Mason County News
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Bat Cave Report
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 • Posted August 24, 2011

You will never guess WHOOOOO showed up at the early morning return of the bats on Saturday, August 20th. As we started up the trail from the parking lot to the seating area, we heard what was at first believed to be a small animal in great distress. The closer that we got to the seating area, the louder the sound became. It was still not quite daylight, so my theory of it being a hawk was soon dismissed. Watching and listening sent our focus to a tree about two hundred feet from where we were sitting. It was an owl. It repeated the screech and then another owl closer to the seating area responded to the first. I tried to mimic the sound and within a few minutes, the two owls were within a few feet of our small group. I was shocked but elated!I had the same experience on Saturday night. The owls were there, I called back to them, and before long, both of them were practically on top of us. They stayed close to us as they caught bat after bat for their evening meal. It was all that I could do to get up to leave. I never wanted that part of my life to be over. To be within a few feet of two most glorious owls was just about enough to change the rhythm or a person’s heart!!I got back to the house Saturday night and told my version of the night’s happening. Jana, my daughter, quickly let me know that she would be going out on Sunday night to have a recap on the events that she had been a part of on Saturday morning.We got to the gate at 6 P.M. on Sunday night but there were no people waiting for us to open. Jana and I walked on up to the seating area. Where Jana goes, her camera goes. She wanted concrete proof of this owl encounter and she was to get what she came for. Although the owls didn’t show up until after eight o’clock, the wait was anything but boring. A parade of raccoons from very small to very large and chunky gave us a show. One mother brought four little ones out and started up the hill when I heard it.....the owls were back! The owls weren’t just back, one was actually sitting on the limb right over my head. The mother raccoon raced to a big rock against the mouth of the cave and her youngsters were close on her trail. They all sat for about ten minutes as the owls and I exchanged greetings. Ten huge masked eyes were all that you could see as the raccoon family held their position of security behind the large rock. It was a memory that will never fade from my mind. A “Disney moment?”...no, it was an Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve moment! Don’t miss out! Call the bat hotline for current emergence times and other information at:325-347-5970. Come see the WHOOOOO, what, when and where of it all. See ya at the cave!!

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