Bats and Bugs

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by freestoneangler, Nov 9, 2013.

  1. freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Posts: 3,965
    Edgewood, WA
    Ratings: +705 / 1
    I've not found any info for our NW region on this being an issue, but we certainly do have lots of bat populations in the Columbia Basin and many new wind turbines in the area. That they only travel relatively short distances from roosts to hunt is probably a good thing in that any colonies affected would likely be limited to those living within a 5 mile range.
    http://www.latimes.com/science/scie...31108,0,1587861.story?track=rss#axzz2kC03oupr

    A bat can consume 2000-6000 bugs every day. With colonies ranging from 300-1000+ that's a lot of bugs. We watch them around our house during summer nights and they, much like swallows are like watching a Ferrari on a slalom course -- all work. If we find ourselves doing a little more swatting, scratching and DEET application next spring/summer, it could be because bat populations are being affected. Of course, that may make for some insane chronomid hatches...it's only November and I'm already thinking about the 2014 lake openers...it's been a slow fall season for me.
  2. Dipnet aka Tim Hartman

    Posts: 886
    Silverdale, WA
    Ratings: +370 / 0
    I think bats are very cool and I'd really like to install a bat house in one of the big cedars in our backyard. The wife's a little less enthusiastic about that as she thinks they're "kinda creepy".

    So I'm puzzled as to why the bat's echolocation abilities don't allow it to avoid the blades of the wind turbines. Or is there something else at play here?
  3. Scott Salzer previously micro brew

    Posts: 2,876
    .
    Ratings: +202 / 0
    Interesting that you should bring this up. On my weekend trip to Dry Falls, I was asked to take a bat detector and set it up at DF. The first night (Thurs.), I set it up at Sun Lakes and the next day, I set it up on the island in DF straight across form the put in. Don't know what it detected since I have to send it back and they will check the disc to see what was around. Another couple if firsts for me at DF - (5) swans and (6) turkeys at Sun Lakes State Park.

    I have also collected snake sheds for the State and sent them in for identification. One specie they are looking at is the stripped whip snake. Unfortunately, their sheds are in the same place you find rattlesnakes. I did find whip snake sheds as well as midnight and rattlesnake. Better than sheds, I actually saw a whip snake on top of the sage.

    Freestone - There are still open waters, quality waters, to be fished...... No need to wait for 2014....

    MB
    triploidjunkie likes this.
  4. Scott Salzer previously micro brew

    Posts: 2,876
    .
    Ratings: +202 / 0
    Dipnet - bats are not creepy, opossums are creepy, and ugly. I'll check on you question with my bat guy.
  5. IveofIone Active Member

    Posts: 3,050
    .
    Ratings: +1,064 / 0
    Scott-you got a bat guy?:)

    Ive
  6. Dipnet aka Tim Hartman

    Posts: 886
    Silverdale, WA
    Ratings: +370 / 0
    Thanks Scott, and be sure to let us know if he has information on this wind generator mortality issue.

    You'd think an aerial acrobat such as a bat, with it's echolocation, could easily avoid the turbine blades.

    Maybe there's something about the wind turbine that interferes with the bat's senses?

    I agree that bats are not creepy. Neither are opposums although they won't win any beauty contests!

    OTOH, tweakers are both creepy and ugly!!!
    triploidjunkie likes this.
  7. freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Posts: 3,965
    Edgewood, WA
    Ratings: +705 / 1
    You are correct Scott, but work and work travels have been and will be chewing my fishing and hunting schedule to shreds. I was in Russia and the Ukraine the week before last and had made a promise to myself to try and see if I could locate and visit a fly shop or at least something close... no dice. In fact the younger business people from the companies I was working with pretty much had no clue where to point me... electronics stuff and Starbucks yes...fishing, no. :D

    As we discussed, I'd still like to get a trip in to DF's... we'll see how things go.
  8. Taxon Moderator

    Posts: 949
    Mercer Island, WA
    Ratings: +110 / 0
  9. Dipnet aka Tim Hartman

    Posts: 886
    Silverdale, WA
    Ratings: +370 / 0
    Interesting read.

    Thanks, Roger.
  10. triploidjunkie Active Member

    Posts: 2,308
    Grand Coulee, WA
    Ratings: +1,257 / 0
    I accidentally caught a bat in early September. I'm pretty adept at keeping my fly away from them. Line speed has alot to do with it, but it was a random snag on a backcast. I like bats, just not on my my fly.
    I think one theory with the turbines is noise. The whine from the rotors could easily interfere with bats' complex sonar/radar. They are probably the most agile creatures in the world!
  11. freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Posts: 3,965
    Edgewood, WA
    Ratings: +705 / 1
    According to several of the reports on this subject, they are highly sensitive to sudden changes in pressure...such as the that on the leading and trailing side of a fan. Barotrauma was the word one researcher coined to explain the effect and similar to what a diver experiences with a sudden ascent from depths. In looking at the rotors, even when the wind in howling and their at full tilt, they don't appear to be rotating that fast -- but they are huge and their surface area is also.
  12. weiliwen Active Member

    Posts: 196
    Chicago Illinois
    Ratings: +74 / 0
    The tip of a modern wind turbine whose blades describe a circle whose diameter is +/- 90 meters at the tips travels north of 300 MPH. I am a former employee of two wind turbine manufacturing companies, and I've seen the engineering data.

    That said, the bat and bird killing of a wind turbine is vastly overstated, and if you use critical thinking and follow the money, the "grass roots" organizations who rail against wind turbines are usually funded by Big Oil or the Koch brothers. The farmers on whose land they usually are sited love them, almost universally.

    Wind energy is not the answer to our energy needs, but neither is fossil fuel. The answer or answers are likely not going to be welcomed by the status quo, who will actively lobby against them. It's probably been that way since the dawn of time, but the money is bigger now.
  13. Olive bugger Active Member

    Posts: 2,376
    Woodinville, WA
    Ratings: +408 / 0
    My opinion, for what it is worth, is that we waste far too much energy as it is. Conservation is not the whole answer, but why do we need to FULLY illuminate parking lots that are vacant, in the middle of the night? Only one example of waste. Where a few lights would suffice, we have dozens.

    Could not some protective devices be installed over the wind turbine blades? I know that they are large, but after all, we are in the 21st century.
    weiliwen likes this.
  14. Bob Newman Member

    Posts: 135
    On the edge of ???, WA
    Ratings: +16 / 0
    Research has shown that bats do not always use their ecolocation sense especially when the are traveling and not actively feeding. So if they are in the vicinity of operating wind turbines, they get nailed.