“A syndrome that attacks hibernating bats is much more severe in Connecticut… will lead to a dramatic reduction in the size of the state’s bat population this summer, according to wildlife experts at the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)…DEP Commissioner Gina McCarthy said, ‘While no one yet knows for sure what is causing WNS and why such large numbers of bats are dying, we will see the ramifications of this in just a few months. Far fewer bats will be out there working to consume mosquitoes and other flying insects that attack people as well as our forests and farmlands.’”
It’s depressing news. I don’t like to write of it. News stories like this one describing a mysterious disease affecting bats can make it seem hopeless. So why bother with healthy environmental practices? Why bother with outdoor pleasures that are so likely soon to disappear?
I took a great walk yesterday. One of my very favorite day-flying moths popped out of some bushes. Here it is:
It’s a moth with alot of fashion sense, in my opinion. There are more day-flying moths than you would think, and they are often quite pretty. While butterflies confine themselves to daytime flight, moths run the gamut so keep your eyes open.
In spite of Emily Dickinson’s famous verse “Hope is the thing with feathers”, yesterday my hope came in a winged form with none.
I found a bat. It was healthy and sleeping. It hung, wings closed and upside down from a crabapple tree in the middle of the woods. It looked well-fed and the fur was clean (bats are fastidious) and sleek. It had tucked itself near some forming crab apples, and was reasonably well camouflaged. I could easily have walked by thinking it was a leaf, but something about the shape gave me pause.
I know the bat disease (White Nose Syndrome) is rampant. I don’t expect to see many flitting around the night sky this summer. But even in great epidemics there are those who remain mysteriously untouched. They form the nexus of a new beginning. Out of the ashes rises the pheonix. Or the bat, whichever you prefer.
See you on the trails,
Diane Tucker, Estate Naturalist