A Once in a Lifetime Experience
August 10-11, 2024
Members Only Field Trip
$250/per person (Limited to 10 participants!)
Sign up date will be announced online, July 2024
We are beyond thrilled that we will once again be able to visit the Jornada Bat maternity colony located in a remote volcanic reach within the Armendaris Ranch, owned by Ted Tuner, that encompasses 358,000 acres in south-central New Mexico. This is indeed a trip of a lifetime to experience the close-up encounter with millions of Brazilian Free-tailed bats and seven other species of bats that have been identified, including Allen’s big-eared bat and the spotted bat.
Sitting quietly along the edge of the collapsed lava tube, in the reflected heat of the volcanic rocks, all was calm and quiet. Then from above, distant screams arose, far too high to be seen. As we waited, the screams continued to intensify until first one, then another, soon followed by the mass exodus of bats. It was only then that the cadre of waiting Swainson’s Hawks made their descent into the bat stream, catching and eating on the wing. Even as I write this, several years after my last visit, it still evokes chills of excitement. Other raptors might include Prairie and Peregrine Falcon, American Kestrel, and even Barn Owl.
We will primitive camp overnight at the site, located 20+ rugged miles from the ranch headquarters in Engle, NM. This will enable us to experience both the nightly exodus from the lava tubes as well as the early morning return of the bats that differs greatly from the nightly departure. This means that you will need to bring a tent and camping gear that includes bedding. If your car will be driven to the site, then you also can sleep in your vehicle. We will provide a portable toilet and tissue. Be sure to bring your camp chair and camera.
This is a weather dependent trip! In the event of monsoon rains, the trip may be canceled on short notice.
Dinner and breakfast box lunches will be provided by the Sierra Grande Lodge in T or C. Our crew will provide shade tents, water, coffee and tea, and all the fixings first thing in the morning. Participants will be provided with menus so you can pre-order meals.
We will meet in T or C at 3 p.m. and travel together to ranch headquarters. Only experienced back country drivers with 4WD vehicles with reasonable clearance will be allowed to enter the ranch. We will consolidate into as few cars as possible for the 1 hour drive out to the site, where we may see some of the many wildlife that call these grasslands home.