Just an ordinary overpass, seemingly, except for an extraordinary sky.
|From the Picasa album Bat Night 2009|
Batman makes a personal appearance on the walkway along the river's north edge.
Once upon a time, the Rillito was a "real" river. As recently as the 1930s, I think, there was water in it year round. Then people came, watered their families and their livestock and irrigated their fields.
When air conditioning hit the market in the 1940s, Tucson's population exploded and the water table dropped precipitously. Now there's only water in the river after a major rain storm, or when whatever snow falls on Mount Lemmon melts away again. During the summer monsoon, though, a storm can cause a major flash flood to fill the river and others like it, washing away the occasional car and, at least once down near Marana, a building.
But this was September, and the monsoon was over, making the riverbed a safe place to gather. Bat Night is a chance for people to see bats, real and otherwise, and to learn the history of the river and what humans have done to it. Part of the event involved these folks, rather bizarrely costumed as bats.
The main attraction of the night was a colony of about 40,000 Mexican free-tailed bats, mostly female, flying out from under the bridge at sunset for a night on the town. As the name implies, they spend their winters in Mexico, but they migrate north to Tucson to breed. They eat mosquitoes and other bugs, and are thus highly beneficial from humans' point of view.
Unlike Carly, who just get some great ones at the zoo, I never got a really good or close-up shot of the bats. But Bat Night was still an amazing and visual experience.