Karasu beaked whale in the Pribilofs

Posted July 27, 2016 by vdinets
Categories: Uncategorized

The yet undescribed karasu beaked whale, previously known only from Japan, washes up in the Pribilofs: article.

We’ll be looking for it during our Bering Sea Islands trip next year.

Vladimir Dinets

Scythebill – free software for keeping mammal records

Posted July 26, 2016 by murraylord
Categories: Uncategorized



I’ve been using Scythebill to keep my bird records for a while.  The latest version now allows you to import lists of other creatures, and with Jon’s world mammal list available for download in a compatible format, it’s now a great way of keeping track of mammal sightings.

Full information is available at www.scythebill.com

It is available for Windows, Mac or Linux.  Once records have been entered, you can generate lists of what you’ve seen by location, keep track of your world mammal list, click and drag photos and so on.  Here are a few reasons why I like it:

  • compared to some other commercially available programmes it’s relatively straightforward.  It does the basics well but isn’t too complicated to learn.
  • it has lots of useful features, for instance the ability to tag records as uncertain, introduced species, heard only, photographed etc.  You can then define whether you want your list totals to include heard and introduced species or not.
  • you can input and export sightings easily – very important to me as I could import twenty years of bird records from Birdbase.
  • while the database is stored on your hard drive it can be set up so that a backup copy of everything is stored in a cloud service such as dropbox, meaning your records are safe if the computer fails or is stolen.
  • for birds it makes it easy to manage species splits and lumps.  No doubt that will happen with mammals too once the checklist gets revised.

I’ve made Australian reptile and frog lists available too.  I am no expert when it comes to spreadsheets but it was very easy to put them together.  These and the mammal lists are available at http://www.scythebill.com/download.html

Murray Lord

New Trip Report: Qinghai and Sichuan

Posted July 26, 2016 by Jon Hall
Categories: Europe and the Palearctic, Oriental

Another very successful trip report covering both Sichuan & Qinghai on the same trip. I am envious of all those badgers in particular!

Sichuan & Qinghai, 2016: Juan Luis Ortega Herranz, 17 days & 35 species including Chinese Mountain CatPallas’s CatTibetan MacaqueHog, Asian and Chinese Ferret Badgers, Chinese Serow and many of the Tibetan specialities.


New Trip Report: Sichuan and Qinghai

Posted July 24, 2016 by Jon Hall
Categories: Europe and the Palearctic, Oriental

Nigel Goodgame had a great time in China, and managed – with the new roads – to combine the Qinghai area and Sichuan into one 3 week trip.

Sichuan & Qinghai, 2016: Nigel Goodgame, 22 days & 34 species including Chinese Mountain CatPallas’s CatAsiatic Black BearChinese Ferret BadgerHog BadgerTakin and Tufted Deer.


New Trip Report: Oman and Dubai

Posted July 23, 2016 by Jon Hall
Categories: Europe and the Palearctic

Oman and Dubai, 2016: Remco Hofland, 11 days (mainly birding) & 9 species in Oman including False Killer Whale and Africa Wild Cat, and 2 species in Dubai (Cape Hare and Sand Gazelle).


California news

Posted July 23, 2016 by vnsankar
Categories: Uncategorized

If you want to see a California vole, they are currently easy to find in Rancho San Antonio county park near Cupertino. The area where they are best seen is along the Permanente Creek Trail (marked on google maps).

Last night, I went to Panoche Valley figuring that the near-full moon rising a couple of hours after nightfall ought to mean good spotlighting conditions. Although they’ve started enforcing the dry season closure for the BLM area (a new gate blocks access), Little Panoche Road was superb for rodents – 2 San Joaquin kangaroo rats around Little Panoche dam, lots of Heermann’s k-rats and 1 San Joaquin k-rat on the road to Shotgun Pass, and lots of Giant k-rats, smaller numbers of Heermann’s k-rats, and 2 fabulous San Joaquin pocket mice in Panoche Valley. Near Silver Creek Ranch, my spotlight battery was dying so I only saw a few Giant kangaroo rats and a crappy look at a Southern grasshopper mouse (tularensis); rodent activity here seems a bit lower here though. It was also a great night for canids – I found a den of San Joaquin Kit Fox with kits along Little Panoche Rd (PM me for location) and a Coyote den near Silver Creek with puppies. Other wildlife included 1 Western mastiff bat, Canyon bats, and lots of Myotis sp. (either California or Western Small-footed). West of the valley, there were 3 Heermann’s k-rats (in oak woodland/meadows), 1 California pocket mouse (near Antelope flats), and best of all – 1 Narrow-faced k-rat (elephantinus). This was in the dense, steep chaparral west of the valley, clearly identified by habitat, size, larger ears, darker color, and longer face than the Heermann’s; probably a minor range extension. One last note – PLEASE DRIVE VERY, VERY CAREFULLY or it will be carnage: the k-rats and kit fox pups will often be very curious around cars on the roads at night (the kit fox den is right next to the road) and there are many suicidal jackrabbits and cottontails.


New Trip Report: Amazon River

Posted July 22, 2016 by Jon Hall
Categories: Central and South America

Hi, I have a couple of reports to upload but am still catching up after Australia (a report will follow).

Here’s the first – an epic report from Fiona Reid who just came back from Brazil.  A mouthwatering list of unusual species here and I am hoping that we can organise a similar trip again in 2017 (with an even greater mammal focus next year).  Let me know if you are interested in more information.

Amazon, 2016Fiona Reid, 2 week epic river trip with at least 45 species including 16 primates (including White-faced SakiGrey’s Bald-faced SakiGold and White Marmoset and Pied Tamarin), great bats (Northern Ghost Bat and White-winged Vampire Bat), and nice rodents, like Amazon Bamboo Rat and Giant Tree Rat.




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