Blitz At Black Rock Mountain Will Boost Understanding Of Bats

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The night life around Black Rock Mountain State Park will keep researchers from across the state busy Sept. 4-7.

It is all part of the Georgia Bat Working Group’s first Bat Blitz.

The event based at the park in northeast Georgia’s Rabun County is focused on better understanding the area’s bat communities. But there is an even bigger picture. Organizer Trina Morris said the timing syncs with other blitzes in the eastern U.S. as part of a Southeastern Bat Diversity Network (www.sbdn.org) effort to gather data after the summer survey season ends and before bats start migrating.

This focus reflects the continued spread of white-nose syndrome – a fungal disease that has killed millions of bats in the U.S. and has been found in Georgia – and a federal decision expected next year that could list northern long-eared bats as endangered.

“This bat blitz will provide a great opportunity for volunteers to sample many sites in a short amount of time,” said Ms. Morris, who leads bat research for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Nongame Conservation Section. “The information we collect is very valuable to increase our overall knowledge of bats in northeast Georgia.”

The public can learn about bat conservation and see how researchers survey bats during a talk that Morris will lead. The presentation starts at 7 p.m. on Sept. 5, at the park’s amphitheater ($5 parking fee).

For the blitz, scientists, students and volunteers will fan out across state and federal lands within an hour’s drive of Black Rock Mountain.

The Georgia Bat Working Group (www.gabats.org) is a partnership aimed at ensuring the long-term health of Georgia’s bat populations. The group has representatives from federal, state and private agencies, and includes people from across the state. The hope is the blitz becomes an annual event.

Georgia is home to 16 bat species. All seek a sheltered roost during the day and emerge at night to eat flying insects such as moths, mosquitoes and beetles. Some species, such as the Southeastern myotis and gray bats, depend on caves for roosting. Others, such as big brown bats and evening bats, are more adaptable and use hollow trees and buildings. Red bats and Seminole bats conceal themselves in foliage.

Small insectivorous bats like those found in Georgia can eat more than 1,000 mosquito-sized insects in an hour. Other species around the world serve important roles as pollinators of crops.

But bats face increasing threats, varying from habitat loss to white-nose syndrome, documented in Georgia in 2013 and this year in Rabun County. White-nose is cited as a factor in northern long-eared bat population declines estimated at to 99 percent in the Northeast. The species also lives in Georgia.

Bat-to-bat transmission – often through migrating bats – is considered a primary way in which the fungus linked to white-nose is spread. Some bats that spend summers at roost sites in Georgia move to cave hibernacula in other states for the winter.



Scientists Rediscover Venezuelan Bird Not Seen In 60 Years

An international team of researchers has solved one of South America’s great bird mysteries. Working deep in the mountainous forests of western Venezuela, they have rediscovered the Táchira Antpitta, a plump brown bird species not seen since it was first recorded in the 1950s. Last year, scientists of the Red Siskin Initiative (RSI) — a conservation partnership between the ... (click for more)

Ted Wells: I Now Hold The Record For The Great Barracuda In Quintana Roo, Mexico

Me and my sometime fishing companion Michelle took a little time off last week to attend a wedding down near Cancun, Mexico, and, as I had about used up my welcome at the pool and had probably annoyed the staff at most of the other establishments at our resort, I decided to do a little bit of offshore fishing on the last full day, and kind of “get away.”  The cost was nearly ... (click for more)

Man Charged In Renaissance Park Murder Hangs Himself At The County Jail

The 22-year-old who hanged himself at the County Jail has been identified as the same man charged in the recent murder at Renaissance Park. Tyree Corley was found hanging at the jail on Thursday. He died Friday morning after being taken to the hospital. Corley had been charged in the slaying of the slaying of Kathy Hardy, 45, on July 16. Corley, of 3810 Sherwood Lane, ... (click for more)

Missing Cleveland Girl Found Safe in Creek Near Search Area

A 10-year-old girl who was missing in Cleveland after returning to a soccer field to retrieve some keys that had been left there has been found safe near the search area. TBI officials said,  "This missing child has been found alive near the search area in Cleveland! Thank you for helping to spread the word!" She was found in a nearby creek. The girl was taken ... (click for more)

Thank You To The Deputies Who Put Their Own Lives On The Line To Save Others

A few nights ago, a woman wrecked her vehicle because it left the roadway and struck a pole. A citizen called the Sheriff’s Department dispatcher and told them flames were coming out from underneath the vehicle. Shortly after being dispatched, Deputy Yeargan and Deputy Smith responded to the scene, where they saw a woman in the driver’s seat as flames were coming from the vehicle. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

On this, the last Saturday in July, please take this collection of chuckles with you into August. This summer I have had great fun picking out funny stories from what readers share with me during the week. My great pal and dear friend Brown sends this important message to fortify our desire to excel: Some of the world's most successful people experienced major failures: 1. ... (click for more)