Thursday, July 17, 2014

Going Batty in Glacier

Left to right: Silver-haired bat, Long-eared Myotis, Little Brown Myotis

Triple mist net set over the inside North Fork Road at 1AM

Got to tag along with the park biologists last night / early this morning to catch bats around Ford Creek, near the northwestern corner of Glacier Park. My friends lured me in with rumors of "huge" moths getting tangled in their bat nets.

We ran a series of five nets in four locations, including two over-water sets and one triple-tall net on a pulley system that they set over the inside North Fork Road. Fortunately, there isn't a lot of traffic between 10PM and 1AM in that part of the middle of nowhere.

We caught a total of 16 bats, if my foggy memory holds up, including a pregnant Long-eared Myotis, several Silver-haired Bats including one with what appeared to be tiny orange mites behind his right ear (ooohs and aahhs from all of us biologist types), and a couple of Little Brown Myotis which is probably our most common bat in western Montana.

We got to see many of our most amazing native animals up close and personal, and collect measurements and other valuable data on these little-known species, so the sleep deprivation was definitely worthwhile. But I didn't see a single large moth, much less a "huge" one. I think I got snookered.