Archive for October 2010

North American Flying Squirrels, etc.

October 28, 2010

If you are ever in the Washington, DC area in winter, the Long Branch Nature Center here in Arlington has a Southern Flying Squirrel program that is pretty cool.  The squirrels come to a feeder on the deck. They have a one hour talk, which is mostly for kids, and ask for a $3 donation, but you can skip those and just show up around dusk.

The squirrels blam into the tree and immediately race around to the other side, scoot down to get a nut, then race up the tree and launch themselves into the air. They have a high cute factor and it is easy to stand there for an hour watching them.

I am wondering if anyone knows of a public place where Northern Flying Squirrels come to a feeder. I have had no luck  finding them in the wild where I have been in their range.

I am also wondering if anyone knows of a good place for Snowshoe Hares in the eastern US. I know they are abundant in places, I just don’t know where those places are.

I’d like to make a trip north before the winter sets in, trying for those two species is a good reason to go.

Thanks in advance,


Mountain goat kills hiker

October 18, 2010

Not the kind of mammal encounter you’d want.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard of someone being killed by a mountain goat before…

Mountain goat kills hiker at Olympic National Park.

ID confirmation of a couple Carrizo Plains Rodents

October 14, 2010

I was out at the Carrizo Plain last week and did quite well, despite being limited to the paved road at the southern end, due to extremely wet and muddy conditions.    I spent about 3 1/2 hours there, hiking and cruising, and conservatively saw 60+ rodents.   There were at least 7 species, however I was only able to photograph 2.

I’m pretty sure these are San Joaquin Pocket Mice, Perognathus inornatus.

San Juaquin Pocket Mouse

San Juaquin Pocket Mouse 2


I think this is Peromyscus maniculatus.

San Juaquin Deer Mouse


I also saw the 3 K-rats, Southern Grasshopper Mouse, and a California Pocket Mouse.




Curtis Hart

New Small Carnivore in Madagascar

October 12, 2010

ScienceDaily (Oct. 11, 2010) — A new species of small carnivore, known as Durrell’s vontsira (Salanoia durrelli) has been identified by researchers from the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, the Natural History Museum, London, Nature Heritage, Jersey, and Conservation International (CI). The small, cat-sized, speckled brown carnivore from the marshes of the Lac Alaotra wetlands in central eastern Madagascar weighs just over half a kilogramme and belongs to a family of carnivores only known from Madagascar. It is likely to be one of the most threatened carnivores in the world.

Read more


New Trip Report – PNG

October 12, 2010

There’s a new trip report from Steve Anyon-Smith on the Papua New Guinea page. He just spent a couple of weeks in a lodge in the central highlands which sounds excellent for mammals (at least relative to much of PNG where they are seem so hard to see). He saw 5 species and several others are in the neighbourhood including Doria’s Tree Kangaroo. The human fauna sounds fascinating too. Its worth reading for the prose alone… “some of the potholes are so big they create their own weather” …..


Jerusalem – Porcupines and Gazelles

October 10, 2010

I was in Jerusalem last weekend for a night. Indian Porcupines are easy to see at the Jerusalem Bird Observatory in the middle of the city (quite well signposted between the Knesset and the Supreme Court). They usually feed in front of the bird hide in this tiny reserve just after dusk and I saw at least 2 animals here, along with a Southern White-breasted Hedgehog (Erinaceus concolor). Many thanks to Ohr Tregger, Jonathan Meyrav and Amir Balaban, the manager of the reserve, for their help.

Mountain Gazelles are quite common in Israel and if you are in Jerusalem they are easy to find in the Valley of the Gazelles, a small patch of scrub that has been isolated in the middle of the city, still home to a population of gazelles. I asked the taxi driver to drop me off at the busy Pat Junction, at the southern end of the valley, early in the morning. I found a hole in the fence and wandered through the bush, flusing 3 Gazelles in the middle of the grassland. There used to be 20 or so animals living here, but someone told me that fewer than 5 remain.

East Timor RFI

October 8, 2010

I will be in East Timor in a couple of weeks. Does anyone know anything about mammal watching possibilities there?