Redwoods National Park, CA – RFI
I’ll be visiting Redwoods National Park and nearby areas in California this spring. Does anyone have suggestions on good places to look for mammals and other wildlife? I’m interested in just about anything–marine mammals, tree and ground squirrels, chipmunks, etc. Let me know if there are any particularly good areas to explore. –Matt
There are lots of interesting small mammals there, but all except Sciurids are difficult to see. Look for tree vole nests in young Douglas-firs and streamside alder thickets. Shrews and shrew-moles can sometimes be located by listening to noises in fallen leaves. Azalea Reserve near Eureka used to have very high Scapanus mole density, so on spring nights there was a good chance of seeing juveniles migrate overland (but last year my friends didn’t see any). Caves in Oregon Caves NM and Lava Beds NM are good for bats (but in the latter place they only winter, so call them in advance to ask). Kalmiopsis Wilderness is good for cougars. Black bears are common in inland portions of RNP and around. Sea Lion Cave has Steller’s sea lions in a spectacular sea cave, but they might be gone by May – call first. Cascades ground-squirrel is common above tree line, for example, at Lassen Volcano (but golden-mantled g.s. is more common at most sites). Crater Lake is the best place to look for martens (around the lodge on the crater rim). SE Oregon has two remote, but beautiful island mountains (Hart Mt. and Steens Mt.) with pronghorn and other high desert species. Be extremely careful when trapping: hantavirus is very common in Peromyscus in some locations.
Thanks for this information. I know Monterey is a great spot but we won’t be going that far south on this trip.
I take it the squirrels are fairly easy to find in the redwoods area? Western gray squirrel is something I have yet to see despite a number of West Coast trips in their range.
WGS is more common in oak parklands, particularly in Central California, but I’ve seen it up to Crater Lake. It’s been pushed out of urban parks by introduced fox and e. gray squirrels. Douglas sq. is
very common in redwoods and other conifers, but it’s been shown to be conspecific with red sq. Calif. ground sq. is abundant in Central California, even in the rocks around the lighthouse in downtown San
Francisco. I’ve also seen it at Dechutes River in Oregon. Belding’s g.s. occurs in Crooked River Nat’l Grassland and in many sites east of Sierra Nevada, such as Bodie Ghost Town. Chipmunks are most diverse in the Sierra, but good places in the north include Salmon River (Cal.), Subway Cave (Cal.) and Newberry Nat’l Monument (Or.) for T. amoenus, Lassen Volcano for T. minimus, Humboldt Redwoods State Park for T.
ochrogenys, Siskiyou Mts. (Cal.) for T. senex (also occurs at Newberry NM), Redwoods NP and Kalmiopsis Wilderness for T. siskiyou, and Muir Woods for T. sonomae.
There are several campground in and around the various redwood park complex. Those should be good for Yellow-cheeked chipmunk (Tamias ochrogenys) in the southern portions of the region. If you are lucky you may see T. sonomae and or T senex. In the far north you may get T. siskiyou. There are a number of smaller rodents that you may bait in with traps. We are heading down that way in a couple weeks ourselves. Best of luck!
The Point Arena (nigra ssp) Mountain Beaver is between Point Arena and Irish Beach. The Arcata FWS emailed me recently that the burrows at Manchester Beach State Park campground is a good place to try. A guy with a chipmunk page found Yellow-cheeked at Van Damme State Park just south of Mendocino, I think it is the only chipmunk there. I haven’t seen either but I’m going to try in a couple weeks when I’m out there!
Mendocino Audubon is running a pelagic trip out of Ft. Bragg on May 16. I got Pacific White-sided and Northern Right Whale Dolphins on that trip in the past. Info on their trips is on the listserve archives at
I hope this isn’t too late for you.
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Jean Michel BOMPAR
Monterey is a very good place, both for in-shore marine mammals (sea-lion, sea-otter..) and off-shore boat trip(whales, dolphins, …).