When twilight came closer, excitement rose. We gathered together with our friends in a tower from which you could see the storm of animals just meters away. Just in a moment, we were about to watch the greatest group of any mammal on earth.
In Kasanka National Park, fruit bats gather up to 10 million every year to feed on fruits and flowers. They sleep in one of the forests of the national park and every evening they fly out together in a massive cloud.
We all stood silent, ready with our cameras for a long time in the 20 meter high tree-hide, or maybe it was time that passed slowly. The light got duskier and duskier for every minute and the impatience made Wilhelm fire off his camera several times at random with 10 frames per second. TR-R-R-R-R! We were tense since the show only lasts for a couple of minutes each time.
This huge migration of the fruit bats is of great importance for many other animals. It is a good source of food for many predators such as birds of prey, lizards and leopards. One of the staff had seen a fish eagle fly with a bat just the other day.
Some flying creatures could be seen far at the horizon – there were three of them. Could it be the first bats coming out?
They flew over the sun, just when the horizon was about to devour it. The shadows made clear it was hornbills flying in a row. Beautiful, but our waiting had to continue.
Just when the last piece of the sun had faded, a misty and small cloud was showing on the horizon. We could barely see it at first but it grew rapidly. And then – all of a sudden we were in it. Bats passed us at an indescribable rate. Thousands per second or even more!
The huge numbers of bats made it go on and on. The sky was covered with bats into infinity as far as we could tell. It was just like a tunnel of bats flying over and around us. We lost our perception of time, but suddenly it was over. A few scattered bats flew delayed, and then – there was no more. The sky was empty and black, with exception of the moon and some bleached out stars.
The night surrounded us and it was time to go to bed. After some bread with peanut butter, oranges and tea we sneaked in under our tent to wake up 05.30 once again to follow the Kinda Baboons (Papio Kindae) for the last time.
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