West Central OK Bat Count 2004

Personnel: Anne Ault, Steve Beleu, Duane Del Vecchio, Gary Harrington & Jon Woltz
Date: Saturday - Feb. 21, 2004

What a beautiful day for a bat count - Mid 50's and very sunny and dry! We all met at the usual spot (Cowboys) (sure a lot of cars left over after a wild Friday Night!)(and Anne didn't find any money in the parking lot this time!) We took off to get to the Washita Caves about 10:20.01 a.m. We left the parking lot and started driving west and right past the turn off.... That's when Duane dubbed Steve as Steve "Wrongway" Beleu! (If you remember last year's bat count here was "lost" as they parked 1 mile away from the cave and walked every field trying to find it!!....they finally did when they got back in the cars hours later and drove the extra way!) We finally made the U-Turn in Clinton!!! So.... Jon took over and got us on the right road! We finally got there and started getting ready for the count. The last rain was many many months ago in this area ... a little snow but no run off... it got soaked right into the ground.

Washita Caves are split into 3 separate caves - North, Central, and South. The North one is where we start and is most of the time a Muddy low crawl most of the way with mini rooms for the bats. The water level was down but it was still muddy...but not horrible.

Cave #2 (Center) was cooler than the others but not accessible from the main entrance...we had to go in the exit and work backwards to get down to the choke that was in the entrance.

Cave #3 (South) had a lot of water in it... not a lot of bats....


Click on any photo to see an enlarged version

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Anne gets even with "Wrongway"! (Our Guide!) Gary enjoyed the show.... So did Jon.... neither got in the way of the enraged female! (they know better!)
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After the concussion subsided Wrongway led us into the darkness! Usually a bat count has at least two counters and a book keeper who keeps the numbers that get called out. They can be seen as individuals (such as this common cave bat (Myotis velifer)
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Or a whole mat of bats!! This is another velifer group A hand shows the scale for the size of some of these mats of bats!! They get so packed together you have to sometimes get right on them to get a correct count!
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You look high (Usually where they are) but you look everywhere! (even low - though the low ones will probably not make it due to predators or floods. Washita North - A nice broken back cave (easier to crawl the whole way) (nice soft mud to crawl in!) A long ear bat (corynorhinus townsendi palesens)...the only one we found in the caves today.
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This was the last we saw of Anne (until we got back to the cars)... we thought she was calling it quits and we left her... ...found out she just waiting for us to come out another hole.... she lost us as we went into cave #2.... sigh.... Going down into the pit which is Washita Middle.... this is where we saw the most bats this year.
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It's a nice drop down to the bottom.... 62 degrees on the surface.... 44 at the bottom! <brrrr> These guys know how to wedgie themselves into the cracks in this cave... look closely! There are 3 bats in the crack. Packing rate was 15 x 15 (225) per square foot... not giant mats like in Jester cave but ...
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lots of them never-the-less! If you look real close the bat on the right is laying on his back in the crack while still hanging his feet on the ceiling! One was swimming in the water so we picked him up and put him up high in a crack...go back to sleep little one...
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Whole mats were laying on the floor...most of them were still asleep (not dead). Coming out of Washita Middle Cave. Going into Washita South - We got up to mid thigh in water in this cave! COLD!!

< Click on any photo to see an enlarged version. >

NORTH WASHITA BAT CAVE

83 Myotis velifer
42 Pips
1 Plecotus townsendii

CENTRAL WASHITA BAT CAVE

6,322 Myotis velifer
4 Eastern Pips

 

SOUTH WASHITA BAT CAVE

1,460 Myotis velifer
66 Pips

 

TOTALS FOR ALL 3 CAVES


7,863 Myotis velifer
112 Pips
1 Plecotus townsendii


Last updated: 2/21/04