Little Fruit Bats, The hollowed out log (part 2)

4th December 2017

Mark and I made another attempt at photographing the bats today. Our strongest light wasn’t charged so we used our smaller headlamps and took turns crawling into the log. Mark attached his ring light to a long stick and tried sliding it under where the bats were hanging. However, with the weaker lights we were using, either way we both had some trouble focusing and getting good sharp images. Some of the bats flew over Mark’s head and they perched between where he was and where I sitting at the entrance. We took a break to head back and eat lunch, then decided to go back and try again, with both of us taking our cameras into the log. So this time I crawled in first, almost all the way to the other end, which is the furthest I’ve been so far! I moved slowly and rested my arms and camera on the pillow we used before. Some of the bats took off and flew over my head, perching back towards the center of the log. Mark was making his way to the center with his camera and tripod. So he focused on images of the bats in the center of the log while I focused on images of the ones toward the very back. As we worked I could hear them flying over my head from time to time, and could even feel the air from their flapping wings! Every now and then they would make a loud squeaking sound. I could feel bugs crawling on me now and then while lying on the floor of the log and also could hear and see cockroaches and katydids moving around in the woodwork. We worked until it started to get dark, and we both were able to get close enough to the bats to get some good images with the lighting we had. Towards the end the bats left the back of the log and flew towards where Mark was sitting. He was able to turn around and slowly crawl out, being careful of some bats perched over his head close to the entrance. Then I carefully turned around and had to crawl underneath all of the bats perched overhead. I stayed low and could hear them flying overhead. Once we were both finally out of the tree, we reviewed our images; even with the trouble we had focusing we each had some shots that we liked. I managed to get a few where the bats had their mouths wide open, showing lots of teeth!

Story written by Mark Fernley