Biology Project Trip Report – 27 October 2018

Areas visited – Carroll Passage to the Mountain Room

This is the annual bat census trip. We travel the area from the Lunch Room to the Mountain Room counting whatever bats we see, and making note of other critters.

Participants – Bill Gee (trip leader)
Cliff Gill
Tyler Skaggs
Kristen Godfrey
Chad McDaniel

Time in – 10:00am
Time out – 7:45pm

Permit number 2018-10-1

Chad and I drove Friday afternoon to the schoolhouse where we spent the night. Everyone else arrived Saturday morning by about 8:45. We all drove up to the silo and geared up.

This was the very first Carroll Cave trip for both Chad and Tyler. We had to rig up vertical gear for them which took a few extra minutes. Cliff went down the shaft first to help people get off the rope. Everyone was in the cave by 10:30am.

I downloaded the two data loggers at the ladder before we left. We arrived at the water barrier about 11:15 and at the isopod count riffle about 11:30. We spent ten minutes or so counting isopods, then continued to the guano piles. At each guano pile I photographed the gauge, made a voice note about its state and then the gauge was cleaned and reset for the next year.

When we got to the first set of guano piles, Chad realized he had left his pack at the riffle where we counted isopods. He and Kristen went back to get it while Tyler, Cliff and I documented the guano piles. We saw several salamanders both on the guano piles and in the stream. Tyler took a few pictures of them.

We arrived at the Lunch Room for a snack break about 12:45. The bat census began shortly after 1:00pm. The mud between the Lunch Room and the 3000 foot marker has not got any better! There have been no major floods since February of 2018, so things were about as dry as they ever get.

There were almost no bats in the cave. We saw a small cluster just upstream from the 500 foot marker. In years past this area has had a moderately large cluster of 1000 or more individuals. This year there were only about 200 individuals. Another cluster we usually see near the 4000 foot marker was not present at all. We did see quite a few cave fish and grotto salamanders.

We reached the Mountain Room a few minutes before 4:00pm. Everyone had a good meal. Cliff took some time to walk around the entire room. He confirms that the rescue cache and bolt cutters are still present. After I ate, I photographed the gauno gauges. None had seen any use, so we did not have to clean them.

The ponded area of water around the Mountain Room had two sculpins and at least one other surface fish. We did not see any crayfish. There was one frog near where we ate, and Cliff reported a number of frogs close to the downstream exit from the room.

The return trip began a few minutes before 5:00pm. We traveled through the Turnpike, arriving back at the Thunder Falls shortcut about 7:00pm. Chad was very tired, but we all went over to Thunder Falls. Cliff, Tyler and Kristen all climbed down the falls. I did not get the data logger downloaded because I had left the adapter back at the ladder. It was not worth the time to go get it and return. I will get it in January.

Back at the ladder we all geared up. I climbed first, then everyone else came up as a group. I helped get everyone off the rope or cable safely. We were all out of the cave by 7:45pm. Changing and packing up took another half hour, then we all drove down the hill. Chad and I camped Saturday night, and everyone else drove on home.

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. Also one grotto salamander 60mm long.

2mm = 4
3mm = 5
4mm = 4
5mm = 4
6mm = 2
7mm = 0
8mm = 1
9mm = 0
10mm = 0
11mm = 1
12mm = 0
13mm = 0
14mm = 0
15mm = 0

At gauges 1, 2 and 3:

Guano gauge 1 = 30% coverage, 2mm depth
Guano gauge 2 = 15% coverage, 2mm depth
Guano gauge 3 = one turd

two isopods, both 4mm
Salamander = 70mm

Salamander in the stream about 60mm

Guano gauge 4a = Clean
Guano gauge 4b = Clean
Guano gauge 5 = Clean
Guano gauge 6 = 40% coverage, 2mm depth
Guano gauge 7 = Clean
Guano gauge 8 = Clean

Fish in the stream 35mm

Guano gauge 11 = Clean
Guano gauge 12a = 90% coverage, 3mm depth
Guano gauge 12b = 15% coverage, 2mm depth

2 Salamanders 100mm, 100mm both on upper slope near guano gauge 12

Guano gauge 13 = Clean
Guano gauge 14a = Clean
Guano gauge 14b = Clean
Guano gauge 15a = 60% coverage, 3mm depth
Guano gauge 15b = Clean

The bat carcasses have not changed. No new carcasses. Three fish: 2 about 35mm each and one about 25mm, one salamander 35mm.

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 = Clean
Guano gauge 33 = 1 turd

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 = 1 bat flying, one salamander 60mm
5000 to 4500 foot = No bats, no fish, no salamanders
4500 to 4000 foot = No bats, no fish, 1 salamanders 75mm
4000 to 3500 foot = No bats, no fish, no salamanders
3500 to 3000 foot = 1 bats, no fish, no salamanders
3000 to 2500 foot = 0 bats, no fish, no salamanders
2500 to 2000 foot = 1 bats, no fish, no salamanders
2000 to 1500 foot = 2 bats, no fish, 2 salamander in the stream 50mm.
1500 to 1000 foot = 1 bats, no fish, 1 salamander.
1000 to 500 foot = No individual bats, one cluster of bats in two small holes. Estimate 200 individuals. No fish, no salamanders.
500 foot to Mountain Room = No bats, no fish, no salamanders, 6 frogs, 1 sculpin