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I spent a few days in New Mexico en route from Arizona to Texas. My overriding memory of the State is one of space and large tracts of wilderness. I’d like to go back for a better look around. I also spent the 2012 Labour Day weekend on the Arizona/New Mexico border around Portal, AZ.
Carlsbad Caverns, September 1998 – Mexican Free-tailed Bats and a probable White-footed Deer Mouse. Saw a couple of Ringtails while spotlighting outside the park together with a Skunk (cannot remember whether it was a Hooded or Striped Skunk). The park entrance road is reportedly still (2012) very good for Ringtails and also a good spot for Hog-nosed Skunks.
Hidalgo County (extreme SW of the state), September 2012 - is the only place in the USA to see White-sided Jackrabbits. Following Curtis Hart's advice, I took a trip down Cloverdale Road (road 338) due south of Animas after dark. Despite the very bright full moon there was a good deal of rodent activity with several Merriam's Kangaroo Rats (identified by habitat - they are the common small Kangaroo Rat out on the gravel, Ord's are in the sandier soil) and Pocket Mice on the road. Curtis has also seen White-throated Woodrats, Banner-tailed Kangaroo Rats and Hooded Skunks during a couple of drives on moonless nights. Curits also saw Spotted Ground Squirrels somewhere near here.
White-sided Jackrabbits are most active on moonlit nights and I saw two pairs about 36 miles south of Animas, in the same area that Curtis had seen them (he saw 11 during one full moon evening between miles 34 and 40). This section of the road goes through a ranch where the vegetation is in much better shape than the scrubby country further north, which is home to many Black-tailed Jackrabbits. The White-sided have a much white belly and flanks, plus the ears (which can have black on the inside as in the photo), are white tipped. Black-tailed Jackrabbits have black-tipped ears. The road is also very close to the Mexican border and though I wasn't stopped I was waiting for the US border patrol to pull me over. So pack a passport.
White Sands National Monument, September 1998 – Kit Fox (lucked out with this one, which we caught in the headlights at dusk out in the middle of the dunes, right as the ranger was rounding us up to leave the park at closing time).
My More Detailed Trip Reports
Other People's Trip Reports
of the Kiowa Grasslands, 2012: Steve Morgan, 4 days & 13 species including Swift Foxes.
The Southwest, 2012: Vladimir Dinets, 1 month through NW New Mexico, N Arizona, SE Utah and Colorado with selected highlights (mainly interesting rodents and bats).
New Mexico/Arizona 2010: some notes from John Fox on Antelope Jackrabbits and Banner-tailed Kangaroo Rats.
New Mexico - Bosque Del Apache Area, 2010: Alan Dahl, 2 days and the mammals included a Bobcat.