Bats are amazing creatures! If you have never experienced the departure of bats at dusk, I invite you to drive out Old San Antonio Road to the Old Tunnel Wildlife Management Area just east of Fredericksburg at dusk! Viewing is May – October and you can get up-to-date bat emergence by calling 1-866-978-2287.
Mike Leggett’s Journey Across Texas is featured in the Austin American-Statesman each Sunday. He has compiled “A Texas To-Do List: 24 Things Every Texas Should Do Before he Dies.” On Sunday, June 25th Mike featured BATS!!! According to the article, In Texas, we have 32 of the 45 bat species known to inhabit North America. Our most numerous is the Mexican free-tailed bat, and we have good reason to love him. We would be, almost literally, standing knee-deep in bugs if it weren’t for bats. A typical bat may consume as many as 40 corn ear worm moths in a single night. That’s in addition to the mosquitoes, scorpions, moths and flies the bat might devour.
Bats make their home in the Bat Tunnel on Old San Antonio Road residing in a 920 foot long railroad tunnel dug with pick and shovel out of a limestone mountain. Trains ran through this tunnel for nearly 29 years beginning in August 1913. “Since the early ’50s, there have been bats reported at Old Tunnel every year, though the numbers do fluctuate,” says Nyla Brown who oversees this Wildlife area. They say that free-tailed bats can fly up to 40 miles each night as they forage for insects.
It is truly a sight to behold watching the bats leave the tunnel at dusk. First there are just a handful and then bursts of a few dozen at a time. Soon the sky is covered with these awesome creatures. Watch where you are standing or you may get some “bat guano” in your hair or on your clothes, BUT it is well worth this marvelous viewing of nature at work.
While you are there take time to eat at the Alamo Spring Cafe. It has been written up as serving the third best hamburger in the state of Texas (voted on by Texas Monthly readers. Enjoy the laid back atmosphere and enjoy the music on the patio usually on weekends. I have never heard of anyone being disappointed by their visit to the Cafe. “http://www.alamospringscafe.com”