Mason County News
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Bat Cave Report
2011 Texas Nature Conservancy Steward
Wednesday, September 7, 2011 • Posted September 7, 2011

Who said that lightning does not strike twice in the same spot? They may have been right. I have not seen lightning in some time now, so, who knows....but, owls do visit twice at The Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve. Visit is a stretch in this case because dear little Olivia flew out of the bat cave about 7:30 two nights in a row packing bats in her talons. The first time we saw her she actually had two bats in each talon, and one in her beak. She flew out right in front of us and landed on the rim of the mouth of the cave. She looked down at her talons and then looked over at us and then back at her talons. I asked Jana what she was doing and she said that she was trying to figure out how to get out of the predicament that she was in. She could not use her talons to grasp the bats to hold them while she ate without losing the ones that she was holding. It dawned on her fairly quickly that she had no choice. She reached up to grab the bat in her beak and as she did, the two in that talon took off. She ate the bat in her beak and then reached over to take a bat from the other talon. As she took one bat, the other flew away. Olivia kept a keen eye on the escaping bat, just in case she decided she needed it later. Needless to say, this proved to be way too much excitement for the bats that were trying to come out for the night from inside the cave. They hung back with only a few hundred making it out before darkness fell. We were forced to head back to the parking area those two nights without seeing much of a bat emergence, but the night was alive with the excitement of Olivia and Otis being in such close proximity to the seating area. I asked one young man if he enjoyed seeing the owls and he said yes but that he liked the red birds better. I had been whistling to them and they got closer and closer to us. I stopped talking to them at one point and he said not to stop because he wanted to learn how to talk to them. Another gentleman and his lovely wife visited from Kerrville and told us that these birds were Tanagers that were migrating through. There is one thing about visiting The Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve if you are an animal or bird....you don’t leave without a name. Yes, the two male Tanagers proudly carry the names Tuffy and Terrance. Tuffy is no doubt a young male who has not gotten all of his beautiful red feathers like Terrance. Tuffy looks like he has been sucked up by a vacuum cleaner and then spit back out. He is a treat to watch as he gets his flies and beetles . Even though he is a little grungy looking, he certainly is not lazy. I don’t know, I don’t think that I could pick a favorite creature. They all seem to fit so nicely on this small tract of land that we call The Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve. Like I have said many, many times....it’s more than just about bats. Come on out and visit the “family”. If you need any more information, be sure to call the bat hotline at: 325-347-5970. Have a safe trip out....see ya at the cave!!

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