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agile bats hunting moths and drinking from pond

  • Wildlife photographer Michael Durham captured the shots in Deschutes National Forest near Pine Creek in Oregon, US
  • Each image was taken between 11pm and 2am as the photographer patiently waited for the creatures to appear
  • Each image was taken using lasers which trigger a high-speed shutter

These amazing shots capture the moment a Western bat glides silently in pursuit of prey with delicate wings outstretched and its small mouth gaping open.

The detailed shots were captured by wildlife photographer Michael Durham, in Deschutes National Forest near Pine Creek in Oregon, US.

It shows the exact moment two bats - a speedy pipistrelle and a small brown bat - locate a flighty moth over an expanse of desert scrub and woodland.
Each image was taken in the late hours between 11pm and 2am by Durham, 49, who patiently waits for the creatures to appear - ready to snap them with lasers which trigger a high-speed shutter.

He spots when a long-eared myotis bat skims the surface of a man-made guzzler, eager to scoop a mouthful of water in the muggy heat of the night.

Mr Durham, from Portland, Oregon, said: 'This is an enormous technical challenge. Bats prefer to fly in complete darkness and they are incredibly quick.
'I'll watch the figures being fed onto a laptop but sometimes the bats surprise me by flying back and forth through the laser trigger like it's a fun trick they can do.'

He said: 'The detector allows you to hear the ultrasonic calls of a bat and when they are closing in on prey the calls become extremely rapid and turn into a buzz.

'The bats do occasionally make a flapping noise but they're otherwise silent to human ears. Of course, they are actually echo-locating like crazy in the ultrasonic range.'

The nocturnal creatures eat anything from beetles and centipedes to small fish and even frogs. Due to their secretive nature, humans rarely see bats up close - so a brush with the beasts is valued by Mr Durham.

He said: 'I've had curious bats land on my head and brush past me with their wings. I try to stay out of their way, but I'm incredibly close.

'I think bats represent all the things in nature that we don't see directly.. They are magnificent little animals but almost nobody gets to see them in action up close.

'And yet they live just outside our doors and under our very noses.

'There are thousands of spectacles of nature that we can't observe because we lack the proper ability to perceive. We miss a lot. Bats are just the tip of the iceberg.

'I think these photos are just a brief look into the life of a very secretive animal.'


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BatsRule!: agile bats hunting moths and drinking from pond
agile bats hunting moths and drinking from pond
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