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There are bats roosting (is that the appropriate word?) in the tree a couple of gardens down from ours.. So my parents and I spent the last ten minutes standing in the back garden, watching bats fly overhead.. It's especially weird because as far as I was previously aware, I had never seen bats in the wild before Barbados.

When we were in Barbados, we could just stand out on the balcony and watch dozens of bats flying around the complex, making ridiculously tight turns, and generally being very bat-like... And this was a huge thing for me, just because I'd never seen wild bats before and it's sort of like seeing a really special bird or something.. Anyway, so that was cool..

But the thing is, I've probably seen them hundreds of times.. I have no reason to suspect that the ones I saw this evening are especially new, after all. There have probably always been bats there, and I've probably always seen them, and mistaken them every time for birds. We have what appears to be a large colony of housemartins here, and they're not a dissimilar size or shape.. The housemartins come out and fly around madly first thing in the morning, why should similar animals doing likewise in the evening necessarily be anything else?

Except that these were totally bats - the silhouette, the way they moved, everything.. So what Barbados really did was teach me how to spot them.. I like that - it's nice to feel a bit of wonder and mystery in your own back garden sometimes; it gives the whole place an exotic feel :o)


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