Utah Prarie Dogs and the Channel Islands RFI and some news from the Asia-Pacific

A few people have sent me some trip reports over the last couple of weeks and I am sorry not to have uploaded them but I’ve been travelling through Malaysia, Indonesia and now New Caledonia. Its been mainly work but I did see (at long last) a Tapir in Taman Negara, and was pleasantly surprised by the number of mammals I saw in Java (including Malay Badger, the 3 endemic primates, Javan Ferret Badger and what I think was a Javan Warty Pig though I would like to see some photos of them to be sure). I’m hoping to see some Flying Foxes here in New Caledonia and have arranged to stay on Saturday night with a local tribe who will show me some. They are surprised I want to photograph them and not eat them.

Meanwhile, I will be in the US for the last week in August. Does anyone know a good spot for Utah Praire Dogs, preferably in SW Utah or as near to Las Vegas/north rim of the Grand Canyon as possible. I am also going to spend a night on the Channel Islands. Does anyone know where to see the Townsend’s Big-eared Bat colony there, and any tips on the best places to look for the CI Fox and Western Spotted Skunks?




  • vladimir dinets

    The best place for UPD is Bryce Canyon – there are colonies near the visitor center, and also N from the entrance road turnoff. I am not sure there are any left in Grand Canyon area, but NPS people should know. There used to be a colony near Valley of Fire SP, but we checked it three weeks ago and there was no trace of it (the park is still good for wt antelope squirrels and desert bighorns).

    CIF situation differs from island to island. On San Miguel (the most interesting one) there’s only a few left (plus some in a breeding facility). On Sta Cruz, they used to be common around the campsites. Campsites are also your best bet for spotted skunks – they are very tame there.

  • Jon Hall

    Thanks Vladimir – I will go to Bryce then. Do you know any places there to look for Woodrats and Pocket Gophers?

    • vladimir dinets

      Which woodrats and which gophers? For bottae, the best place is the bayfront park in Berkeley (the same freeway exit as for the university, then go west until the road ends). CA woodrat is very common at night in oak woodlands throughout the state, brushy-tailed can be easily trapped in the lower conifers of the Sierra.

  • Matt Miller

    Uinta chipmunks are also common at Bryce. The pocket gopher quest continues. I am half tempted to head down there. Bryce is a beautiful park.

  • Jon Hall

    Would be good to see you there Matt if you can make it – we will be there around 20 August I think and will also go to Seligman again to look for BF Ferrets and then to the Channel Islands.

    Scott Flamand also tells me that there is a large colony of prarie dogs on the golf course at Cedar City

  • John Fox


    I was just out there, doing an AZ Game and Fish bat survey around Jacob Lake (at 89A and 67, south on 67).

    Page 36 of this pdf has a map that may be useful:


    I went up to Bryce and got them easily, there’s a fricking sign saying “Caution, Prairie Dog Crossing”. A half hour+ driving the north campground, just inside the park, produced both Least and Uinta Chipmunks, for a nice comparison.

    AZGF tracks a subspecies of Chisel-toothed Kangaroo Rat south of Marble Canyon (basically 89A south of the Colorado River at Navaho Bridge). I found one on BLM/Bureau of Land Management road 1065, about 13 miles east of Jacob Lake off 89A and well signed. It is longer tailed than Ord’s, the only other K-rat there. See the link here:


    The Spring Mountains are a short hour northwest of Vegas. Palmer’s Chipmunks were easy in all the campgrounds in the Ponderosa forest, and I found a Panamint Chipmunk on Rt 158, on the rock wall ~30 meters north of Deer Creek Picnic Area.

    The camp host at some of the campgrounds were pretty snotty about day use, like they owned the place. I quit talking to them or just said I wanted to see the camp sites. It is public land, after all.

    Two different AZGF biologists at the bat survey said the Black-footed Ferret is totally gettable spotlighting from Rt 66. I tried between 2-5 AM but dipped on it, so it takes a bit of luck. It’s between mile markers 122 and 130, and it is a late night animal, like after 1-1:30.

    That ranch is called Pika Camp and is just east of mile marker 123, and it is definitely OK to go in there. But with no map and no gen I decided not to in the middle of the night by myself.

    It doesn’t sound like you can fit in a long, boring drive but Hopi Chipmunks were easy at the entrance to Natural Bridges NM in Utah.


    Arlington, VA

    • Jon Hall

      John – thanks. THat is really helpful. SOrry you dipped on the Ferret though glad to know I am not alone in my failure to see one. Everyone told me they were super common too off of Route 66.

      THanks for the Chipmunk info. Where is Deer Creek Picnic Area? Is it East of Ogden Utah? Or are there more than one Rt 158s?

      THere is enough US knowledge on this blog that we could all collaborate on some sort of wikibased “Where to see mammals in the US” … and cover every species. What do you and the others think?


      • jj2b

        That Rt. 158 is just a little road in the Spring Mountains, I’ll email a map. The Spring Mountains are a good place to get Panamint because Palmer’s is the only other chipmunk there; you have to worry about several others in the Sierra Nevadas.

        I think a Wiki would be great. It currently takes a lot of Googling around to find out where things are.


      • Morgan Churchill

        A wiki would be a great idea. Scrounging through bird trip reports is a slow and often poor way of getting intel on mammals. I could at least throw in a few species and helpful locations

      • Curtis Hart

        I think the wiki is a good idea as well. I’m not sure exactly how that works, but tell me where and I’ll enter what I know.

        • ameet

          Wiki is a good idea. We have to think through the organization so it is easy to find information based on location or species. I would recommend that we restrict editing to people who sign up – if possible reuse the login credentials from this forum.

  • Curtis Hart

    I’ve camped at the campground on the E end of Santa Cruz twice and easily saw the foxes both times. Last time was maybe 2 years ago. Check around at dusk, and cooking after dark tends to bring them in, I cooked black beans and rice both times, don’t know if they particularly like that or not. The Townsend’s Big-eared Bats are near the campground in one of the buildings associated with the farm. The building is in a small fenced off area and not accessible to visitors. You can watch them fly out, but they just look like normal bats. I have not seen any W Spotted Skunks there, didn’t even know it was an option. I guess I need another trip out there. Good luck.

  • John Fox

    A followup about the Channel Islands.

    On a day trip a couple weeks ago to Santa Cruz the Gray Fox was pretty easy. One was seen for 5 minutes on the hill between the picnic/house area and the campground at midmorning and another spent an hour wandering around the picnic/house area in the early afternoon.

    I talked to the Ranger about Spotted Skunks and he said that one had been around the upper campground a bit, but they are not common, and strictly nocturnal.

    A 2001 survey of Spotted Skunks on Santa Rosa island is here:


    83 individuals were trapped.

    Island Packers runs to Santa Rosa and you can camp there, so….

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