Tuesday, August 18, 2009

like a tea tray in the sky

Every year in late summer, small brown pipistrelle bats stop over at
the manor for several days on their way to their hibernation spot for
the fall and winter months. Some years, like this year, there are less
than 100. But sometimes they've picked up other migratory groups
along the away and there are thousands. One year, the neighbors
rushed over, when they saw a huge dark donut cloud of bats circling
the house. I'll have to admit, it does add to the mystique of a haunted
manor.

video

If you listen carefully, you can hear them chirping a pip-like chirp.
They hang out in one of our chimneys (don't worry, it's not the
fireplace chimney) a day or two until they've rested up and are again
on their merry little bat way. You can see one taking a nose dive into
the chimney at the very end of the video.


Twinkle, twinkle little bat
How I wonder what you're at!
Up above the world you fly,
Like a tea tray in the sky.
~
Lewis Carroll
~
PS...After careful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that
these so called bats, have in fact been chimney swifts, all these years.
Thanks especially to Tattered and Lost for inpiring me to take a
closer look.

65 comments:

  1. Bats are so cool. When I was doing river trips on the Rio Grande through the canyons of Big Bend, the bats would come out in the early evenings swooping over us and sending out their little pings.

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  2. I love bats. So glad to know that your lend them your hospitality each year.

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  3. Bat you're glad they only stay a few days! (tee-hee...sorry!)

    Actually, this is very cool! And yes, it does add to the mystique of the manor!

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  4. OMG! This is incredible... We do have bats too, here in Germany... but just 4 or 5. They are flying around the house every night. I love to watch them...

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  5. Bats certainly have a bad rep--- probably because they have such ugly faces and because of 'dracula'-- they certainly have a mystique.

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  6. Bats are quite magical little beings -- in the evening down at our pond we can watch them swooping down for quick sips of water before returning to bug patrol.

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  7. Bats are so much fun, I used to have them at work, I worked the late shift.

    I would pick up a small rock and toss it up in the air. It would never fall in the same place. The bats would swoop down and grab it, fly to another location and drop the rock. I was having a blast.

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  8. The film clip is wonderful. I am not sure that I could be quite as hospitable as you.

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  9. OMG, bats in the belfry! A neighbour here had them in his roof every year, they made an awful mess and the ceilings were getting stained. He had to seal up every tiny hole around the roof. They're OK if they roost in a tree!!

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  10. Bats are great, & very beneficial, too. I've meant to put up a bat house on the loafing shed in our pasture for some time--maybe next spring!

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  11. Bats are wild! I rember hearing them nights at my old camp...

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  12. we used to stand in the backyard, tossing rocks into the sky to watch them dive...we may have made them chip a tooth or two.

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  13. Wowee! Do you have a butler named Alfred as well???

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  14. Oh this reminds me of the Chimney Swifts that come here to roost each year in our chimney as they migrate. They'll be here for weeks. We used to get around 1000 going down our chimney each night. Now it's down to maybe 200. Watching them gather in the sky each evening is stunning as they come in from all over the county. Then slowly they begin to circle as a group with the circle getting tighter and tighter. Standing in the middle of it is amazing because the circle gradually becomes high and low with those at the top dropping off one by one down the chimney. The sound of them going by is wonderful. A wonderful buzzing whirring noise. And then the last one disappears down the chimney and that's it for the night. Except from inside the house. The damper is closed but you hear them all flying around in the chimney hunting for the nesting spot for the night. Then suddenly November comes and they're gone. Some return each spring to nest and raise babies in the chimney.

    Now as to your bats...I think I could use a few. I found my cats playing with a black widow spider on the bedroom rug last night. I did not sleep well.

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  15. Tattered, okay, now you've got me wondering if our bats could actually be chimney swifts. Someone told us they were bats years ago and we've just assumed they were all this time. And because I thought they were bats, I never got up close and personal enough to find out. I now just read that the swifts make that high pitched chirping just like these do. Hmm.

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  16. LOVE.IT. ♥

    Every evening, people flock to the bridges here where they can watch thousands of bats fly out every evening. It is incredible to behold!!

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  17. I always hated bats, I was always hitting the deck when I was a kid!

