Chile Trip Report

Posted November 25, 2015 by Jon Hall
Categories: Central and South America, Uncategorized

Here’s a report from Charles Foley who hit up some of the classic sites in Chile over the Christmas vacation in 2014/15.

Chile, 2015: Charles Foley, a week or so and a useful update on many of the sites in my 2009 report. Species included PumaBig Hairy ArmadilloMarine Otter and Pudu.



Help! South Africa is overwhelming!

Posted November 24, 2015 by tomeslice
Categories: Africa

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hi everyone,

First, for those who are wondering about CAR, I haven’t forgotten about it, but it will be February 2017 so I will start planning around Jan-Feb 2016.

Now to South Africa: I’m going there in October, maybe with my family. Most importantly, here is a list of the animals I’m after:

  1. Caracal
  2. Aardvark
  3. White Rhino
  4. Aardwolf
  5. Wild dogs
  6. Serval
  7. African Civet
  8. Mountain Zebra
  9. Zorilla
  10. Black-footed Cat
  11. Honey Badger (seen  very well, but no photo)
  12. Pangolin (can always wish, but any tips are welcome)
  13. Roan
  14. Sable
  15. Klipspringer
  16. Brown Hyena
  17. Porcupine
  18. Meerkat/Suricate
  19. Clawless Otter
  20. Spotted-necked Otter

Here are the places I was thinking of spending time in:
Kruger – 5 nights at 3 different areas (Satara, Mopani, Olifants)

Pilanesburg – 1 afternoon, night drive, morning

Marrick Safari – 2 nights plus previous afternoon and following morning

Mountain Zebra National Park – 1 afternoon, night drive, morning

Pattenberg Bay area – 1 day

De Hoop – 2 nights

Cape Town: Cage diving, scenic stuff – 3 days

West Coast National Park – 1 afternoon, night, morning

Does this sound like a good “fist time” trip to South Africa? I will also annex a 2-night “hop over” to Victoria Falls with flights from Johannesburg.

Any and all comments are welcome!! If I happen to not see any meerkats it won’t be the worst thing in the world. If I’m spending too much/too little time anywhere, please let me know. If You don’t think 1 night/morning is enough to try for caracals in West Coast NP, let me know.. really, any thoughts you might have. Even comments like “Tomer, don’t concentrate on wild dogs/brown hyena in South Africa because you can see them in the Kalahari whenever you’re in Botzwana sometime in the future” are welcome. Thanks so much in advance!!


Help with id of rodent in Nairobi National Park

Posted November 23, 2015 by hectorgom
Categories: Uncategorized

heron with rodent in beak.jpg

I am sorry this is probably going to be a tough id. It is a rodent caught and eaten in front of my eyes by a young Black-headed Heron. The event ocurred within a dozen meters or so of the edge of Athi Dam in Nairobi National Park about 30 years ago (I am reviewing some old slides I have).

The general shape of the rodent reminds me of a picture I’ve seen of an African Marsh Rat Dasymys incomtus.

My fieldnotes say that the heron “was staring at the ground with legs half-bent, it speared its beak into the grass and brought up a brown-furred rodent with a bright red tail, rapidly paddling its feet. After a short while, the heron swallowed the rodent.”

Any insights as to the rodent’s identity?




Shrew and vole ID

Posted November 21, 2015 by SLahaye
Categories: Uncategorized


Last summer I spent some time in the Alps (Arolla in Valais) and I caught some mammals that I find rather hard to ID.

This shrew was caught in a trap that I put up in a grassy patch bordering a shed and a grass field at the edge of the town (approximately 2000m altitude). The photos are quite crappy, but based on coloration and the hair on the hind foot I think it may be Neomys anomalus (Miller’s water shrew) – any thoughts? The tail seems a bit long for the water shrew and there was no water nearby, so maybe it’s Sorex antionorii – although the coloration doesn’t seem to fit for that one and I can’t find information on hairiness of the foot for that species. Does anyone have any thoughts?


This second one is probably even harder to ID with the photo I managed to take. I caught this one by hand. It looked like a juvenile. It was caught at about 2300m altitude, above the timber line on a mossy/grassy patch. I’m thinking Microtus arvalis (common vole) based on range and habitat, but maybe it’s Microtus agrestis (field vole) or even another species?


Thanks a lot!


Seeing meadow jumping mouse and meadow vole

Posted November 21, 2015 by vdinets
Categories: Uncategorized

Both are extremely abundant right now along the first 50 m of Eternal Flame Trail in Chestnut Ridge State Park near Buffalo, New York. I saw 3 and 2 in 15 min starting at 5:15 pm, and heard dozens more. If you go there, walk also the rest of the trail (less than 1 km one-way) to see a natural gas fire behind a waterfall in a nice little canyon.

UPD1: I don’t think the jumping mice will be still there after yesterday’s cold wave. I was really surprised seeing them in November at all: they normally go into hibernation in October.

UPD2: Saw a European hare today in Trillium Woods Provincial Park near Woodstock,  Ontario. They used to be very common in NE USA and SE Canada for a few decades after their introduction, but more recently the only remaining population was in S Ontario, and I’ve heard that it has collapsed following the harsh winters of 2013-2015.

Conservation Suggestions

Posted November 18, 2015 by geomalia
Categories: Uncategorized

One of my friends at an NGO asked me for suggestions of locations in tropical countries which are not getting the conservation attention that they deserve. I sent him my thoughts, but I’m sure I missed some. Do any of you have suggestions?



Capybara news

Posted November 16, 2015 by vdinets
Categories: Uncategorized

Apparently, there is only one species, although this study was also mtDNA-only.


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