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