10/27/2012 – Annual bat census Lunch Room to Mountain Room

Permit #:  1210-1
Trip Leader name:  Bill Gee

Trip date:  27 October 2012
Project manager:  Bill Gee
Trip purpose:  Annual bat census Lunch Room to Mountain Room
Areas of Cave visited:  CarrollPassage
Trip participants:  Bill Gee, Sherry McKnight, Steve Atteberry, Ethan Haslag, Cyle Riggs
Entry Time:  10:00am
Exit Time:  9:40 pm
The trip report:  This trip is the annual bat census and biology survey that we do every year around the end of October.  I drove down Friday after work and camped at the schoolhouse.  Sherry arrived shortly after dark.  The next morning Steve and Ethan arrived a few minutes before 9:00.  We all drove up the hill to start gearing up.

The first thing that catches your eye is the burned out remnants of Bill Pfantz’ camper.  There is not much left.  Even the steel frame is warped and buckled from the heat.  It’s a wonder the trees next to the camper did not burn down.

We were just about to declare a four-person trip when Cyle showed up.  Everyone was geared up and started down the shaft by 10:10 am.  Rick Hines arrived in the middle of our descents to get ready for his landowner trip.  We were all down the shaft by 10:30 am.

At the bottom I downloaded the two data loggers at the ladder, then we took off.  We downloaded the data logger in Carroll river shortly after 11:00am.  The Water Barrier was just as cold as I remember.  After the Water Barrier we stopped at a riffle site to do an isopod count.  The water was very low even for Carroll River, and there were not many isopods.  The tiles were completely bare.  We found no snails on them at all.

The next stop was guano piles 1, 2 and 3.  We saw several grotto salamanders in the stream right around guano pile 3.  There were also a few fish there.  We did not look for spiders.  From there we continued on to the rest of the guano pile sites.  At guano pile 15 I cleaned off the two gauges into ziplock bags for later analysis.

We reached the Lunch Room about 1:00 pm.  We stopped there for about 20 minutes for a candy bar and snack break.  The bat count started as soon as we left the Lunch Room.

The bat count proceeded with no problems.  Starting around the 3000 foot marker we noticed several large areas of the stream where the bottom was completely covered in guano.  The larger areas were as wide as the stream, 10 to 15 feet, and a hundred feet or more long.  Due to the very low flow it is hard to say when the guano was deposited.  We noted many grotto salamanders around the stream bed deposits.

The only clusters of bats we saw were right at the 500 foot marker.  They were strung out along some cracks in the ceiling.  We estimated an area 5 to 7 feet wide and about 20 feet long containing perhaps 300 to 400 bats.

We reached the Mountain Room about 4:30.  Everyone had a hot meal.  I documented the last group of guano gauges, which were all completely clean.  We also checked out the bolt cutter left there two years ago.  It is intended to enable an emergency exit through the rebar gate.  It is holding up just fine, still greased and covered in plastic.

We started back about 5:30 pm.  The trip back went very slow.  We decided to take the Turnpike.  It is questionable whether we saved any time.  It took us over an hour to get through.  We arrived at the ladder about 9:00pm.  I climbed out first, then Ethan.  Cyle and Sherry climbed together.  Steve came last.  We were all out of the cave by 9:40 pm and heading down the hill by 10:15 pm.

Sherry and I camped at the schoolhouse, and everyone else went on home.

Summary of data collected —

Tile 26 – Blank
Tile 27 – Blank
Tile 28 – Blank
Tile 29 – Blank
Tile 30 – Blank

Isopod count and sizes:

4mm = 1
6mm = 1
7mm = 2
8mm = 1
9mm = 2
10mm = 2
15mm = 2
20mm = 1

Upstream from guano gauge 3 – 2 salamanders at 7 cm, several others we did not measure, one fish 2.5cm another 3.0 cm.
Nothing found in 30 feet downstream from guano gauge 3.

Guano gauge 1 = Completely clean
Guano Gauge 2 = Thin layer, 30% covered
Guano gauge 3 = 3 or 4 turds
Guano gauge 4a = Completely clean
Guano gauge 4b = 90% covered depth 5mm

Guano gauge 5 = Completely clean
Guano gauge 6 = Completely clean
Guano gauge 7 = Completely clean
Guano gauge 8 = Completely clean

Several fish found in the stream near guano gauge 8.

Guano gauge 11 = Completely clean
Guano gauge 12a = completely covered, 3mm depth
Guano gauge 12b = 50% covered, depth 2mm

Two fish and one salamander between gauges 8 and 11.

Guano gauge 13 = 10% covered
Guano gauge 14a = completely clean
Guano gauge 14b = completely clean
Guano gauge 15a = completely covered 8 mm
Guano gauge 15b = completely covered 8 mm

The contents of guano gauges 15a and 15b were collected for later analysis.

Guano gauge 16 = Completely clean

Guano gauge 30 = clean
Guano gauge 31 = clean
Guano gauge 32 = clean
Guano gauge 32a = clean

There are some guano gauges in the Turnpike.  I noted that all of them are completely clean.  We have not visited them for several years, so they have never been cleaned off.

Bat count data:

Lunch room to 6000 feet = 10 bats
6000 to 5000 foot = 57 bats
5000 to 4500 foot = 25 bats, 1 salamander
4500 to 4000 foot = 7 bats, 1 salamander
4000 to 3500 foot = 36 bats, 1 salamander
3500 to 3000 foot = 17 bats
3000 to 2500 foot = 23 bats
2500 to 2000 foot = 36 bats, some were single grey bats.
2000 to 1500 foot = 24 bats, lots of guano on the stream bed
1500 to 1000 foot = 22 bats, 11 salamanders
1000 to 500 foot = 20 bats plus a cluster of bats – 300 to 400 individuals, covered a couple of square feet over a total area about 20 feet long and 5 feet wide, 4 salamanders
500 foot to Mountain Room = 15 bats, green duckweed in the stream

Comments are closed.