When I was young I dreamed dreams. In those moment s of serenity I always visualized animals that were not frightened of me. These dreams pushed on into adulthood and now as a granny I have had these dreams come true!
I am Vicki Ritter, 2009 Eckert James River Bat Cave Steward, and I and several others on Sunday night had the exciting drama of living out a dream…my dream. Any of you who have read this column knows that we have at The Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve several interesting specimens of animal life. This episode is about Blinky Bunny. She is a cottontail rabbit who waits on the trail and literally just sits and blinks as people pass by. There is no fear exhibited by her, just this stare with slow sporadic blinks. I thought that perhaps she had been injured as a youngster causing her vision to be blurred. All of this changed after Sunday evening on our walk back to the parking area after the emergence.
A visiting family and young friend were among those that came to watch the show. There were two young girls around the same age in this group. One young lady told me that she had turned eight years old on Friday. She also said that her mother had just had another baby girl. She was the middle child in a group of six siblings. She was brought to the cave by her friend as a treat…and a treat it was!
The bats came blasting out of the cave in brilliant form right at six o’clock and they made three separate vortexes throughout the evening. It was quite a show to behold! There was not ground predation during this performance, but the sky was alive with birds of prey.
During all of this, one of the young girls said, “Look, there’s a bunny.” I turned to see that Blinky had become a mother. One of her youngsters was within six feet of the viewing area quietly just munching away. When I finally attracted his attention, all he did was sit and softly blink. It was like a scene out of my dreams of old. But it got better just a little later. One of the young ladies was very proud to don a cute name on this youngster…Thumper. This name did not last long, for when she saw his little white tail she said, “I am going to call him Cotton, because of his tail.”
When we left to head back to the parking area, we encountered yet another of Blinky’s young ones. She just sat and stared. Then she jumped up and did a little twist in the air and came back down with the cutest little jig that I ever saw. Then she stared again…and of course there were blinks to accompany that stare. She hipped and hopped right in front of us as close as a couple of feet for a great distance down the trail and then she went into the brush and watched us go by. Wow, what an exciting night!
If you want to have your dreams come true, come and visit at The Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve. Those peaceful dreams of childhood wonder can become a reality! By the way, for the young eight year old visitor, I bestowed the name Sweet Hannah on the cute little bunny that gave us so much delight. Dream dreams and come back soon!!