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Bats of Round Rock

Last weekend we were driving north on I35 around sunset. Far away on the horizon I could see smoke. Not unusual. But it wasn’t normal smoke, which stays together. This was like huge puffs of smoke. I thought maybe clouds, but it was moving too fast. As we got closer we thought they were birds. LOTS of birds. My first thought was swifts since they are known for large flocks at dusk, before they settle in for the night. But these were leaving, not arriving. Doris was driving, so I whipped out my phone and started recording. This was made easier by everyone slowing down to watch them. I thought it was just the usual traffic jam, but not today!

As we watched thousands of them go by, I could see they weren’t shaped like birds, but more like bats! Austin is well-known for the 1.5 million Mexican Free-tailed bats that live under the Congress bridge. I’ve been down there to see them once, but they didn’t leave until after dark, so I couldn’t see much. I did not know about the additional 1 million bats in Round Rock. Apparently they don’t mind the train that runs under their home.

This is less than 1 mile south from where I used to bird on occasion, which is the Brushy Creek area by the I35. I would definitely like to head out there some time for proper photos and video.

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