California news

A couple notes:

  1. We spent a couple hours spotlighting by car and on foot in Panoche Valley, and saw just one mammal (a giant k-rat). It looks like there’s been no rain there yet (but just a few miles north there is some new grass on the hillsides).
  2. I walked Mt. Disappointment Road (it branches off Mt. Wilson Rd. less than a mile from its junction with US 2 above Pasadena) and saw tracks of three different ringtails on remnant snow patches. The road is closed for cars, and should be a great place for night walks.
  3. Does anybody know which chipmunks are on Mt. Wilson? I saw one cross the road despite cold weather, but IUCN maps show neither lodgepole nor Merriam’s there.

    UPD: apparently it’s Merriam’s, although in other parts of San Gabriel Mts. it’s replaced by lodgepole chipmunks at high elevations.

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3 Comments on “California news”

  1. vnsankar123 Says:

    Just thought I’d give an update too as I spent a day out in San Benito as well last Friday (November 29).

    I visited different areas from Vladimir (not Panoche Valley, which I heard from a friend ~2 weeks ago is so dry that the BLM is putting out Giant k-rat feed/grain in Tumey Hills). I would not advise visiting mammal watchers look for the San Joaquin Valley species (k-rats, kit fox, etc.) anywhere until we get decent rain out here.

    Quien Sabe Rd and Browns Valley Rd near Hollister got a reasonable amount of rain and are greening up a fair bit, with a lot of fresh grass. I saw 2 Coyotes, and best of all, a Long-tailed Weasel (!!!), my first in this area, near a cattle guard in Browns Valley with abundant rodents. Currently, the grass conditions there are ideal for daytime Long-tailed Weasel sightings but the grass will probably be grazed too low for them pretty soon (LTWs aren’t that common in this area to start with, preferring open valleys/plains with k-rats). Lots of Badger sign out there too…

    I then visited Old Hernandez and Coalinga Roads in the Southern part of the county (SE of Pinnacles NP), where I found 4 Bobcats and a Coyote. Old Hernandez Rd is the best place in the world to see Bobcats (beats Pt Reyes by a significant margin) – my personal best is 7 in one day here and a friend of mine had 15 sightings in a day focusing on this road last December – the density of Bobcats out there defies belief!


  2. Mike Richardson Says:

    considering it was a near full moon I had pretty good luck spotlighting the Panoche Valley just over a month ago. I’ll try to get my trip report finished this weekend.

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