Mammal Big Day

Posted July 22, 2014 by SLahaye
Categories: Uncategorized

Tim and I decided to try for a mammal big day this weekend in Belgium.
We were less successful than we hoped and would have liked but we did manage some very nice sightings, including the mouflon which we hadn’t seen in Belgium before.

For the whole story and pictures:


Turkey Trip Report

Posted July 22, 2014 by geomalia
Categories: Uncategorized

I spent ten days looking for mammals and birds in southern Turkey last month. I rented a car in Adana and drove to various sites, including those around Aladagar, Birecik, and Silifke. Here’s a map: For additional logistical information, please refer to the many useful birding trip reports available on I posted my photos here:

My main mammalian target was Mediterranean Monk Seal, but my efforts were thwarted by rough seas. The original plan was to search for Seals for four days at the beginning of my trip. However, the local fisherman who I was in touch with told me that the weather was bad and I delayed it. Even with the delay, the conditions were good for less than a day and a half. There are not many Seals in the area, and they spend much more time hunting when the water is calm. The conditions are supposed to be better in July and August.

The local fisherman knew the caves where the Seals haul out, and we traveled to them by boat in the early morning. The entrances to the caves are underwater, so our hope was that we would see them leaving or entering. We also tried scoping the ocean from a headland from which two of the caves were visible. In retrospect, I believe that this was the better approach. Surprisingly, we did not see any other marine mammals.

I have left out the name and location of the fisherman on his request (because of some issue having to do with the permits). If you would like his contact information, or any other information, email me.

Mammals seen:
1. Southern White-breasted Hedgehog (Erinaceus concolor) – One animal crossed the road at night near Birecik. Common roadkill throughout southern Turkey.
2. Northern White-breasted Hedgehog (Erinaceus roumanicus) – two at Belgrad Forest on the European side of the Bosphorus strait in Istanbul.
3. Long-eared Hedgehog (Hemiechinus auritus) – three seen at night at Ahmet’s Farm in Yeniakpinar near Birecik. To get in touch with Ahmet, contact Mustafa and the Bald Ibis Center ( Probably widespread in the area, but I was cautioned not to walk alone at night because the local people might shoot trespassers.
4. Wild Boar (Sus scrofa) – One in a pine forest near the Monk Seal site.
5. Goitered Gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa subgutturosa)- at least four (including a mother with two young calves) at the steppes in Kizilkuyu near Şanlıurfa. They were on the left side of the road when driving from Birecik.
6. Bezoar Ibex (Capra aegagrus aegagrus) – two groups totaling about thirty individuals seen above an alpine meadow at Aladaglar. To reach the meadow, you can climb up the Demirkazik Gorge (highly recommended) or get a ride in a 4WD vehicle from the Ozsafak Pension (
7. European Hare (Lepus europaeus) – one in the fields before Emli Vadi at Aladaglar.
8. Persian Squirrel (Sciurus anomalus) – present in the open, rocky oak woodland around Uzuncaburc. Also found in similar habitat in the hills above the Monk Seal site. The population in Istanbul is introduced.
9. Eurasian Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) – a melanistic individual in Belgrad Forest near Istanbul.
10. Asia Minor Souslik (Spermophilus xanthoprymnus) – very common at Aladaglar.

Other possibilities:
1. Golden Jackal (Canis aureus) – reportedly easy to see at the Goksu Delta near dawn.
2. Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) – sometimes seen by birders who travel to more remote areas in eastern Turkey.
3. Brown Bear (Ursus arctos) – ” “
4. Caracal (Caracal caracal) – Ahmet mentioned that they were possible near Halfeti.
5. Euphrates Jerboa (Allactaga euphratica) – present around Birecik, but I got conflicting information from the locals on where to look for them (including to habitat that seemed wrong). Two were collected by researchers somewhere near Arslanlı Köyü.

Uinta & Wyoming Ground Squirrels

Posted July 21, 2014 by mattinidaho
Categories: Uncategorized

Wyoming ground squirrel

I find these 2 species very difficult to distinguish. The ground squirrel above was photographed at Fossil Butte National Monument. It appeared “buffier” than the Uinta ground squirrels I see at Yellowstone and the Teton Valley (in this area, there are no Wyoming GS).

When the National Park Service surveyed wildlife, they identified these as Richardson’s ground squirrels. The Wyoming ground squirrel has since been split from Richardson’s (although the NPS signage and species list still lists them as “Richardson’s”).

Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge lists Wyoming GS as “common” and Uintas as “occasional.” The ground squirrels I saw there looked pretty much the same as the one in the photo above.

So it would seem the one above is a Wyoming ground squirrel. But really, how do you tell when ranges overlap? Any pointers?

Pygmy Rabbits

Posted July 14, 2014 by mattinidaho
Categories: Uncategorized

Despite spending a lot of time in sagebrush country, I had never seen a pygmy rabbit. Mammal watcher Dave Robichaud, who found me through this site, stopped in Idaho recently to see Idaho and Piute ground squirrels. He told me of a site in southwest Wyoming where he had good luck with pygmy rabbits: Fossil Butte National Monument.

I visited over the July 4 holiday weekend, and found the pygmy rabbits easily. It’s a great national monument. We saw a lot of other wildlife including pronghorn, white-tailed prairie dog, Wyoming ground squirrel, white-tailed jackrabbit, sage grouse, sage thrasher, etc.And there were few people visiting, even on the holiday weekend, so we often had hiking trails to ourselves.

I wrote a full blog about Fossil Butte and pygmy rabbits here: Pygmy Rabbit Quest

Canid in Harenna forest (Ethiopia)

Posted July 9, 2014 by juantasugo
Categories: Uncategorized

Recently, during a trip to Ethiopia, we saw a group of two animals, exactly like the animal observed by Cocke Smith in 2012.   Was discussed the identity of the animal, some people pointed to Canis adustus, Canis adustus ssp. kaffensis, hybrid, etc. …..

The size of the two animals observed was quite large (probably about double in size than Canis adustus, which we have observed on several occasions).

We believe that these animals deserve special attention. They could give us any surprise in the future.

Greetings to all.

Juan Luis Ortega

chacal lobuno

Ocelots & Nilgais

Posted July 9, 2014 by mattinidaho
Categories: Uncategorized

Two blogs I’ve written that may be of interest:

Ocelots on the border – last stand for the spotted cat in Texas?

Nilgai - how the Asian antelope came to thrive in Texas

New Trip Report: Costa Rica & Panama

Posted July 4, 2014 by Jon Hall
Categories: Central and South America

Dear all, a new report

Costa Rica & Panama, 2014: Dominique Brugiere, 1 month & some nice species including, in Costa Rica, a Mexican Porcupine, and, in Panama, Rothschild’s Porcupines, Western Night Monkeys and Lesser Capybaras.

Happy 4th of July!



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 48 other followers