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Mason County News
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Bat Cave Report
2011 Texas Nature Conservancy Steward
Wednesday, October 12, 2011 • Posted October 12, 2011

I am writing this on Sunday evening, 10-09-11, at about 8:30 P.M. The air is blowing. Everything smells clean and fresh. Clouds mask any hint of light as the sun sets in the west. I am home earlier than usual tonight. After watching the sky and the weather for Mason on the Internet, I decided to put up the “closed” sign. The drive out to the river was delightful. There were pools of standing water everywhere I looked. When I crossed the Llano and James River crossings I saw a sight that made my heart go thumpity thump! Water was FLOWING under the James River bridge!! For months there has been only dry rock in the riverbed to view as you passed the bridge. Now, life again was given to this thirsty river. The same gift that gave all of this excitement and thanks was what sent me out to put up a sign that let people know that this night The Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve would be closed. RAIN......lots of beautiful RAIN!! If anyone did happen out in the direction to the cave, it was quite obvious why I was hanging that sign. Water running under the bridge + dark, black clouds pushing heavily into the area= a decision that almost made me smile as I made it. Every day that I drove the roads out to The Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve for the past few months, I noticed more and more animal life becoming thinner and thinner. Some of these looked like it pained them to move as I drove past. Some didn’t move at all but stared with a glazed look that told me that winter was going to be very difficult this year for them. My guts twisted in agitation, knowing what would befall many of them. I knew the cold reality.... . Death! Not just death, but a slow, drawn out death from starvation, disease and thirst. Now, I truly think that there is a small chance that some of this sadness can be avoided. Those drops of rain pounded down and the parched, dry ground took a big drink and smiled. I think we all smiled today. Texas, and especially, Mason, Texas basked in the beautiful gift of life that was sent our way. Maybe there is still time for the warm earth to germinate the tiny seeds and cause the land to become green and lush before winter sets in.Speaking of winter, the bats have all but left. We have about a five minute emergence that begins about 7:30 P.M. Some are better than none, but I do not know for sure if we will have bats this week. If they aren’t here when you come, at least you can view the gorgeous rivers on the way! See ya at the cave!!

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