How do people from Clearwater, Florida and Huntington and York, Pennsylvania come to have their pictures in the Mason County News? You guessed it, they visited The Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve last week! Not only did Helen and Richard Sparks from Florida and Rayne McCorkle and her family from Pennsylvania visit to watch the bats emerge for the evening, but Miss Rayne (the cute, young lady in the photo with her family) named one of the bats. She did not even hesitate, but let us know very quickly that "RAPUNZEL" would be the name this little mammal would carry for the rest of her life. After receiving her name from our young guest, Rapunzel quickly flew off into the darkening sky to catch bugs for her supper.
Red-tail Hawks, falcons and a raccoon tried their "hand" at catching a bat. The little female raccoon had set up house in the tree right above the benches. As Jana (my trusty volunteer) and I checked out the seating area before the crowd arrived we heard movement in the brush. At first we thought that maybe one of our reptilian friends had come to join in on all of the fun. I quickly realized that the sound that I was hearing was MUCH louder than a snake could make, so we investigated a little harder and found that the sound was coming from overhead. Yes, it was one of last year’s raccoon babies. She had been named, "Josephine" by one of our visitors.
Josephine has regularly been visiting the seating area and wreaking havoc on my bat house that I use for demonstrations. She and her little brother, "Marc Antony", delight in ripping the screen mesh off of the landing area on the bat house. I do not dare leave supplies out because these little rascals make off with anything that they cannot destroy.
Josephine climbed down the tree within a few feet of us and sauntered slowly up the hill. She had other plans on how to get supper and it did not include hanging around with us. The picture that Jana took of her proved her inquisitive little personality was still intact.
We also had our "Spongebob" group out again this weekend. They visited last year and brought their little stuffed Spongebob. He gained fame by being one of the pictures that made it to print with my column that week. Welcome back to you and your guests and as you said, "We’ll see you next year!" That surely is music to my ears!!
You too can join us at The Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve! Just call 325-347-5970 to find out more details. See you at the cave!!