Mason County News
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Bat Cave Report
2011 Texas Nature Conservancy Steward
Wednesday, October 5, 2011 • Posted October 5, 2011

The bats are still flying at The Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve. With the weather still quite warm, the lady bats are waiting for a cold front to hit so that they can return home to Mexico.Olivia, our resident great horned owl, still visits nightly and makes use of her energy by grabbing a bat at almost every try. Otis, her sibling, still lurks in the background, but she ignores him and tends to focus on the business of catching her dinner. None of the ground predators have shown recently, but it is probably due to Olivia’s not-so-picky appetite. I did notice one of Geraldine’s young ones in the parking lot on Sunday as I was getting ready to leave. Skunks are a treat for owls, so maybe that is why this young one left the seating area to hunt in the parking lot. The black body and heavy white stripe left no doubt that I needed to remain quiet and not disturb her. She never even looked my way as, with camera in hand, I made my way to the front of the pickup to get a clearer shot. I just sat and watched her dig and claw her way under rocks to find a tasty morsel. The critters have really made a mess by moving rocks along the trail trying to find a bug or two. Saturday some of our local Girl Scouts remedied the problem by donning gloves and moving rocks back where they needed to be (see photo). The sun sets earlier and earlier and the emergence viewing time gets shorter and shorter as the season quickly draws to a close. It is so hard to believe that the 2011 season is almost at its finale. It seems like just yesterday that I went to pick up the bat mobile in Austin, and now it is almost time to return it until next season. We hope there will be bats next week for those who have waited until the very end to visit. I have had dozens of calls wanting to know if the bats will be here next weekend. All that I can say at this point is that we have to wait and see. They leave after a fairly significant cold front and generally it is by about the second week in October. We will be working on the grounds during the last two weeks in October, so if you would like to join in on the end of the season cleanup, call the bat hotline at 325-34-5970 and put your name on the list. I do appreciate all of the help from our young ladies on Saturday and could certainly use any and all help that I can get for final cleanup. Until next week, I bid all a happy week and hope to see you this week at the cave!! Current emergence time is 7:26 P.M.

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