Monday, July 2, 2012

Bats in the Morning Walk

I had a long conversation last week.  One of those "Catch Up With Good Friends" conversations that covers some of the bases, and you only realize that you wanted to share more once it was over.  Joe was my programmer when I worked at Temple University, but he and his family are family to me, even now after being away for 6 years.

He was talking about his love of Astronomy and how he was looking into hooking up a video camera to his telescope.  Nice hack turning your telescope into a TV camera.   Since there were few stars in the Suburban South Jersey skies that I grew up in, Astronomy was one of those things that was rumored and never quite seen.  Sure people in other parts of the world got to look up and see the Milky Way but it was something I only experienced when I took my Jeep out to Apple Pie Hill, climbed the fire tower on a clear night and looked up while my jaw dropped to catch mosquitoes.

This is a view from the top of the tower on a clear morning.  I need to drag my sister out there some day...

I was thinking about this conversation when I walked outside today.   Waking up well before the dawn at 5AM, I stepped outside and let Lettie water the lawn.  Feeding her, we went out to greet the morning.  There were about 5 stars out at that time of the morning.  I'm sure there are more at other times of the day, but for the most part, there are few.   After all, Wilton Manors, FL, is pretty close to the Geographic Center of the South Florida Sprawl.

Walking around my neighborhood listening to the story of how Martin Frobisher discovered Iron Pyrite for Queen Elizabeth I in Northern Canada while looking for the Northwest Passage, I watched the skies as my dog watched the ground for interesting smells.

Hearing the Posh British Accent in my ears, I noticed a dark flash and an odd sound to the Audio program(me).  At that point I got to see the Batman Signal framed by a pair of palm trees when I scanned toward where I had just come.  There were two large bats fluttering around hunting for their morning meal.  These were the size of a medium song bird, but clearly bats as the supersonic "Nick! Nick!" sonar sound was bouncing off of objects in the skies.

Martin Frobisher had reached Baffin Island and flying Bats had found their meal.  Neither were common sights in South Florida.  Luckily the Bats are healthy, there certainly are enough flying around the morning skies for them to eat. 

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