I have always loved that crossover between the ariel insectivores, between the swallows and the bats. Between the diurnal and the nocturnal. In a word: twilight.
Looking to the southwestern skies, framed by silhouetted redwoods, I watched for the appearance of the first bat. The change over of swing to graveyard. At 8:30 PM there were still a few violet-green swallows catching insects on the wing. At 8:32 the unmistakeable flap-flap-flap of a flying mammal appeared from stage right, while the last swallow made it’s last foray. This is the time of the bats!
I wanted to sketch a bat map, a record of bat movement over a finite time period. I mean really finite, I mean three minutes.
Before the bats appeared, I sketched the silhouetted redwoods as a way to frame the composition and as a way to give me points of reference when it came time to map their flight across the sky.
I may be able to identify all the common species go birds by sight and sound that inhabit the area around my cabin but I have no clue how to identify the 12 common species of bats that live in Santa Cruz County. There are over 1,400 species bats worldwide and the are the second numerous order of mammals after rodents! I know, by default, that they are micro bats because mega bats don’t occur in North America.
Once the two bats appeared it was about going from the eye to the hand as I traced their path in the twilight sky, a sort of flittermouse Etch A Sketch. I felt like a vessel and the bats were dictating the line through their flight path. The bats were creating the sketch, I was just taking notes!