There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly....R. Buckminster Fuller I contemplated this statement after the Early Morning Return of the bats on Saturday, September 18TH. Sometimes the unexpected truly happens. The visitors that arrived that morning were anticipating millions of returning bats but after waiting and waiting, only a few thousand made their appearance. Was it that they came in hours later on their return because of the need to go further away for food, or was it possible that they returned very early since there were heavy clouds that pushed past us like they were being blown by a monstrous fan. Whatever the explanation, this Early Morning Return started out to be somewhat of a letdown to those that drove over three hours to see what normally proved to be a lifetime memory. With the few bats that did return, it was shown how different the emergence of the evening is compared to the return in the morning. The viewers quickly perked up when Olivia, our juvenile, great horned owl, made her appearance in an up-close and personal way. She dined on bats that were headed in to rest after a night out catching bugs. Otis, her sibling, was not there to steal her catch for himself, so she did quite well in filling her little tummy that morning. The spectators were enthralled by this display of aerial hunting, so the disappointment of such a small return was eased to some degree. Maybe, just maybe, Olivia was a little to blame for the missing bats. Did they stay away because of her presence? They certainly were home on Saturday night, and they gave a tremendous performance to the visitors that evening. Whooooo knows, Whoooo will ever be able to say....maybe we should just be satisfied in knowing that THE UNEXPECTED CAN AND SOMETIMES DOES HAPPEN...at The Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve...but you never, ever go away disappointed! Come on out and see for yourself. Call the bat hotline for information at 325-347-5970. See ya at the cave!!