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  18. how enchanting - there are few of cousins of your little ones who come around the woods bordering the back yard here - every once in a while, one or two will venture toward the front of the house past my bedroom window - now the last time i thought of a bat was many moons ago when i saw frank langella in dracula for the first time - for months after the movie, i slept with my windows and patio doors open so he wouldn't hurt his gorgeous self coming through glass! :)

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  19. They do make a chirping sound as they gather and while they circle. It becomes a bit of madness actually, almost mechanical. I had a cat that used to wait each evening for this and he'd jump up and get a bird as their circle came lower down. I tried to be out there to stop him.

    They look very much like swallows. They're fascinating birds that stay aloft all day until they nest at night. If you see them flying around in the morning you probably have Swifts.

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  20. Tattered, they circle and chirp right at dusk, then into the chimney. They have a very jerky movement to their wings, which always made me believe they were bats. Now I'm having second thoughts.

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  21. I'm quite certain those are chimney swifts circling overhead. This is the time of year when they are done nesting & raising young and gather each night in a communal roost to sleep. Enjoy, they ar wonderful.

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  22. I love bats, though I was quite alarmed when I recently put on a jacket and it started screeching because there was a bat in the armpit. The jacket had to be put outside for the evening so the bat could go off and do batty things.

    I've never heard of chimney swifts, I wonder what they did before chimneys were invented?

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  23. The swifts sort of glide and flutter. As they get tighter and tighter in a circle they're all dodging for position. It happens at dusk. Before dusk I can see them coming in slowly from around the county and they fly all around for a few hours sweeping up and down catching bugs. Then as dusk comes the madness begins. In the morning they all just sort of start tumbling out of bed and circle the neighborhood for awhile before heading off to their daily hunting grounds. When I first saw them probably around 15 years ago I called the Audobon Society who told me I should feel very privileged. The woman told me of an old abandoned smoke stack in a nearby town where probably around 10,000 came each night. People would drive from long distances to see it.

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  25. Oh, marvelous! We also have many bats here but it's the chimney swifts here that took up residence in the unused chimney swooping down just like your bats!

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  26. Whatever they are, they certainly don't waste any time zipping across the sky. That's really something to see the chimney sort of slurp them in.

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  27. support the bats, cool!
    loved the little video, so simple, so natural.

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  28. I couldn't see the video... did you have any other complaints? Sorry, I didn't read all 28 comments, but obviously some saw it.
    Anyway, we have bats all summer long. They fly around the pool. I love watching them (not so fond of finding them in the skimmer...)

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  29. Now, bats are beneficial animals all right; but, I can live without them.

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  30. I love bats. We have them swooping around the park at night even though we live in the inner-city. Every so often you see them overhead like a frizzled tea tray caught in the electric wires which is sad. I think they have such clever faces!
    Hey we have to disagree on the Changeling. I actually really liked that movie (even though I don't like Jolie at all) Do you know the true story is even more terrible? I think Eastwood chickened out of showing it! xx

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  31. I <3 bats. I would have bat boxes hanging everywhere I could if my family & husband didn't make a fuss every time I went to order one.

    That video was awesome :-)

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  32. Once I had to remove a bat from my living room curtains in a farm house I rented one year. It didn't go too badly with a pair of leather gloves and a small towel, then outside to a tree where I placed its tiny body on the highest fork I could reach. I couldn't get over how delicate the skin was over their wings. Really neat to see it close up.

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  33. So, do you live with Count Dracula or Count Chocula?

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  34. Oh what a wonderful sight! I always get excited when I see a bat flying at night around, here, very rare but so sweet.

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  35. I was outside about an hour ago and the usual 4 bats were busy feeding. I love them, but must admit that I get a little freaked out when they swoop down.

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  36. What wonderful creatures. A cousin of mine has one of those wizzy receiver things and we often sit by the river watching the bats swoop about and 'chatter'.

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  37. bats or swifts, either way, very amazing video - we have bats at night - I'll see them when I leave the studio right after dusk - just a few though :)

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  38. How very cool, Willow! Your little haunted manse has good energy.

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  39. I love bats, from tiny insectivores, to the flying-foxes you can see going over by the thousand on some nights in places here in Oz.

