11/2/2017 – Annual bat census

Permit #:  1710-1
Trip Leader name:  Bill Gee

Trip date:  28 October 2017
Trip purpose:  Annual bat census
Areas of Cave visited:  CarrollPassage
Trip participants:  Bill Gee – Rita Worden – Dave Seidel – BJ Seidel – Daniel Wehrly – Keenan Dillard
Entry Time:  9:25am
Exit Time:  7:15pm
The trip report:  Biology Project Trip Report

Date of trip – 28 October 2016

Participants – Bill Gee (trip leader)
Dave Seidel
BJ Seidel
Rita Worden
Daniel Wehrly
Keenan Dillard

Time in – 9:25am
Time out – 7:15pm

Areas visited – Carroll Passage to the Mountain Room

I drove down Friday afternoon and camped at the schoolhouse.  I was there early enough that I walked up the hill before dinner to hang the rope and download the rain gauge data logger.

Saturday morning we all met at the silo.  Everyone was there by shortly after 9:00am.  Rita was first down the shaft at 9:25am.  Everyone was in the cave by 9:45.

There were at least two dead ringneck snakes at the bottom of the ladder.  When we got back, Rita found a live one and put it in a flask to carry out.

I downloaded the two data loggers at the ladder.  We then went down Carroll Passage to the Rimstone Room. I downloaded the logger in Carroll River before we went through the Water Barrier.

After the Water Barrier we stopped at the first riffle to count and measure isopods.  The water level in the riffle was very low which might partly account for the small number of isopods we saw.

We left the riffle a few minutes after 11:00am and proceeded to the guano piles.  I made voice notes about the state of each guano gauge.  After I photographed each gauge, they were cleaned off and reset for the next year.

We arrived at the Lunch Room about 12:15pm.  Everyone had a snack break.  We started the actual bat survey about 12:30pm.

We saw lots of fresh sand deposits along the stream all the way from the entrance ladder to the Mountain Room.  There were no footprints.  Reviewing data from the stream level loggers shows there was a major flood in late April and early May.  The highest flood since then raised Carroll River by less than a foot.  The sand deposits are probably from the May flood.

The bat count proceeded smoothly.  We saw very few bats except for three areas with grey bat clusters.  One was the place we always see them, just upstream from the 500 foot marker.

We arrived at the Mountain Room at 3:00pm.  Two and a half hours is a pretty fast pace for doing the bat survey.  It helped that the stream bed had some fresh gravel deposits.  We had a bit less boot-sucking mud to deal with.

We hauled a rescue cache with us to the Mountain Room.  While waiting for my lunch to reconstitute, I placed the cache next to the bolt cutter that we left there some years ago.  The bolt cutter appears to be fine.  There was no obvious rust or corrosion on it.

After eating I documented and photographed the guano gauges in the Mountain Room.  None of them have seen significant use.  There are heavy guano piles way up on the wall above gauge 33 where we cannot reach.

One thing we noticed in the Mountain Room was how slippery the surface was.  Up to about 4 or 5 feet above the water level the surface looked dry but was in fact very slick.  It apparently had not yet completely drained out from the May flood.

We left the Mountain Room for the return trip a few minutes after 4:00pm.  We went through the Turnpike, reaching the Lunch Room at about 5:20.  From there back to the ladder took another hour and ten minutes.

Daniel and Keenan were first-timers in Carroll Cave, so we made a side trip over to Thunder Falls.  The river level was fairly low, so Thunder Falls was a bit less impressive than it usually is.

Back at the ladder we geared up and climbed out.  I went first so I could help everyone get off the rope safely.  Everyone was out by 7:15pm.

It was noticibly cooler outside, so changing out of wet cave gear took some time.  We had everything packed, locked and were heading down the hill by 8:10.

Rita, Daniel and I camped Saturday night at the schoolhouse.  We all had dinner in my camper where it was nice and warm!  Sunday morning my truck’s thermometer said the temperature was 24F.  It was frosty.  I had to scrape windows before I could leave.

Summary of data collected —

Tile 26 – Blank
Tile 27 – Blank
Tile 28 – Blank
Tile 29 – 1 isopod
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 = 1
3mm = 0
4mm = 1
5mm = 0
6mm = 1
7mm = 1
8mm = 1
9mm = 0
10mm = 4
11mm = 1
12mm = 0
13mm = 0
14mm = 0
15mm = 0

At gauges 1, 2 and 3:

Guano gauge 1 = 5 turds
Guano gauge 2 = 50% coverage, 2mm depth
Guano gauge 3 = Nothing

Salamander = 100mm

Guano gauge 4a = 20% coverage, 2mm depth
Guano gauge 4b = 5% coverage
Guano gauge 5 = 10% coverage
Guano gauge 6 = 98% coverage, 3mm depth
Guano gauge 7 = 1 turd
Guano gauge 8 = completely clean

Guano gauge 11 = 25% coverage, 1mm depth
Guano gauge 12a = 95% coverage, 3mm depth
Guano gauge 12b = 90% coverage, 2mm depth

Guano gauge 13 = Completely clean
Guano gauge 14a = Completely clean
Guano gauge 14b = Completely clean
Guano gauge 15a = 100% coverage, 7mm depth
Guano gauge 15b = 100% coverage, 4mm depth

Gnats and other small winged critters on 15a and 15b.  The bat carcasses have not changed.  No new carcasses.

Guano gauge 16 – 5 turds, fresh fungus on surrounding guano pile

Guano gauge 30 = Completely clean
Guano gauge 31 = dirt but no guano
Guano gauge 32 = 2 turds plus dusting.
Guano gauge 33 = 30% coverage, 1mm depth

All guano gauges in the Turnpike are completely clean.

Bat count data:

Lunch room to 6000 feet = No bats, no fish, no salamanders
6000 to 5000 foot = 2 bat, no fish, no salamanders
5000 to 4500 foot = No bats, no fish, one larval salamander 20mm
4500 to 4000 foot = No bats, no fish, 1 salamanders 110mm
4000 to 3500 foot = 1 bat, cluster of 20 or 25 grey bats in a small ceiling hole, no fish, no salamanders
3500 to 3000 foot = 2 bats, no fish, 1 salamander 100mm
3000 to 2500 foot = 1 bats, no salamanders, no fish
2500 to 2000 foot = 4 bats, no fish, 1 salamander 100mm
2000 to 1500 foot = 4 single bats, a cluster of perhaps 100 individuals in an area about 20 feet by 5 feet.  1 salamander in the stream.  No fish.
1500 to 1000 foot = 3 bats, no fish, 1 salamander.  Lots of small guano piles in the stream bed.
1000 to 500 foot = 3 individual bats, large cluster of bats, 25 feet by 7 or 8 feet wide.  Estimate 500 individuals.  1 larval and 1 adult salamander in the stream.  No fish.
500 foot to Mountain Room = 3 bats, 1 salamander, 2 fish, 1 crayfish, not cave-adapted.

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