I went to Glenn and Colusa counties yesterday, staying out pretty late. Due to various circumstances, I could not leave the Bay Area until about 7 PM, so this basically cost me Sacramento Valley Red Fox (I still searched nonetheless). Given that it was a weekend, some other factors weren’t ideal either. I ended up doing alright but suffice to say that the results were NOT as a I expected. Sorry about spamming the forum with another response, but I feel that this report is useful for others visiting.
I first got to County Road 35 at around 10:15 PM or so. On my first pass of the road up to the locked gate at the last ranch, I only saw a Desert Cottontail and no kangaroo rats at all; this was shocking. There was a pretty steady procession of cars on the road going to some party at the very end, so I suspect there was too much disturbance on this evening–I’d recommend trying this road later at night. On the drive back, the traffic was lighter and I saw a Black-tailed Jackrabbit, then 2 California Kangaroo Rats (getting great looks at one). A couple of miles from the start of the grasslands, I saw what I’m pretty sure was a Sacramento Valley Red Fox at the edge of my spotlight range, but views were too poor to confirm.
From here, I drove to Colusa-Sacramento SRA. I was expecting to be too late to see the foxes (but was still prepared to try), so the timing of the trip was sub-optimal–I’m planning to go back later in the summer (unfortunately, pups will have vacated the den by that time). I started squeaking and heard a Sacramento Valley Red Fox yipping pretty quickly, but it was in dense brush and too far to locate. I then walked into the nearby forest (part of the state park) to look for other stuff, and pretty quickly heard 2 Ringtails calling. I then waited to try and listen for them and heard some rustling, but couldn’t spot them. In a nearby forest opening, I then saw a beautiful Western Red Bat and a Yuma Myotis. On my walk out, I saw a Striped Skunk and Northern Raccoon. I thought about searching for longer, but the bright moon and someone shooting at a nearby ranch convinced me otherwise.
I then went to Colusa NWR and drove the short entrance road, seeing a bunch of Black-tailed Jackrabbits. On nearby backroads, I saw what I’m almost certain was a North American Porcupine near Powell Slough (there are reports from all over the area, along the Sacramento River and Sutter Buttes – both live animals and roadkills) and then an excellent Ornate Shrew (!) run off the edge of the road.
So the trip wasn’t a bust, but I’m not entirely happy. When I do it again (and I will, as there’s more for me to see up here), I’d go on a weekday and go earlier for the foxes.