Mason County News
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Bat Cave Report
Wednesday, October 14, 2009 • Posted October 14, 2009

For all of you out there that had plans to visit The Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve to watch the bats in their graceful and stunning evening emergence, you have waited too long. The lady performers have hit the night skies for the last time this season as they head back to their homes in Mexico.

Although these tiny creatures have Mason as their favorite place in the world to be, the temperatures that we got on Friday night persuaded them that they should head back to warmer climates. These Mexican free-tail bats are migrating mammals, so they are active 365 days of the year catching winged insects that make our lives miserable. The cold is something that is unbearable to them so they catch the tailwinds on the first significant cold front and vamoose!

We have had some rather interesting data this year at The Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve. Total visitors to the Preserve this season proved to be 1556. That number no doubt would have been considerably higher had we not gotten rained out on several occasions. Although we only had ten different volunteers during the season, they racked up 163 man-hours of labor between them. There is no way to get all done that needs to be without this tremendous effort from these wonderful volunteers. Thanks for each and every second that you gave of your time, strength and endurance! This combined effort enhanced the beauty of this stunning little eight acres on the James River Road just a short drive from Mason, Texas.

For myself, this completes a fantastic four years as Bat Cave Steward at The Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve for The Nature Conservancy of Texas. I can not tell the folks of Mason, Texas, visitors from all over the world, my family, and the tremendous volunteers what a remarkable memory this year has proved to be for me. I also thank The Nature Conservancy for allowing me this privilege to represent them for the past four seasons. I look forward to next year and know that it will prove to be even more memorable than the past four years. Next season will ring in twenty years that The Nature Conservancy has had stewardship over this precious bat cave colony!!

In preparation for this anniversary, I will be working throughout the off-season to get some projects done that can’t be completed during “business hours”. If anyone would like to put their name on the volunteer list, please call before October 16th and let me know. I will also have a work- week from May 1-May 8, 2010 if anyone would care to join me. I will put an article in the Mason News to let everyone know more about this so that you can plan to come out and be a part of what makes Mason, Texas a topic of conversation all over the world.

Thanks again for the memories!! See ya next year!!

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