I finally went to go see the famous Austin bats on Saturday night with fellow Statesman intern Caitlin Clark and some friends from out of town. We parked at the Statesman and walked down to the river where we stood on the grass for about half an hour while we waited for bats to make an appearance. I was shocked by the crowd. These bats emerge every night, but there were still hundreds of people all along both sides of the river, on the Congress bridge and on the water. I was a little nervous about going to see them because the bats are coming out later this year, which makes them harder to see, but they’re still drawing a great crowd anyway.
While waiting, we could hear the bats under the bridge. They were making little chirping noises and sounded just like crickets. They started coming out slowly; one flew out, then a few trickled after it. Eventually hundreds of bats were emerging from underneath the bridge, and it was extraordinary. We stood watching them for at least 10 minutes and they just kept coming. The bat tour boats were shining lights underneath the bridge and we could see that there were still so many not yet flying. It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. After seeing the bats, it’s no surprise to me that so many people gather around that bridge in the evenings to watch them.