SW Okla Bat Count 06

                                                   

Trip Report: SW Oklahoma Bat Count 2006
COG Participants: Duane Del Vecchio, John Talbot, John VanDyke, Mark White
Date: Sunday - Feb. 12, 2006
Web Report by: Duane Del Vecchio

On the average, this is the coldest weekend of the winter. Perfect for the Oklahoma Bat Count. Teams are organized and counting takes place in the NW, Central, and SW of the state during this weekend. 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.

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So it's time for another Bat Count! Brave volunteers take on the only cold weather this winter so far! But this has been one very warm winter (Jan. was the warmest on record!) and everything is dry dry dry! So we did not drive to the entrances.... we walked..... That way our catalectic converters wouldn't burn down half the state (we are in extreme fire danger) (with 20-30 mph North winds today!)
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We had a new bat counter with us this time.... Mark was learning the ropes and getting his first exposure of one of our SW Oklahoma caves..... Jester Cave System We didn't know what to expect.... a severe drought and a very warm winter so far, yet.... it was 28 today with a very cold north wind.... The pond at the resurgence was at a very low point... and covered in a small layer of ice. The main passage had little or no water present where there used to be a running stream.
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So the team gets ready to head into the south entrance. We have four members for this bat count. One doing book and three doing the counts. We take temperatures of the rock where the bats are sleeping, the air, mud, and water below them.
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These are common cave bats (Myotis velifer) They tend to bunch up in groups and as you can see, they pack in very close! John was our recorder. The counters call out the numbers as they see them and it is the recorder's job to hear and get it all down!
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You have to look everywhere! These little guys love little cracks where they weggie themselves up into for the winter! You can see here the size of them in a scale picture (use the light... not the fat guys hand for scale!) : ) Look closely... see the bats in the crack?? (you may have to double click on the picture to see the full size to see them)
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How many do you see here? They can blend with the rock itself it sometimes seem. There are four myotis in this picture. Jester is a great place for a bat count... at least for us! Very little low spots.... LOTS of standing and walking spots! Here is a pip (pipistrellus subflavus). Pips like warmer sections of the cave and usually have water condensation on them and they look like they are decorated with pearls.
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As we went further into the cave...it got quite warmer. It was 45 degrees near the entrance and 58 in the back tunnels were we were meeting the pips. The recorder gets in a nice comfortable spot and is writing while others call out numbers. A caller might call out 2, 3, 5, 1 pip, 1, 2 which means 2 myotis, 3 myotis, 5 myotis, 1 pip, 1 myotis, and 2 myotis. It is recorded as 2,3,5,1P,1,2.
                                                   

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Totals : 15,572 Myotis, 100 Pips, 2 Long Ear

Continue report on next page - Click Here

Bat Count Totals Spreadsheet - Excell -Click Here


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Last updated: 2/12/06