Gator and bats, sunset, no moon, at Banks Lake 2020-06-05

About 35 paddlers saw bats as the sun set over Banks Lake.

[Bobby McKenzie, WWALS Outings Committee Chair, this expedition leader]
Bobby McKenzie, WWALS Outings Committee Chair, this expedition leader

Thanks to WWALS Outings Committee Chair and Board Member Bobby McKenzie, for organizing and leading this outing.

The moon hid behind clouds, but some of us saw a little gator as we started out. I think Helen Crowley spotted it.

[Movie: Gator swimming]
Movie: Gator swimming

Here’s a video:

The sun set golden.


Clouds moved east.

[Cypress and boats]
Cypress and boats

The bats were swarming out of trees, this one a few feet off the water.

[Movie: Bats flying out of a tree]
Movie: Bats flying out of a tree

My phone didn’t record their sound, but it was a loud out-of-tune chorus of skree. Here’s a video.

The clouds obscured the moon, but everybody had a good time.

[Plenty of boaters]
Plenty of boaters

Jim Raison came to photograph for the Lanier County News.

[Photographer Jim Raison, Lanier County News]
Photographer Jim Raison, Lanier County News

Special guest Turtleman Chris Adams got a photograph of bats inside a tree, and identified them as Little Brown Bats, Myotis lucifugus. He also told us many stories of native plants and animals. Shirley Kokidko and friends convinced him to come.

[Turtleman Chris Adams, Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman]
Turtleman Chris Adams, Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman

We’ll know the exact number of sunset paddlers when we count the sign-in forms. Several people became members and several got kayak raffle tickets, both there and online before, while others paid the $10 per person non-member outings fee on the treestump. Thanks to all of you, that helps with WWALS outings, events, and programs!

[Right this way]
Right this way

If you missed this one, come back next month: we do this most every full moon, weather permitting.

[Volunteers of Banks Lake Outpost]
Volunteers of Banks Lake Outpost

The volunteers at Banks Lake Outpost say they will paddle with us next full moon.

And don’t forget next Saturday, Naylor Boat Ramp Out and Back, Alapaha River 2020-06-13.

Plenty of room back at Banks Lake Boat Ramp.

[Plenty of room]
Plenty of room

There are more pictures on the WWALS website.

See also facebook posts by

  • Bobby McKenzie, who led this outing for WWALS
    “It was an awesome turnout at Banks Lake Full Strawberry Moon paddle last night! The moon couldn’t break through the clouds but great sunset and connection with nature!”

    Bobby McKenzie

  • Helen Crowley
    “Sunset at Banks Lake”

    Helen Crowley

  • Turtleman Chris Adams
    “I spent a wonderful evening on Banks Lake with some great folks I call friends. We went for the WWALS moonlight paddle, alas the clouds weren’t having that. The sunset was stunning in itself though! What really made my trip was Shirley taking us to a “bat tree” to watch the emergence. If I’ve ever displayed childlike joy, it was paddling up to that tree and having literally hundreds of bats wiz and swoop past my ears! They spilled from each opening in every direction. The hollow old cypress tree in open water had created the perfect place for these Little Brown Bats (Myotis lucifugus) to take up residence. This is not the only “bat tree” as there are several at various spots on the lake.”

    Chris Adams

  • Julie Bowland
    “Thanks for a fun paddle! At least we had a Strawberry sunset.”

    Julie Bowland

  • and probably many others.

For more WWALS outings and events as they are posted, see the WWALS calendar or the WWALS outings and events web page. WWALS members also get an upcoming list in the Tannin Times newsletter.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!