Archive for February 2012

Shepherd’s beaked whale

February 27, 2012

Scientists capture Shepherd’s beaked whale on video for first time. 

February 27, 2012

This is from Vladimir Dinets

Jon

—–
Dear All,
Right now there is a rare opportunity to look for rarely-seen high-elevation mammals in the southern Appalachians. There is very little or no snow even on the highest peaks. I walked the 7-mile road from Newfound Gap to Clingman’s Dome (the highest point in GSM NP) twice in the last few days. This road is closed for traffic until March 15, but this year, unusually, there is either zero or about an inch of snow all the way to the summit, so it’s very easy to walk. I was hoping for white snowshoe hares or least weasels. No such luck (least weasel is exceptionally rare that far south, and hares have probably been eaten out by now – I didn’t see a single track), but there were some long-tailed weasel tracks, lots of cottontail tracks, and I did see an Allegheny cottontail at dusk. There are currently lots of rock voles and Northern short-tailed shrews around the summit parking lot and along the short trail to the summit viewtower; they are most active at dawn, and are easy to see from afar when they cross snow patches. I also saw a smoky shrew, a rock shrew, a Southern red-backed vole, and a deer mouse along the road. If you’d like to use this opportunity, you have to be at Newfound Gap at 4 am to make it to the summit at dawn (be careful: the pavement is slippery at night!). I’d recommend spending the day at the summit and walking back after sunset. There were also deer, coyote, red fox, black bear and bobcat tracks. Water shrews and woodland voles are possible near roadside streams. Be sure to call the park the day before as they sometimes close Newfound Gap Road on cold nights or during snowfalls. And check the weather forecast frequently! You are welcome to stop by at our place in Knoxville.

>>>> Vladimir Dinets
>>>> Assistant Research Professor
>>>> University of Tennessee, Knoxville
>>

ISO wildlife guide for High Tatras trip (Slovakia)

February 23, 2012

I am planning a trying to the High Tatras (Slovakia side) this summer and would like to hire a wildlife guide (1 day during Aug 6-8). In particular, we’d  like a decent chance at spotting the Tatra chamois, Rupicapra rupicapra tatrica; but would be thrilled to see Eurasian bear, wolves or lynx (dreaming big). Can anyone recommend a local guide to us?  We will be based near Popradske Pleso. Thanks. – Leslie

black mongoose

February 16, 2012

Hi all

Does any one have any thoughts, or any up to date info, on the specific status of black mongoose Galerella nigrata?

HMW seems to treat it as a morph of common slender mongoose. Whereas others treat it as a full species:

http://www.berglabs.org/people/sara/…0UQ%202007.pdf

I took the attached picture at Waterberg, Namibia, presuming it to be this ‘species’. It does, however, look rather similar to some photos I’ve seen labelled dwarf mongooose; I know some populations of this species get very dark. So any thoughts on the photo would also be appreciated.

Cheers

Steve

Image

Camera Trap Revolution

February 14, 2012

Great feature on camera traps and their applications for conservation worldwide. Some nice camera trap photos of rare mammals, too.

The camera trap revolution: how a simple device is shaping research and conservation worldwide

New Trip Report – Chubu, Japan

February 11, 2012

Coke Smith is just back from Japan with another great report and stunning photos. Mammals include Japanese Macaques (Snow Monkeys), Japanese Squirrels and Japanese Serows.

The report is here
http://cokesmithphototravel.com/Nature_of_Japan_s_Chubu_Region.html

Jon

Ebola strain discovered in European bats

February 9, 2012

http://www.healthmap.org/news/ebola-virus-discovered-spain

THanks Jean-Michel Bompar for the news

Jon