.

This went on for 15 minutes, easy. Thousands of bats, streaming out of some hidden cave, framed against a slowly darkening sky. It left the group pretty much quiet…

…except for those cicadas, and a couple birds.

Then, the real thrill. 5, maybe 10 minutes of waiting, and the baby bats scattered right over your head. They don’t know to fly in a coordinated pattern like their mothers, so they just kinda come out like scatter shot. Disney World, Six Flags, whatever your choice of summer entertainment, trust me, it doesn’t quite capture the natural thrill of bats directly at you, and quickly veering up above.

Some came so close, you could have, if you wanted to, reach out and touch said bats. And then after another 15 minutes, that was it. Back on the bus, and back home.

If you have any recommendations or tips for our series “Oklahoma Revealed”: ben@kosu.org.

2 Responses to “Batting 1.000”

  1. Ron Honn says:

    Awesome story, Ben! Bats are the best, and they catch a really bad rap for no reason. I saw one attached to a stone wall where I worked. It was about dusk. 'Walked up with my nose about 8 inches from him, while he was snoozing, clinging to the wall. He woke up, regarded me casually, began cleaning his fur for a while, the he arched back, lazily fell off the wall and hit the air and flew off to eat mosquitoes for the evening. He looked just like a chihuahua puppy with wings!

  2. @TravelOK says:

    Hey Ben,

    That was a nice post, definitely a unique experience in northwest Oklahoma. We'd love to contribute some ideas for your Oklahoma Revealed series. Do you have any criteria or guidelines for the submissions? Keep up the good work!

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