10/26/2015 – Annual Bat Census

Trip purpose:  Annual bat census
Areas of Cave visited:  CarrollPassage
Trip participants:  Bill Gee, Meghan Gallo, Derek Thompson, Rita Worden, Cliff Gill, Ben Perkins
Entry Time:  10:15am
Exit Time:  7:45pm
The trip report:  Everyone met at the schoolhouse except Rita.  We all drove up the hill at 9:00.  Rita arrived a few minutes later.  I was the first person down the shaft a few minutes after 10:00am.  Everyone was in the cave by 10:30.

We saw several live ring-neck snakes at the bottom of the ladder.  There were several dead snakes and one dead mouse.  The snakes were 25 to 35 cm long.  When we climbed back out, Derek put the live snakes in a plastic jar and carried them to the surface for release.

We made good time to the Water Barrier.  We did the usual isopod count and measure at the first black rock riffle.  From there we proceeded to document the state of the guano gauges.  We arrived at the Lunch room just about noon.

After a snack break we began the bat census.  Several of our count areas had zero bats, which I have never seen before.  There were three sections with good populations of grey bats, perhaps 600 to 1000 individuals in each.  We saw very few eastern tri-color bats.

Near the Mountain Room we saw a sculpin very much alive, and right at the Mountain Room we saw an accidental crayfish.

We arrived at the Mountain Room about 3:30pm.  Everyone had a hot meal.  We explored both sides of the Mountain Room including some side chambers.  It was about 5:00 when we left for the trip back.

The return trip went very fast, taking us less than two hours.  We had plenty of time, so we went over to Thunder Falls for a few minutes.  Ben, Meghan and Derek had never seen it.

Back at the ladder we geared up and climbed.  Everyone was out of the cave by 7:45.

Survey station C53 – Carbide dump.

Summary of data collected —

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

Isopod count – Most of the isopods were in the upstream half of the data area.  We also saw one salamader 30mm long.

2mm = 2
3mm = 4
4mm = 2
5mm = 7
6mm = 6
7mm = 5
8mm = 0
9mm = 2
10mm = 0
11mm = 0
12mm = 0
13mm = 0
14mm = 0
15mm = 0

At gauges 1, 2 and 3:

Several cave fish 37mm, 35mm, 30mm
Several grotto salamanders, 80mm, 65mm

Guano gauge 1 = One turd otherwise blank
Guano gauge 2 = 50% coverage, depth 5mm
Guano gauge 3 = Nothing
Guano gauge 4a = Nothing
Guano gauge 4b = 5% coverage, very light

Guano gauge 5 = Two turds
Cave fish 30mm

Guano gauge 6 = Completely covered, depth 5mm
Guano gauge 7 = One turd otherwise blank
Guano gauge 8 = Two turds otherwise blank
1 salamander 55 mm
Three cave fish 30 to 40mm

Guano gauge 11 = One turd otherwise blank
Guano gauge 12a = One turd otherwise blank
Guano gauge 12b = Eight turds otherwise blank
Salamander 80mm

Guano gauge 13 = Six turds plus a very light dusting.  Mostly blank.
Guano gauge 14a = Nothing
Guano gauge 14b = One turd otherwise blank
Guano gauge 15a = 90% covered, depth 5mm
Guano gauge 15b = 100% covered, depth 6mm

The bat carcasses around guano gauge 15 are still there.  No new carcasses were noted.  The existing carcasses are decomposing and are basically just furballs now.  We did not see any bones in them, which led to discussion about whether they really are bat carcasses.

Guano gauge 16 = Completely clean

Guano gauge 30 = Nothing
Guano gauge 31 = Nothing
Guano gauge 32 = 10% coverage very thin layer
Guano gauge 33 = 20% coverage very thin layer

There are some guano gauges in the Turnpike.  All of them are completely clean.

Bat count data:

Lunch room to 6000 feet = 1 bat
6000 to 5000 foot = 0 bats, 1 cave fish 25mm
5000 to 4500 foot = 2 bats, 1 fresh bat carcass with fungus
4500 to 4000 foot = 1 bat, 1 bat carcass
4000 to 3500 foot = 1 cluster of 188, 1 cluster of 27, 1 cluster uncounted several hundred.  About 90 to 100 individuals.  Many more clusters of 10 to 20 each.
3500 to 3000 foot = 8 bats.
3000 to 2500 foot = 3 bats, two were flying.
2500 to 2000 foot = 9 bats
2000 to 1500 foot = notes did not come out.  Meghan remembers counting 245 bats in one cluster and over 500 in another.
1500 to 1000 foot = 1 bat
1000 to 500 foot = Large cluster 50 feet upstream.  Clumps of 20 or 30.  30 feet long by 5 feet wide.  Esitimate 600-800 individuals.  Meghan count 645 and thinks that is an undercount.  Sculpin in stream.
500 foot to Mountain Room = 3 bats

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