Last night we visited the Old Tunnel WMA to watch the Mexican Free-tailed Bats emerge from the old abandoned Railroad tunnel. It houses a seasonal colony of approximately 1 to 3 million Bats.
Everything that you have heard about Bats is not true, however they are wild mammals, and do nurse their young. Since they must be warm, many bats occupy a small space. The females leave the tunnel in the spring and go south to warmer climates to have their babies and come back with their pups later in the season.
It was awesome to see them swoop out of the cave in waves in a vortex and fly high in closely knitted packs that looked a lot like black smoke as they got further and further away from us. The Volunteers from the Department of Wildlife asked us to be somewhat quiet and not take lots of flash pictures, however I did get one picture from my small camera that shows them if you look very closely. It looks more like a lot of foliage on the tree than bats because of the distance.
They have a lower viewing area that you pay $5.00 each for and you get a lot closed to them, which would have been great, and we would have done it, however, by 8:00 they were sold out. We didn’t even think to bring our Binoculars! Duh!
To get to the Old Tunnel you have to come in from either Fredericksburg, TX or from Kerrville, TX. We are currently staying in Comfort, TX so we took 87 south then East on FM (Farm Road) 473 which takes you underneath I-10 and then on a two lane paved road 5 miles, then when FM473 takes a right turn to Sisterdale, go straight ahead on Old #9 Hwy for about 8 more miles. You can’t miss it! It is on the right and there are signs. When I said straight, I was kidding, the road is a typical farm road and twist and turns a lot, so if you don’t want to end up in the “pucker brush” take it a little slow.
Next to the Bat viewing area there is a Restaurant that has live music. We walked over and listened for a few minutes, but decided to head back before there was a caravan of cars. Well worth your time, if you are down this way, a must see.