Kirishima Mountains

I just spent three days with my family in Kirishima Mountains (S Kyushu). The weather was either very cold, very wet, or both, and all of us got flu during the trip, so I probably wouldn’t see many mammals if it wasn’t for My Precious (a.k.a. thermal imager). Lake Miike campground (31.886103N 130.966334E) was visited at night by relatively tame Japanese badgers, sika deer and Japanese giant flying squirrels, and by rather shy Japanese big-footed myotis. The lakeshore below the campground was completely dug up by greater Japanese moles (I caught one using a tube trap). There are a few trails around the lake where small Japanese mouse was abundant on one night out of three. One of those trails passes by a hut called Arbor Shelter (31.884288N 130.956420E) where Ussuri tube-nosed bats roost sometimes; I saw none during the day, but found one on a particularly warm, rainy night. Nearby Kirishima-Higashi Shrine (31.891870N 130.961949E) is surrounded by small meadows where Japanese hares were grazing at night. An hour of driving on adjacent roads late at night produced a Japanese marten, a Japanese weasel, more small Japanese mice, and two Japanese white-toothed shrews. In other parts of the mountains, the steep 1.2-km trail to Lake Onamiike (trailhead at 31.914949N 130.840655E) had small and large Japanese mice. The short Mt. Io Trail (31.950026N 130.852038E) had a Japanese hare and a Smith’s red-backed vole at dusk.

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