SW Oklahoma Bat Count 2004

SW Oklahoma Bat Count Saturday - February 7, 2004
Central Oklahoma Grotto (C.O.G.)
SW OK Division - John Talbot, Lil Town, Duane Del Vecchio
Jester Cave Complex

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Oklahoma Bat Count Weekend & the SW team heads into Jester South. John Talbot and Lil Town head toward the entrance. It was a clear but cold (yup..that's leftover snow) day...perfect for hiking around in thermal underwear and cave gear! John uses an infra-red thermometer to check the wall temperature next to the bat (see bat in the upper middle?) (display reads 39 degrees)
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Lil was bookkeeper this trip. John and I were counters. A bookkeeper writes down all the counts, records temperatures, and times. It can get pretty hectic when lots of numbers start being said! These bats (myotis velifer) will pack into the smallest cracks and crevices. You have to stoop, bend over, crawl, and get a good crick in the neck to catch them all! Here is D's hand to give you a perspective on the size of these critters. They can be hanging on the wall as individuals or in giant mats.
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The count in this picture would be 1, 3, 1 (meaning 1 upper right, 3 together, 1 below them). Since most of the bats are velifers, they get the numbers...others get special notation on the books. Some of them seem to be holding on by their fingernails!! (in fact they are!!) The colder the better for these guys! (over water seems preferred - the temperature seems to stay more stable for them there). Here is a Pip (pipistrellus subflavus). Pips typically stay in the warmer sections of the cave, get covered in dew droplets, and typically stay solitaire. The temp here was 50.
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These Bats have just enough fat stored for their winter sleep that if they are awakened more than once or twice during the winter, they might not make it until spring (like this one found floating in the water). From Jester South to Train tunnel. A cave vehicle can't stay clean with this mud tromping gang around! (and after today...needs 4 wheel drive to get though the fields!!)

Train Tunnel entrance... named because of it's long long tunnel like the one shown here - Still part of the Jester Complex. I believe there are close to 30 entrances to this system... it's a long long cave!!!

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Typically we find Long ears (corynorhinus townsendi palesens) in Train Tunnel... not too many this trip though. Then on to our last stop where we were met by local natives to this area. Our last stop is Homestead and Glade entrances. Down by Homestead entrance we find long ears bunched....one of them actually was asleep with his ears out.
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But Glade entrance is the big one for bats. Typically we find very large mats many feet long! Packing rate in this group was 256 bats per square foot... a nice tight packing rate! Once we find out how tightly packed they are, then we just have to measure how long and wide the mat is to determine the bats in the mat.
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Finally time to get out.... Lil sporting her mismatching gloves (the latest in bat count attire). John getting out... veteran bat counter who as a kid used to hang out in these caves. and me (D)....(I never thought I'd see the light of day again!) <grin!>

Total Count: 25,970 myotis, 4852 pips, 9 long ears

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Last updated: 2/8/04