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  40. Willow, I think It has to be a magic atmosphere! I like them, sometimes on the lake in early morning I find them sleeping on the wall. My brother says they are the drunken ones who forgot the way to their house :D

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  41. You are so lucky to have bats in your belfry!!!! They clean up the myriads of nasty bity thing that are out at dusk. Probably drastically reduce your mosquito population too.

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  42. Oh my are they special animals. I don't think we could survive, long, without them. Like the honeybees that pollinate our food crops, the bat does a number of insects that are out and about at night. From monumental moths to the tiny mosquitos, here at least, the bats are their match and then some.

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  43. Willow, cool you were able to film them! And I can just make out their chirping. Had to go back to spot the diving bat, tho'! Cool :)

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  44. Willow, I have SUCH mixed feelings about bats...they are so interesting but yet, I cannot shake their creepiness!! I didn't even know that they migrate and I am glad they only visit you for a few days.

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  45. I love the idea of bats circling the manor! Cool beans! One day you need to see the bats leave Congress Bridge over Town Lake in Austin. Unbelievable.

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  46. OMG, that video was so cool Willow! At first glance, I thought the photo was of a rat sitting on toast!

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  47. Wow! Fantastic pictures! I so love bats!

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  48. What a beautiful picture of you in the sidebar! Wow!! Glamorous.

    I like bats. They eat mosquitoes and as opposed to other flying creatures, they will never crash into you because they've got such great radar.

    I love the vid!!

    At witch camp one year my colleagues wrote a song about bats just for me. I wish you could hear me sing it - it's kind of dirge like, but funny.

    Bat stew bat stew
    When there's nothing else to do
    When life gives you bats
    Make bat stew bat stew

    (repeat indefinitely)

    Ever since then I've wanted to cross stitch a pillow with the quote: "When life gives you bats, make bat stew."

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  49. Willow~ thank you for sharing this! Last night I sat outside waiting on the dogs, and watched four bats fluttering about. I am so fasinated with them. I don't understand why people find them creepy! They consume mosqetoes by the hundreds! I use to have a bat house and miss it so. I will be putting a new one up at the new house!
    I loved the video! You have several! Thanks again for sharing this. Your Batty Blog Friend Janis

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  50. ps...I have also had Chimney Swifts & I also were reminded of them. Can a bat take off from a chimney? Don't they need to
    take off from a drop position? Then flight can go up?

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  51. They are yucky critters but they do eat even more yucky bugs ...

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  52. Janis, we looked at them again last night and are seriously thinking our bats all these years have actually been chimney swifts!

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  53. Hello Willow,

    I'm sure we had bats flying around at our last house, in the Highlands. But it was always dark and I didn't look too closely!!

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  54. Thanks for being the "all" creatures lovin' gal that you are. Love the video, I think bats are very sweet little creatures and they've found a temporary haven there at the Manor. xo les Gang

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  55. There are less and less here too...
    I miss their eratic flight in the early evening.

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  56. hi willow - i love bats, i have never felt the fear of them that so many people seem to feel. i love how they live and how they fly around. they do us a ton of favours. bat's a re nothing to get in a flap about . . . . don't you love reya's dirge!!!! steven

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  57. Reya, yes, I think you should definitely cross stitch the pillow.

    Love-love the dirge. I want to hear you sing it!

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  58. How lucky for you- love the little video- so peaceful. Bats are some of my favorite creatures, SWEET!

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  59. O Willow,
    that video was sheer delight, thank you! :-)

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  60. Native Americans believe that the bat is a totem is a symbol of good luck when it enters your house!

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  61. Willow,

    You're welcome. It's a lot easier to think of hundreds of birds going down the chimney than bats. Plus, here's a bonus you might not be aware of...the swifts are actually cleaning your chimney. They're little nails clawing the inner walls of the chimney are a good thing.

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  62. Wow, I wish this happened where I lived!

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  63. This is a great post
    and is similar to my todays post.

    .
    You commented on the mystery #1,
    for my new WordPress Nature Blog.
    'I C U Nature' for Nature Only!
    The answer with photos is available.

    Click here to see the Answer.

    Come visit and tell me what you think,
    Troy
    .

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)