MTBC’s Bat Adventures continue: Panama – Week 2!

The new group arrived successfully and with bells on for Week 2.

We have three bats in training. Merlin trained a hairy big-eared bat (Micronycteris hirsuta) for photography. Within 15 minutes it was flying to his hand on call, rewarded with meal worms. Janell Cannon, the famous author of  Stella Luna, trained a white-throated round-eared bat (Lophostoma silvicolum) to eat from her hand. Her bat has a very calm temperament. Alexis and Amy trained a Niceforo’s big-eared bat (Trinycteris nicefori) for photography, a very sweet and eager gal.

Merlin guiding Janell in training the (Lophostoma silvicoluma) in a small tent provided for this purpose.
Merlin guiding Janell’s bat training.
Merlin guiding Alexis in training a (Trinycteris nicefori).

We’ve radio tagged a hairy big-eyed bat (Chiroderma vilosum).  Because of unexpected rain in the dry season, combined with rugged terrain, we have yet to find it.

Daniel radio tagging a (Chiroderma vilosum).
Teresa filming the radio tagging process.

We’ve been hiking every day and netting every night, even in the rain. At 3 AM today we caught our 52nd species. In just its first two nights, our second group caught over 143 bats, including 5  common vampires, (Desmodus rotundus) over several days. Total bats to date – about 511!!

Looking at sac-winged bats roosting high up on a tree trunk.
Out searching for bat roosts, our workshop co-leader, Daniel Hargreaves, led daily bat walks, aka “little strolls.”
Heading for the river to put up the triple-high net rig for free-tailed bats.
Putting up the triple-high net across the river. By stacking three nets, on long poles, we were able to catch high-flying species.
Putting up the triple-high net across the river.
A common tent-making bat (Uroderma bilobatum) hanging on to its dinner. Photo: Daniel Whitby
Merlin encouraging Amy to get over her unfounded fear of bat bites. It didn’t bite. 🙂
Amy proudly  holding her first bat!

Amy, Alexis, Janell, Jen and Fiona processing and feeding tiny nectar bats.

Women of science!

Derek holding a common tent-making bat at the processing table.

Rained all night on Thursday and all day on Friday. Merlin gave a conservation lecture during a thunder storm, forcing him to pause because of the intense sound caused by thunder and torrential rain.

Merlin giving his conservation lecture to group two.
Pause from Merlin’s lecture for the storm, Mother Nature is in charge as we stand in awe of the intense rain.

Wet footprints after bat netting in the rain.