Last night our amazing bat-catching team: Fred Frick, Paul Heady and their friend and colleague, Marm Kilpatrick, succeeded in capturing a Western Yellow bat, a species which Merlin wanted to add to his portrait collection. On their way back to us, they called ahead and we got the set ready. No night off for us, but that was okay because the bat was a very handsome male in its prime, and we were able to eventually get great portraits.
Initially, this bat was about as cantankerous and uncooperative as any Merlin has ever seen. However, we were able to greatly improve his disposition with a bribe of mealworms.
Tonight we will attempt, for the first time, to photograph bats pollinating cardon cactus in the wild, a major challenge considering that most of the flowers are 12 to 25 feet above ground, and Merlin will have to manually trigger in time to catch a rapidly moving bat, all in very low light!