When Bats are Disturbed
A story on nocturnal creatures disturbed during day. Disclaimer : A shameless plug to exhibit some of my pictures.
It was an unreal misty morning, with the sun appearing as a perfect light gray disk, humble by the thick cover of cloudy mist. I walked with excitement in anticipating something beautiful may reveal itself to my camera lense in such a moody and dramatic morning. My target was obvious, a small artificial lake near my house, surrounded by a jogging track that I really should use. When I reached the lake, cloudy droplets of water rose from the lake, making it look as if it was steaming from heat.
Apart from the gloomy morning, there was a constant scream from fruit bats that commonly inhabit our island named Sri Lanka. If you have been here, you would know just how large these flying creatures are. The bats were disturbed. The usual blobs of black leather that should have been hanging from the tree were instead up in the air. Circling, screeching and all around confused. The source of the disturbance was obvious: A grass trimming machine working at full settings, pruning the sides of the jogging path. While there was no direct threat to these magnificent creatures, they were obviously irritated by the noise that hit their sensitive ears.
While I was feeling sorry for these creatures, a little selfish part of me delighted in watching them posing in the air with such agility and grace. It is a beautiful sight to watch them come together and then disperse in patterns. I love observing patterns, and this was rich! A morning that was gloomy and wonderful at the same time. Well, I think gloomy, misty morning are far better than the hot tropical sun beating your soul out.
With the sun barely making an appearance in the sky, a series of opportunistic dark vs. light scenarios unfolded. I felt it was uniquely serendipitous that the bats flew as a congregation but ever so rarely one would break away creating a unique story.
In one capture a bat seem to bank into the faint disk that is the sun with its tiny hands extended to the sun god. I sometimes imagine if these creatures have a complex but naive model of the world, how they would react to certain things. You know what! I feel like going down that rabbit hole. Let’s call this bat “suraci” [See what I did there?].
The Story of Suraci
Suraci drifts between sleep and the conversation with her friends hanging upside down. She is already feeling uneasy because the warmth that should have been there was not present. She was thinking it was strange, but nothing more. Suddenly searing pain consumes her ear! Such a noise!!! There was no time to think, there was no time to ask, her safe heaven suddenly seems hellish. Without a seconds delay, her instincts releases her from the branch and takes her into the air! As she climbs the pain subsides. Whatever is causing her pain is somewhere in cold hard ground. Everything is still confusing to her, is it day? why is it dark? Then she notices it! A disc, a disc that seems to suspend from the sky. She feels it to be alien somehow. Is it there to save her? Is it there to harm her? It’s in the sky away from the pain! It must be her saviour. Salvation in a light gray disk! She banks into the disk among the clouds hoping her claws will embrace it.
In the same setting, suddenly a group of bats flew past. The moment captured, quite luckily also featured a dark cloud overpowering the already subdued sun. The effect was as if the bats were moving to their natural nocturnal settings. Irritated not only by the sound below, but also by the bright disk that hung in the sky.
It was a beautiful morning for me despite the gloomy misty feeling. That allowed me to capture some awesomely dark pictures.
Hope you enjoyed the pictures and the slightly more mellow ramblings of an observer.