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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Bats in the old mine - Townsend's big-eared bats

I have spent most of the Summer photographing bats - including a trip through the Southwest in July. Along the way I met some wonderful people, and managed to also get some pretty cool images of bats. Some of the bats were extraordinarily rare and beautiful, and I hope to post some of these images after I have had the opportunity to do some editing.

However I just returned from Prineville, where an unexpected opportunity presented itself. I had traveled to the Maury mountain area of the Ochoco National Forest to photograph bats drinking from an old water trough. Unfortunately, this was a fruitless effort, but it turns out that an old, abandoned mercury sulfide mine was nearby with hundreds townsend's big-eared bats roosting in the interior.

The mine looked like a set piece from Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom. There were little rail trackways, buckets full of cinnabar, 55 gallon oil drums, and old timbers shoring up the walls and the roof. All of this was mostly untouched since abandoned in the 1950's. I could not really get many of these elements into the photographs along with the bats, but I did try to capture some of the ambience of the place with the lighting and composition.

By the way, I did obtain permission to photograph this site from the local biologist and had a bat survey team along to collect data at the same time.

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These bats are really cool looking with their big ears and large wing span. While you can't see great numbers in the images, there were actually over one hundred bats flying about the interior once the sun set.


Hannah Velten said...

What amazing photographs! I'm so glad I stumbled upon your blog - they've made my evening. Thank you

OregonWild said...

Thanks for your nice comments Hannah.


Bpaul said...

I second the comments, I've now fixed a glitch in my bookmarking of your site and am catching up. Love these photos, especially the one with the old drums and cave wall in it.

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Details About Me

Portland, Oregon, United States
Husband, Father, Student Of Natural History, Photographer