Jester Bat Count 2015
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Happy Valentines Day (Feb. 14, 2015) ... Time for our annual bat count of Jester Cave. It was not the typical cold weather for a bat count but went up to a whopping 84 degrees today! (The cave felt quite good!) Participants: Dale & Carole (Altus), Duane, Sandy, Bailey, and Jessie (Lawton), and John and JT (Yukon). Final counts were: Myotis Velifer = 9,274 Tricolor (Pips) = 18 Long Ears = 17 Grand Total: 9,309

Click on any photo to see an enlarged version.

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Time to fuel up for the Jester Bat Count again. We'll be doing the Resurgence, Train Tunnel, Homestead, and Glade entrances like usual. Teams from Altus, Lawton, and Yukon, OKlahoma showed up for the count.
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A few of us have done this now for about 20 years! A nice change for a bat count... warm instead of freezing for the mile walk! Right inside the entrance (still in twilight) they started with their little mats.
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Initially they looked good and healthy Clean faces and clean arms Not that we look for well washed bats but actually mean free from WNS (White Nose Syndrome)
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Part of our procedure here in this cave is to take 25 swabbings of bats to be analyzed for WNS. As of this writing it isn't found in Oklahoma but it is best to get a baseline if it does come. We can then compare WHAT was swabbed and microbes etc... from the past and compare it to the present to see changes.
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Hopefully we won't need to do that!! Here is one laying on his back between two on their stomachs!
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Every picture here comes in three sizes...thumbnail, 20% of original, and a giant 2000x1000 pixel for detailed analysis if needed. The newbies getting some experience counting!
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Duane has taken these two on a few trips but this was their first bat count. Duane having to go back to find his hydrometer he dropped somewhere back there! THEN... we found something a bit disturbing..
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Twelve dead bats on the floor. What got them there we have no ideal at this time. They don't have the signs of WNS
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They have been preyed upon by crickets and the sort but were still intact. They did not seem emaciated... But the crickets were doing a number on some of them...
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The wings were still quite flexible and the webbing was very elastic. The bats were stone cold and rigor mortis had set in but were not decayed to any serious point. We did find one shredded wing but it was only the left side... right was fine.
       

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Last updated: 2/15/15