Shrews & Trout

Posted September 10, 2014 by mattinidaho
Categories: Uncategorized

A new study from Alaska’s Bristol Bay on how often rainbow trout and grayling eat shrews:

It seems that shrews there (3 species have been found in trout stomachs) go through periodic boom and bust cycles.

New Trip Report – Sabah

Posted September 8, 2014 by Jon Hall
Categories: Oriental

A great report form Paul Carter & Jo Dale, 23 days & 56 species including Tarsier, Banded Linsang, Banded Palm Civet, Malayan Weasel and Malayan Slit-faced Bat.

Incidentally Paul told me that he linked up with Jo after looking for companions on this blog. So please do everyone use it to advertise trips you’d like to make and want company for.


Alihuen: An Agrarian Conservation Story on Chiloé’s Archipelago

Posted September 8, 2014 by alihuenchiloe
Categories: Central and South America

Alihuen means Big Tree in the language of the indigenous Mapuche peoples of Chile.  When Jeroen Beuckels decided to settle in the rural Chepu province of Chiloe with his wife Grecia this name was not taken lightly, for the farmland which it would represent has undertaken massive transformation from pasture to thriving forest.  Alihuen is managed using permaculture principles to undertake sustainable organic agriculture while at the same time working towards large scale conservation measures to improve biodiversity and landscape connectivity in the region.  They are rapidly approaching 22,000 trees planted on Alihuen and the effects are noticeable – the Pudu, the worlds second smallest deer and a relatively rare and shy creature, are regularly found on the property.  Sightings of bird species dependant on connected forest areas have increased as Alihuen begins to form a bridge between the North of Chiloe and the large forested areas of the Chepu river and both Parque Nacional Ahuenco and Chiloe to the South and West.

Alihuen is truly land that connects.  A cursory glance demonstrates the obvious improvement in landscape connectivity through the reforestation projects undertaken on Alihuen.  However, it is also a case study in sociocultural connectivity as it acts as a conduit and inspiration for artists, students, agrarians, artisans and the community at large.

A thirty minute film aims to promote awareness of some of the conservation issues that are facing the island of Chiloe and through Alihuen provide a case study of the ways in which they can be addressed in a practical and sustainable way and the associated flow-on of environmental and sociocultural benefits that can be achieved.

The broad range of livelihood and conservation activities being undertaken on and around Alihuen on the island of Chiloe will be the subject of a number of short films that will be published in the near future.

You can learn more about Alihuen and tourism on Chiloe from Tiuque Expediciones.  Visit their website for a wealth of information on the local region.

Maine Whale Watching Trip

Posted September 8, 2014 by Jon Hall
Categories: North American

I spent the weekend in Portland, Maine to try, yet again, to look for Atlantic White-sided Dolphins. This is a species I had look for – and failed to – see on at least 7 trips in Scotland, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Massachusetts.

Last week I called a bunch of operators up and down the north east coast. They’d seen dolphins once or twice the week before from boats coming out of Rye Harbor, New Hampshire and Bangor, Maine. North of Bar Harbor no one seemed to know much about them other than Tom Goodwin from Ocean Explorations in Tiverton Nova Scotia (I used Tom to see Right Whales in 2010 and he knows his stuff). He was seeing them often and if I hadn’t have already bought my air ticket to Portland Maine I think I would have flown to Halifax Nova Scotia instead to go out with Tom, as that might be the best bet of seeing this species.

But I had bought my ticket and it was too long a drive from Portland to Tiverton. And besides Bar Harbor Whale Watch told me they had seen the dolphins the day before I was travelling and that they were present in about 1 in 3 trips (perhaps more this time of year). The biggest problem was the weather, with a bad forecast for Saturday.

Sure enough the Saturday trip was cancelled (as were trips out of Bangor and probably elsewhere). So I took a look through a foggy Acadia National Park and set some traps on the edge of town. I caught a couple of White-footed Mice and a Meadow Vole, but none of the Southern Red-backed Voles I was looking for. The only mammals I saw in the park were some Grey Squirrels and Harbor Seals.

The weather on Sunday was much better and the trip left at 11 am and headed 25 miles out to the Mount Desert Rock Lighthouse, where the whales usually gather. Plenty of Harbor Porpoises on the way, and close to the lighthouse we saw a Minke and then a Fin Whale. I spotted some dolphins about a mile away and the Captain went over for a look. They were, as I’d hoped, a big pod of Atlantic White-sided Dolphins, my 50th species of cetacean. Beautiful things and quite acrobatic, at least until the boat got closer.

Lagenorhynchus acutus
Atlantic White-sided Dolphin

We stayed with them for 20 minutes before returning to look at the Fin Whale, which we followed for an hour or so. The dolphins remained where we left them though sadly we didn’t return for another look.

Lagenorhynchus acutus 2
Atlantic White-sided Dolphin

There were also plenty of Grey and Harbor Seals around the island.

