NW Oklahoma Bat Count 05

Saturday - Feb. 12, 2005 - On the average, the coldest weekend of the winter. Perfect for the Oklahoma Bat Count. Here we are in the NW part of OK. Teams are counting also in the Central part and SW part of OK at the same time. Bats at this time are 'usually' at their deepest hibernation and won't be disturbed by our presence in the caves. These counts are made across the state and reported to various state agencies and universities that use the data to see how our winged friends are doing.


Click on any photo to see an enlarged version.

selman01.jpg
selman01.jpg
selman02.jpg
selman02.jpg
selman03.jpg
selman03.jpg
Arriving at the Selman Complex. Two teams, D, Lil, and G'Ann will do the Square Sink to White Mountain to Betty's Chair to Skylight to the Oooh Ahhh Entrance. The other team, John & Sue & Dale Jr. will do the rest of the cave. As D does this count just about every two years, he is in charge of getting his team to the proper entrance. After about 45 minutes of wondering where the heck the entrance was we found it! We decided to go backwards though the normal route as getting out of Square Sink Entrance is getting harder each year due to it's steep sides! Here is the object which we're here for! A common cave bat (Myotis velifer)
selman04.jpg
selman04.jpg
selman12.jpg
selman12.jpg
selman14.jpg
selman14.jpg
However, it's not as easy as one might think to count these critters! They sometimes hang around solitary but most of the time they bunch up in mats. This give you an ideal of the size of our little friends.
selman05.jpg
selman05.jpg
selman06.jpg
selman06.jpg
selman07.jpg
selman07.jpg
One small mat fell off of the ceiling while we were there. With a million racoon tracks in the mud, they won't last a couple of hours. So we picked them up and set them up on rock shelves too keep them away from predators who feed off of fallen bats. A bat when relaxed grips of holds (whereas we relax our grip opens) so even in semi-state of awaken-ness these guys hold on.
selman08.jpg
selman08.jpg
selman09.jpg
selman09.jpg
selman10.jpg
selman10.jpg
A couple were awake enough to climb up the rock shelf to a higher place to sleep the rest of the winter away. While they crawl, it gives one a good view of the wings and membranes. A bat only has so much body fat stored during the winter to keep alive while they sleep....
selman11.jpg
selman11.jpg
selman13.jpg
selman13.jpg
selman15.jpg
selman15.jpg
too many awakenings will use this body fat and they won't survive the winter. We left this group alone and went on to other locations. D-Man in front of a small mat. Lil our recorder (in the back) writes down the numbers as G'Ann calls out what she sees.
selman16.jpg
selman16.jpg
selman17.jpg
selman17.jpg
selman20.jpg
selman20.jpg
You don't notice it but the heat from your body makes a fog in the cave and isn't too easily seen (unless you have a flash go off!) Want to try to give this bunch a count?? Typically on a mat like this you take a packing rate.... take a 1 ft. piece of string across the mat...count how many bats are on it, then go 90 degrees from that and count the number.
selman19.jpg
selman19.jpg
selman18.jpg
selman18.jpg
selman21.jpg
selman21.jpg
This gives you a packing rate (L X W) per square foot. Some of these mats are five feet long by a couple high!! Wow!! Our packing rate was about 18x17 which comes to about 300 bats per square foot! Taking a break underground. You get neck strain looking up all day!! (and Lil get's writer's cramp!)
selman22.jpg
selman22.jpg
selman23.jpg
selman23.jpg
selman24.jpg
selman24.jpg
Usually the bats are high above ground, but every so often they are at eye level which makes it easier to count A fog bank starts attacking D (or is coming from his armpit!!) At a 20 ft. ceiling, it takes a lot of concentration to know what your count is.
selman25.jpg
selman25.jpg
selman26.jpg
selman26.jpg
selman27.jpg
selman27.jpg
An extra hand light for illumination is most useful! Finally finished at the entrance to Oooh Ahhh. This part of the team heads for the cars. Lil wanted to show the veteran shoes (right) are dry vs the rookie shoes are wet (left). <grin!>
selman28.jpg
selman28.jpg
selman29.jpg
selman29.jpg
selman30.jpg
selman30.jpg
Our parking lot can be seen for quite a distance (and heard) as it is a well pump working away. D is looking for the others on the tank observation platform while the ladies get out of muddy clothes. Not the fashion expert, it is dry, not muddy, and warm!
selman31.jpg
selman31.jpg
selman32.jpg
selman32.jpg
selman33.jpg
selman33.jpg
Finally the other team comes up from over the nearby ledge. But where is John??? Ahhh...just trailing behind a bit!! Time to get out of muddy clothes, get warm, and head off to Pizza Hut for an exchange of the day's activities.

Totals:  Selman  COG's area:  64882 myotis, 35 pips
             UCO's area: 45296 myotis; 89 pips; 1 big brown

Click on any photo to see an enlarged version.



NW OK Bat Count Movie
(20 Meg)

3:30 minutes in length
5 minute download (DSL)

This movie is in .mov format and recorded in Quick Time Format... you may need to add Quick Time to your browser. This is a free download.

Macintosh 

You should already have Quicktime installed if you have a Mac ... otherwise... Click here!

Mac OS X Panther- Jaguar
Mac OS 8.6 & 9

PC Windows

Quicktime for Windows - Click here!

Win 98/NT/Me/2000/XP

 


Last updated: 2/13/05