Archive for April 2011

Interesting Mammal Sighting in Korea

April 28, 2011

I am an enthusiastic mammal-watcher, which is harder to be than a bird-watcher because mammals are more visually elusive. Tonight as I was walking through Yongji Park in Changwon, on the south coast of South Korea, I saw a mustelid mammal that might have been a feral ferret. But the coloration also matched the Siberian Weasel, which is indigenous to Korea although probably not common.

Now, a public park in Changwon would seem to be an unusual place to see this species, but the city is ringed by mountains which would be a more natural habitat for it — if it gets this far south; it is apparently more often encountered in North Korea. Does anyone have any ideas about this? Is it possible that I did see a Siberian Weasel? Or are feral ferrets sometimes sighted in Korean parks?

UPDATE: A respondent at Animal Rescue Korea said that she has seen similar mustelids on Jeju Island, which is off the south coast of South Korea.  So if the Siberian Weasel occurs there, it would probably occur in the Changwon area as well. The coloration of the animal that I saw did not remind me of any domestic ferret I have ever seen. The only other wild weasels found in South Korea are the Least Weasel and the Mountain Weasel, which are smaller and do not look like the animal I saw.

Alpine Long-eared Bats in the South of France

April 26, 2011

Over Easter I took my kids down to Toulon in the south of France to stay with my friends Jean-Michel and Mary Bompar

The weather wasn’t great. We tried to catch Pine Voles (and caught a lot of traps full of soil but no animals), Water Shrews and Snow Voles (again none of each). We were more successful with the bats though, catching my target – an Alpine Long-eared Bat (Plecotus macrobullaris) – near Andon. We also caught a couple of Daubenton’s bats, saw a lot of Roe Deer around Andon and in the Camp Militaire de Canjuers as well as what appeared to be a Polecat late at night (though they are apparently very rare in the area so it the fleeting glimpse could have been of something else). The military camp, about 30km west of Grasse, is an interesting area. It has been protected for about 50 years and no people live within the area so it is now very rich in wildlife. Wolves are resident and Lynxes are reported every year (mainly by jogging soldiers). The D25 runs through the camp but if you leave the road you run the risk of being arrested or flattened by a shell.

Thanks again to JM and Mary for their spectacular hospitality and for yet another (now the 10th) new mammal JM has produced for me over the past 2 years. Jon Mountain Long-eared Bat.

Natural History of the Mammalia of India and Ceylon

April 26, 2011

A free eBook from Project Gutenberg,

Published in 1884. Interesting on many different levels, IMO. Especially the cats.


seeing golden lion tamarin

April 23, 2011



At the risk of taking over this forum with requests for information, has anyone been to the golden lion tamarin reintroduction site near Rio? I’m quite keen to go if you seen them living naturally in the field, but not if it’s zoo like – they’re at my local zoo. (In birder jargon are they tickable? )

I’ve found a company that arrange visits, Brazil Eco-travel, but they haven’t responded to emails. I’d been keen to know of other ways you can arrange a visit.



New Trip Report – Qinlings 2011

April 21, 2011

Coke, Som and Cokie Smith just got back from a very cold week in the Qinlings and saw a Panda along with many other things and took some great photos.

The report is here


Mammal watching in the Carpathian mountains.

April 21, 2011

Hi all.

Has anyone tried Mammal watching in the Carpathian mountains, Romania? I know Naturetrek do a wolf, bear and lynx trip there. I’m doing it independently in June. If anyone has any advice on the mammals (or any other wildlife) I’d much appreciate it.



A Hollywood Twitch

April 19, 2011

OK its birds… but the song remains the same. And I’m excited


THE BIG YEAR – starring Owen Wilson, Jack Black and Steve Martin, follows three avid bird watchers competing to spot the rarest birds at a prestigious annual twitching event. A comedy, needless to say. In movie theatres in fall 2011.
Trailer not yet available
The Big Year : IMDB: