Archive for September 2011

mammals in France and Spain

September 25, 2011


I’m thinking of doing a trip through France and northern Spain, ending up in the Cordillera Cantabrica, looking for wolves. I’ve done a similar trip before, although, most of the time then was spent in Spain, with just a little in the French Pyrenees. I’m hoping to see some of the mammals I failed to see before and I’m after tips for good spots generally for mammals and herp.s

In particular can anyone recommend somewhere where there’s actually a reasonable chance of beech martin? In the past I’ve stayed in a B & B which fed pine martins, in Scotland, is there a similar place in France? Also does anyone have any good sites for Alpine ibex and southern water vole? I believe Pyranean desman is very difficult, anyone managed to see it?
In the past I’ve rather neglected bats and small mammals that need trapping. I’m going to try and rectify that so any good spots would be appreciated. I’m particularly keen to see garden dormouse. Does anyone know the legal position regarding small mammals trapping in France? Having nearly been arrested in Spain for doing in, I’m keen not to repeat the experience.

Any wolf or bear watching tips also appreciated.

Any help much appreciated.



January 2012 Mammal Trip to Australia

September 24, 2011

Gerald Broddelez is running a small private tour to Australia next year and has asked me to advertise it here. THe trip is guaranteed but 2 places are available. Please contact Gerald (details below) for more information. I would also strongly recommend the optional add on at Lamington for their mammal week – its a great week and you might see over 30 species of mammals there alone.


19/1/2012 – 8/2/2012

Over the past 30 million years Australia’s land mammals have existed in complete isolation, evolving into a splendid variety of bizarre and unique forms. An astonishing 83% of the 360 mammal species that are found here occur nowhere else on Earth!

Amongst the weird and wonderful creatures that make their home down under, are the bulk of the world’s marsupials, or “pouched mammals” — kangaroos, wallabies, potoroos, wombats, koalas, bandicoots and bilbies to name but a few. This is also home to the relict monotremes, the ancient group of “egg laying” mammals including the porcupine-like Short-beaked Echidna and the bizarre Duck-billed Platypus.

Australia is made up of a mixture of cultivated lowlands, rainforests, alpine grasslands, heaths and cool temperate rainforest-covered mountains.

I invite you to explore the riches of Australia from North to South with me on a tour that will certainly live up to the slogan of a “Once in a lifetime Voyage!”

The group is limited to 6 persons plus 1 guide. During a good part of the tour we will use local guides that know the birds and mammals very well.
We will stay in comfortable Motels-Hotels-Lodges throughout the whole tour.

Photographic Opportunities are excellent throughout!
Tour Pace & Walking, relaxed !

Main program (details below)
19/1 Flight London – Sydney
21/1 Early morning arrival in Sydney
22/1 visit of Bot Gardens (colony of Flying Fox) and Town (Opera House etc)
23/1 whole day Royal Nat Park and surr with local guide and spotlighting.
24/1 Flight to Cairns and expl the Esplanade/mangrove area
25/1 Whole day boot and snorkelling tour to Green Island (Great barrier Reef)
26/1 – 28/1 During these 3 days we will visit the Crater Lake NP , Undarra Lava Tube and the Atherton Tablelands in search off some special birds and mammals as Golden Bowerbird, Platyphus, Tree Kangaroo and many species of Marsupials and Bats.
29/1 Flight to Hobart (Tasmania)
30/1 Visit to Bruny or Maria Island
31/1 Optional full day excursion to Melaleuca (by small plane) or Hobart area.
1/2 Drive to, and visit of Cradle Mountain (Tasmanian Devil, Quoll etc)
2/2 Visit of Mountain Wilderness area, Devils and Kangaroos on the porch!!
3/2 Drive back to Hobart, visiting a Marshland enroute
4/2 Flight Hobart – Adelaide – drive to Kangaroo Island
5/2 Whole day Kangaroo Island home to good numbers of Koala and Seals.
6/2 Kangaroo Island to Adelaide area
7/2 Flight to London
8/2 Arrival London

Min – Max Group Size 4-6 + 1 guide

Main highlights : Sydney, Lamington NP, Royal NP, Cairns, Green Island, Atherton Tablelands, Undarra Lava NP, Adelaide, Kangaroo Island, Hobart, Cradle Mountain, Bruny Island, Mount Wellington, Perth, Dryandra , Albany
Top Mammals : Koala, Dingo, Tasmanian Devil, Eastern Quoll, Spotted-tailed Quoll, Platypus, Short-beaked Echidna, Common Wombat, Austr Fur Seal, Numbat, Dugong

Pre program (14/1 – 21/1)

Lamington Wildlife week
Escape to the rainforest and discover another world – the world of pademelons, bandicoots, echidnas, gliders, birds, reptiles and frogs. Join us for an exciting week of tracking, trapping and sneaking up on wildlife. The World Heritage-listed subtropical rainforest of Lamington National Park is a perfect environment for anyone keen to learn more about our wildlife and provides the ideal opportunity for us to view them in their natural habitat. Our comprehensive program caters for everyone from the novice to those with serious interests in researching threatened species. The program is a fantastic chance to discover many of the creatures that inhabit this unique and diverse region, and combines presentations with plenty of field trips to put newfound knowledge into practice.Dinner is not included.

Post tour program ( 7/2 – 12/2)
Western Australia – Perth – Dryandra Forest and Albany area

For more info contact:

Gerald Broddelez

Travel Dedicated

Evolutionary Tree of Life for Mammals Greatly Improved

September 24, 2011

Evolutionary Tree of Life for Mammals Greatly Improved
ScienceDaily (Sep. 23, 2011) — An international research team led by biologists at the University of California, Riverside and Texas A&M University has released for the first time a large and robust DNA matrix that has representation for all mammalian families. The matrix — the culmination of about five years of painstaking research — has representatives for 99 percent of mammalian families, and covers not only the earliest history of mammalian diversification but also all the deepest divergences among living mammals.


Pinniped Taxonomy Revised

September 23, 2011

Of interest to viewers of this blog,  Annalisa Berta and I have recently published a taxonomic revision of this group

A more detailed dissection of changes is presented in this blog post

no new splits at species level, but quite a few lumps at subspecies level (and a few at species level)

Mountain Gorilla – Uganda or Rwanda

September 18, 2011

Hi all,

We like photography and filming very much. Any idea where it is nicest to see the gorillas? We were advised to go to Rwanda as the sourrounding where you see them is nicer, in the forest instead of banana plantation and that the vegetation is thicker in Uganda which is bad for the light? 

Any advise/information would be very much appreciated.


Kind regards

Carmen and Tobi

Vietnam Trip – December 2011

September 15, 2011

I’m planning a couple of weeks in Vietnam in early December this year to look for things like Black-shanked Douc, Red-shanked Douc (Bach Ma National Park), Ha Tinh Langur and Delacour’s Langur, Pygmy Loris etc. If anyone is interested in coming along please let me know.


Meet the Newest Species of Dolphin

September 15, 2011

The Burrunan (Bottle-nosed) Dolphin, Tursiops australis, of Victoria, Australia

Finally nice to see this species published, as it’s been speculated to be a new species for almost a decade now