The week has been a delightful and unique experience. Although I had to close AGAIN on Thursday and Friday because of the rain, Saturday and Sunday more than made up for those days. On Saturday the bats came out at 8:09 P.M. and on Sunday at 8:31 P.M. Forrest, one of The Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve’s wonderful volunteers assisted me at the cave. This young man proved excellent in his ability to work with the visitors. In past seasons this was one of the larger visitation weekends of the season. We didn’t really have what was a crowd, but they were great! The twenty folks that joined us on Saturday were quiet and respectful of the tiny, little mammals that clung tenaciously to the ceiling of the cave. Jaws dropped at the spectacle that suddenly appeared before their eyes....a swirling mass of tiny bodies that created a wind current of about 12 mph. It cooled the beaded sweat that seemed to be on everyone’s brow. Smiles beamed from faces of all ages as these "lady" bats continued to mesmerize the crowd. These visitors had come from all over. We had Voca, Jasper, Granite Shoals, Elgin, Round Rock, Austin, Fort Worth, Boerne, Desoto, Dallas, Duncanville, and Liverpool listed on the visitors log.
On Sunday the crowd was quite a bit smaller, but the enthusiasm was still at the top of the scale! Two families and a family friend made memories as the bats swirled in such synchronization as to rival any ballet troupe. My daughter, Jana, was able to capture on camera (FINALLY) a shot of the action in the photo which accompanies this article. Of these bats, four were named by four of our young viewers. Paige Day, from San Antonio named her bat, "Stellaluna Day". Cameron Croft gave her bat the name, "Destiny Croft". Tyler Mosemann, from Madisonville donned, "Juliet" to his little actress, while Brooke Gatlin from Madisonville named hers, "Jenny".
We haven’t had much in the way of predation, but Miss Hiss, our resident white racer, debuted by slinking down off of the ledge into a small tree and then swiftly attacking and swallowing a bat. Also attending the event was one of the several Red tail hawks that frequent the emergences. They also come with an appetite and determination to fill their stomachs on these tiny, flying mammals.
Don’t forget that this Saturday, July 24th, is Early Morning Return at The Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve. We meet at the parking area about 6:30 A.M. and watch the bats return to the cave. Call 325-347-5970 for more details. Come and join us behold this unbelievable event! See ya there!!