Central Western Oklahoma Bat Count

Feb. 12, 2006

Participants: Steve Beleu, Gary Harrington, Jon Woltz

Location: Washita Cave Complex

Report by : Steve Beleu

Here is the data--

North 196 Myotis, 1pip, 1 Leopard frog

Central 2,798 Myotis

South 416 Myotis

Total: 3,410 myotis, 1pip
Here is the trivia--

For all 3 caves--mud and water as never before North cave--much evidence of recent breakdown at entrances of cave and within cave Central cave--about a dozen or so bats roused themselves and started flying about South cave--evidence that someone had lit a flare deep within the cave
Here is the comic relief--

Before entering Central cave I relit my carbide lamp only to see its base burst into flame along it's bottom seal. I moved with great rapidity to blow out the flame, looked at the lamp, didn't see anything wrong, and relit it. It lasted all the way through Central Cave, then pooped out. Later when we were packing out I saw that about 1/2 of the base of the lamp had detached itself from the sides of the lamp where its seal should have been--that was where the flame was flaring from.

So I got out another of the loaded carbide bases I always carry (I usually carry 3 spare, loaded bases), fired up my carbide lamp again, and this is the sequence of events just as they happened in the rapidity with which they happened-- I turned around to enter the cave my head went under water

As I turned around on the mudbank where I was changing lamp bases, the mudbank on which I was standing collapsed under my feet and sent me head first into the pooled water at the entrance to South Cave. I was 100% wet in all possible places. After a spree of cursing that would embarass Satan and make him repent, I joined the others and we finished South Cave. I kept moving to try to stay warm, and after we finished South Cave I busted my ass up back to the cars and changed as quickly as I could right on the road.