For the last couple of nights the crew and I have been mist netting for bats in Arizona. To mist net, we string an extremely fine net across a waterway that we think bats will utilize for drinking while they are out foraging. Bats that don’t detect the net fly into it and get “trapped” until we come along and remove them. The same basic process is used to capture birds for research, too.
Over two nights of netting, we have caught more than 40 bats representing 10 different species! Two of the species we caught this year we have never caught in our nets before (of course, we are novices so that doesn’t really say much, but it’s still really exciting). If you are wondering what bat species we have caught look for images of the pallid bat, Townsend’s big-eared bat, and the hoary bat to get an idea.
In addition to our research, we continue to have crazy animal encounters. Two stand out in my mind.
1) We have dozens of black widow spiders that have taken up residence around our doorway and the rest of the lodge. Fortunately for them, we are biologists that will coexist peacefully with them so long as they maintain their respectful distances from the interior of our dwelling.
2) We have mice that live in our lodge. I was okay with that until one decided to crawl into bed with me in the middle of the night (not cool). That instigated World War Mouse. I knew catching the offender would be unlikely. But, he made the fatal mistake of entering the bathroom while I was showering. The three of us were able to corner him and catch him (after dismantling an entire washing machine that he was hiding in). Naturally, we then got in the car and drove 3 miles down the road to a nice field and released him – hoping that we wouldn’t run him over in the road on our way back home. Drunk on our success we returned home victoriously – except not even 10 minutes later we saw a second mouse run across the room (probably his lady love). Where is the respect? Couldn’t they wait even a day before dashing our hopes and dreams of living in a mouse-free home?
Finally, in case you haven’t heard, tonight is the SUPER MOON so make sure you take a moment to appreciate it. This is the largest and fullest the moon will be all year, though last night it still looked pretty big and beautiful. I actually had to wear a hat in the field in order to block out light from the moon, because it was so overwhelmingly bright.