I used to watch bats at sunset growing up, especially on my grandmother’s farm. During my last visit, there were no bats to been seen, with their unlikely bodies belying graceful acrobatics.
It had been a long time since I’d seen any, both as a product of my current location and the devastating white-nose syndrome. I remember once when my mother rescued a bat which I believe had been unfortunate enough to get entangled with a cat; that was far and away the closest I had been to one and sadly my memories are the fuzzy ones of a child.
It did my heart good to see them in Denver, coming in as the sun set, tumbling over the lake and skimming the surface, taking a drink to go. It was just light enough to see their translucent wings when they dove at the right angle.
The words are not doing it justice; the only image is in my brain. Instead of bats, I have a picture of a more solitary target, the black-crowned night heron, with a characteristic stocky hunch.
Black-crowned night heron in Denver Botanic Gardens. Photo by author, beauty by design, 2016.