Archive for July 2010

Right Whale breaches onto Yacht

July 22, 2010

This story is doing the rounds today… the embedded video link is amusing too

Mammal watching in North Carolina

July 21, 2010

Hey folks

Last May I hit up North Carolina for birding and Salamandering, but also saw a few interesting mammals, particulary pelagic species

I had two trips with Patteson Pelagics

These are largely pelagic birding trips (all day) in the gulf stream, targeting gulf stream specialties and rare Pterodroma petrels.  But to be honest for the two trips the whale watching was much better.

Over 2 days we had Humpback Whale (unusual for this season), Risso’s Dolphin (rare) 2 Sperm Whales (uncommon but regular), and multiple encounters with Offshore Bottlenose and Atlantic Spotted Dolphin, as well as Short-finned Pilot Whale (all three common).

Not seen on this trip but also regularly seen are Cuvier’s Beaked Whale and less regularly Gervais Beaked Whale.  Past trips have also encountered False Killer Whale, Clymene Dolphin, Fin Whale and others.

On land, I encountered Nutria and Raccoon at Pea Island NWR, although in general the land mammals were fairly poor on this trip (although I managed my first Black Bear earlier that week at Smoky Mountains NP

New study revises Finless Porpoise Taxonomy and Yangtze River Porpoise conservation

July 21, 2010

Here is a link to a BBC news story summarizing the paper

Take home message is that:

The Chinese and Indo-Pacific Finless Porpoises are two separate species.  Both species even occur in sympatry without interbreeding apparently in an area near Hong Kong (I have heard of this from another source, so not sure if this is discussed in this paper)

The Yangtze River Porpoise is a distinct genetic group, but has not been formerly elevated to species (it is most closely related to the Chinese Finless Porpoise.  There are only less than 1000 of the Yangtze River Porpoise left, making them an urgent conservation priority.

RFI: Crested Porcupine and other mammals, central Italy

July 20, 2010

Hi all

In mid-October I will be spending a week in the Abruzzo National Park in the Apennine Mountains of western central Italy. I will also have a couple of days to explore Umbria or the Rome area.

My principle targets in Abruzzo are the Marsican Brown Bear and Apennine Chamois. I would also like to see Beech Marten, European Free-tailed Bat and any other mammals that are not found in the UK. Crested Porcupine is also high on my list, although I have read conflicting information regarding its distribution in Abruzzo. I would assume this would be easier to find in Umbria?

I would be extremely grateful if anyone could provide hints or site information for any of these mammals, especially the Porcupine (info on this creature is hard to come by). Directions to any bat roosts etc would also be appreciated.

Finally, is it advisable to use a spotlight in Italy, or is this likely to attract attention from law enforcement? Presumably it is not permitted in the national parks? Any advice on this would be most welcome.

Thank you in anticipation

Mike Richardson

The Mammals of Papua

July 18, 2010

Murray Lord stumbled on this website – the Mammals of Papua. It is long overdue and aims “to treat the biological, distributional, conservation and taxonomical aspects of the mammals in the Papuan region, to provide an up-to-date checklist, relate to news concerning mammals throughout the region and eventually providing detailed species accounts of every species encountered in the Papuan region to date”. I hope it continues.

New Trip Report – South Africa

July 18, 2010

Richard Webb has just returned from South Africa. He saw 60 species including Black-footed Cat, Cape Fox, Aardvark, Cape Dune Mole Rat and Spotted-necked Otter.

The report is linked at the bottom of here


New Trip Report – Nicaragua

July 18, 2010

Vladimir Dinets sent through a report of a 10 day trip to Nicaragua where he saw some interesting bats and rodents.

The report is linked here