While driving out to The Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve this week I noticed something outstandingly noteworthy!! The road crew for the county has been busy patching areas along the river and low water crossings. This and the other work that has been done to the roads is certainly appreciated! A big THANK YOU to each one of you for the effort spent on this!!This week I got some emails from some other bat cave stewards in Texas asking about our emergences. I have noticed that, although spectacular, it was apparent that the bats were not as numerous as in past seasons. This is the case in some of the other bat viewing sites also. Our emergence time seems to be about half of what it has been in previous years. It is still a most breath-taking sight to be in audience for this event, but it is worrisome about what may be happening with the missing bats. We will keep you updated on any findings in this area as time progresses.Being a holiday weekend, we had a couple of nights with heavy visitation. On Thursday night we hosted some of the Girl Scouts of Central Texas from Brady, Texas. These young folks and their sponsors got quite a treat from our nighttime flying friends. I was delighted with their enthusiasm and well thought out questions. I know that these visitors left greatly benefited by their visit. Each of these little ladies created a bond with the lady bats that will last a lifetime.My hard working volunteers and I have been diligently trying to remove quite a bit of the underbrush that has almost overtaken the Preserve. With the lack of rain we have a large amount of dead foliage that would most certainly fuel a fire should one ever start on the Preserve. It does look much better but it is still wild enough to appease any visitor with the need to be “in the boonies”. Our goal is to preserve and not to tame and I think that we are working well toward this endeavor.I do thank all of The Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve supporters for all of the kind words that have been expressed in our behalf. We have had many persons come to the cave and relate that they were “TOLD” that they just had to come to THIS bat cave to view the emergence. Some folks traveled many hours to do just that. On the trip back up the trail to the parking area many have expressed their appreciation for what The Nature Conservancy does to maintain this Preserve for future generations of spectators. I am proud to be a part of this special team dedicated to assuring the pristine existence of this area and the continued preservation of all of the critters that call it home....be they bug, bird, reptile or mammal. (SEE PHOTO by Jana Ritter: A resident bee on one of the many cactus blooms at the Preserve).If you would like to enjoy a part of all of this hard work, come on out and bring a friend or loved one. Share in the pride of the Hill Country...eight acres of life that we call the heartbeat of Texas. Admission to The Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve is $5.00 for persons six years of age and older. If you need any additional information, you may call the bat hotline at: 325-347-5970. See ya at the cave!!