"There was so much sky, more than at sea, more than anywhere else in the world." Willa Cather
We camped at Carlsbad Caverns for a special event. Above is a view from the parking lot campsite, and to the right is a pic as in the morning everyone packed up. We've seen plenty pictures of Mexican freetail bats emerging from the main entrance at Carlsbad, but were very fortunate to witness them return at sunrise. Once a year the Park Service lets folks gather to watch the bats come back. The pace picks up gradually until swarms and masses of thousands of bats return (mostly from the Southeast, probably the Pecos and Black River valleys?) from gorging themselves on night-flying insects. Using echolocation, as our daughter pointed out, each bat catches and eats its fill of insects and when dawn arrives, the bats fly back to the cave individually or in small groups. They re-enter by positioning themselves high above the entrance, folding wings close to body, and plummeting into the blackness of the Cavern, making a strange thrumming sound. Thousands of divebombers. No picturetaking but the combination of sunrise, gradual increase in number of bats heading in and thousands of birds flying out at the same time, is memorable.