The day before I arrived the whale watching boat had been looking for a Blue Whale, reported by a lobster fishing boat, and had stumbled on a Sperm Whale instead. Both species are rare in these waters. Humpbacks are common and Right Whales seen from time to time.

Lagenorhynchus acutus 3
Atlantic White-sided Dolphin

So late August through October in Bar Harbor seems to offer a reasonable chance to see this species, if the weather is good. Though Tiverton, Nova Sccoia might offer slightly better odds, especially as Tom’s boat can be chartered to go look especially for this species. I also saw White-beaked Dolphins here in 2010 which I don’t think are often (ever?) seen from Bar Harbor.


Mediterranean Monk Seals

Posted September 7, 2014 by Jon Hall
Categories: Europe and the Palearctic

Some of you will remember the Mediterranean Monk Seal I saw earlier this year in Croatia. I’m very sorry to report that the seal died last week, from pneumonia.

Meanwhile another Monk Seal is hanging out in public in Greece.

Let’s hope it fares better than its Croatian cousin


Another New Mammal Big Day Record for North America

Posted September 6, 2014 by Floyd E. Hayes
Categories: Uncategorized

On 3 August 2014, Peter Pyle (the mastermind), Pat Kleeman and I made an all-out attempt to break the previous mammal “big day” record for North America of 30 native species, set last year by Peter Pyle, Sarah Allen and myself. We began at Point Reyes at midnight and tallied 19 species–two behind last year’s pace–by the time we reached the dock in Sausalito at 7:15 am. We added only six new species of marine mammals during a Debi Shearwater pelagic trip to the Farallon Islands and beyond. After returning from the boat trip we continued searching for mammals until 11:00 pm, finding our record-breaking 31st native species (excluding humans) at 10:35 pm. At times we were accompanied by Sarah Allen (midnight to the boat, briefly in the evening) and Gary Fellers (after the boat to the finish), who provided expert assistance on where to search for selected species.

Of the 31 native species detected, 30 were detected by all. Three species were heard only. Although we used a bat detector, which converts ultrasound signals of bats to audible frequencies, to aid in the identification of bats, only one species was identified exclusively by its vocalizations. We also observed two introduced species and eight domesticated species of mammals. Just like last year, our biggest misses were Sonoma Chipmunk and Botta’s Pocket Gopher, and we also missed Bottlenose Dolphin and Dusky-footed Woodrat this year. We journeyed 173 miles by car, 90 miles by boat, and 4.5 miles by foot. Here is our list of species (English names for species, not subspecies) in three categories, arranged by the time each was first detected with the number of individuals detected and clarification given in parenthesis:

1)  00:00   Northern Elephant Seal (10)
2)  00:01   Mule Deer (71)
3)  00:13   Striped Skunk (4)
4)  00:27   Raccoon (6)
5)  00:28   American Badger (4)
6)  00:42   Coyote (1)
7)  00:47   Elk (3; heard only)
8)  01:35   Mountain Beaver (2; heard only at known burrows)
9)  01:51   Black-tailed Jackrabbit
10)  02:32   Northern River Otter (2; heard only)
11)  02:12   North American Deer Mouse (2)
12)  04:02   Big Brown Bat (30)
13)  04:06   California Myotis (20)
14)  04:06   Gray Fox (2)
15)  04:21   Brazilian Free-tailed Bat (1; identified by bat detector)
16)  05:08   Townsend’s Big-eared Bat (2)
17)  06:12   Harbor Seal (95)
18)  06:16   California Vole (2)
19)  07:24   Western Gray Squirrel (2)
20)  08:14   Harbor Porpoise (50)
21)  09:36   California Sea Lion (400)
22)  10:37   Steller Sea Lion (25)
23)  11:12   Northern Fur Seal (400)
24)  14:37   Humpback Whale (3)
25)  13:30   Risso’s Dolphin (1; seen only by Peter Pyle)
26)  17:27   Muskrat (1)
27)  17:49   California Ground Squirrel (1)
28)  19:38   Brush Rabbit (2)
29)  20:48   Yuma Myotis (2)
30)  22:28   Pallid Bat (10)
31)  22:35   Fringed Myotis (1)

32)  00:21   House Mouse (1; captured by a Domestic Cat!)
33)  00:29   Virginia Opossum (1)

34)  00:13   Cattle
35)  00:16   Domestic Cat
36)  00:16   Domestic Dog
37)  04:35   Horse
38)  18:21   Sheep
39)  18:24   European Hare
40)  18:28   Llama
41)  18:29   Goat

Floyd E. Hayes
Department of Biology,
Pacific Union College
Angwin, California, USA

New Report – Southern California & 5 new Saki species described

Posted September 5, 2014 by Jon Hall
Categories: Central and South America, North American

A short report from Curtis Hart Southern California, 2014: Curtis Hart, 1 week & 10 species including a Desert Pocket Mouse and Canyon Bat.


5 new Amazonian Saki species described. A 10 year study of the saki monkey has revealed the existence of five new monkeys, bringing the total number of different saki species to 16….



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