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Mason County News
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Bat Cave Report
2011 Texas Nature Conservancy Steward
Wednesday, August 31, 2011 • Posted August 31, 2011

Another spectacular week has passed at The Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve. A few visitors braved the heat this week to see the bats leave for the night. There was actually a one hour difference in emergence times just from Thursday to Friday night. The bats are now exiting the cave at about 7:50 P.M. I give a presentation at about 7:30 P.M. for any who are planning the trip out.The bats truly are making their mark in the world, but as of last week, two new contenders are “horning” in on their fame. “Olivia” and “Otis” are the two juvenile great horned owls (see attached photo) that have been making smiles break out on everyone’s faces. Otis sits a lot of the time and just watches as his sis catches the meal. I found out why he does this. He is quite the awkward teenager. His skill is somewhat nonexistent, but I hope that he will someday catch on. Twice this week he was after a bat and smashed dead on into a tree limb across from the viewing area. He landed on his back on the ground, but reveled at the sight in his talon...a nice little bat that he would claim for his supper. Those were the only two times that I actually saw him snag a bat despite many clumsy attempts. Olivia, on the other hand is proving herself quite the expert in the hunting field. She almost never strikes without results. She silently watches as the bats emerge and turns her head to watch as they circle swiftly around her. She then tenses..her wings stretch out ..and the chase is on. It is over almost as quickly as it starts and she sits in the tree to munch on her prey.Since the owls have been out every night since they appeared on Saturday morning for the early morning return, Geraldine, our sweet, little skunk has been rather elusive. She doesn’t want to tangle with the owl siblings. Three of our little raccoons, Larry, Moe, and Curly occasionally peek out from behind a rock in the entrance of the cave but hightail it back in after their mother, Rapunsel, sounds the retreat. Baby Hiss, our young white racer, did heal after a run in with some creature that tore her face half off. We haven’t seen her or her mom and dad, Sir Hiss and Miss Hiss, since the owls showed up.....could that be a coincidence? Speaking of coincidences, I didn’t just happen to start typing this because I sat down at a computer keyboard...oh no, there was a purpose with a plan. I wanted to invite you out to this most wonderful eight acres to enjoy the goings on. Call the bat hotline for more information at: 325-347-5970. See ya at the cave!!

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