RFI – Colorado Chipmunks

13 Comments
  1. John Fox 9 years ago

    Jon

    I found them around the cafe in Mesa Verde NP in the southwest corner of the state. That’s closer to Denver than Paris is, but probably not what you were looking for. 🙂

    Could I hijack your thread a bit and ask if anyone knows of places for rodents in Colorado? I’ll be doing the Prairie Chicken tour in April and will be all over the state.

    TIA

  2. vladimir dinets 9 years ago

    Jon: they should be out at lower elevations, unless the spring is a late one. Try dinosaur tracks area near Morrison; if it doesn’t work, Rocky Mountains Nat’l Park is a good place.

    John: Boulder used to be the best place for b-t p-dogs and associated stuff, but most colonies were destroyed by recent plague. Fallow fields around town are good for assorted voles (but they usually don’t go into traps until the 2nd or 3rd night) and W harvest mouse. For Gunnison’s p-dog, try the area E from Black Canyon of the Gunnison, for w-t p-dog – Colorado National Monument. Denver Zoo has feral 13-lined gr. sq. Comanche National Grassland is good for prairie species, such as pocket gophers, and canyons there regularly have rock mice, Neotoma micropus and Perognathus spp. at night (get a map at the ranger station when you’ll be picking up keys for the l. p-ch. blind). Great Sand Dunes NM is good for k-rats and Merriam’s shrew (look for and follow its tracks before dawn). If you have time for a short trip out of state, Thunder Basin Nat’l Grassland in Wyoming is a great place for prairie species, although you’d have to drive around a lot at night and camp once or twice to get the best of it. Pawnee Nat’l Grassland is also good for prairie stuff such as N grasshopper-mouse (and mountain plovers).

  3. John Fox 9 years ago

    Thanks Vladimir. Some good stuff, it’ll take me awhile to digest it. Spotting and tracking a Merriam’s Shrew would be sizzling. It’s probably not as hard as it sounds, just a matter of getting some experience and learning.

    Ironically, I graduated from UC Boulder some 30 years ago. It’s a shame I was clueless about life in the world.

    Just to add a data point to the blog, the NPS has inventoried many of their properties in the USA. There is a link to the pdf report that includes the Black Canyon of the Gunnisson here:

    http://science.nature.nps.gov/im/units/ncpn/Link_Library/Citation_Abstract/Complete9.htm

    They live trapped 19 Bushy-tailed Woodrats there. Some good data is better than none, IMO.

  4. vladimir dinets 9 years ago

    John: Bushy-tails are pretty common throughout, I remember getting something like 6 in 50 traps in the foothills around Boulder, and 2 in 4 traps just below the entrance to Yosemite Valley. But they are a bit less arboreal than many others, and not as easy to see.

  5. Morgan Churchill 9 years ago

    My lifer Colorado Chipmunk was from Spruce Mountain Recreation Area, which I think is an hour or so from Denver

    Unfortunately I am drawing a complete blank looking for this area on google, so I don’t know what is up

  6. Profile photo of Jon Hall
    Jon Hall 9 years ago

    Thanks very much… apparently Spotted and 13 lined Ground Squirrels and Hopi Chipmunks are in the state. Other than the zoo for the 13-lined, are there places anyone knows for these species?

    thanks

    Jon

  7. vladimir dinets 9 years ago

    Jon,
    Spotted gs is common in the far north along the border with WY – the best place is Como Bluff (the famous dinosaur graveyard in WY, where you can also see lots of dino bones in creek beds, and a cabin built of bone fragments). You can also see Wyoming gs there, or, better, in Florissant Fossil Beds NM and north from it.
    13-lined gs can be trapped in the morning at prairie dog colonies around Boulder, but you’d have to check the traps every 15 min once the sun is up. Be careful: lots of rodents there carry hantavirus and plague.
    Oh, and if you are going in April, Merriam’s shrews are probably going to be active at dusk and in the first two hours of night, not in pre-dawn hours.

    • Profile photo of morganchurchill
      morganchurchill 9 years ago

      FYI, if you decide to look for Spotted Ground Squirrels at Como bluff, stay on the roads. This area is now private property and currently does not allow access to either Bone Cabin or the quarries. Not sure how this will effect finding the squirrels.

      • vladimir dinets 9 years ago

        Well, the cabin is very close to a public road. As for the rest of the area, you have to walk by warning signs sometimes to get to bone-filled stream beds… but, having grown up in the Soviet Union, I can always claim to be unfamiliar with the concept of private land ownership 😉

  8. John Fox 9 years ago

    I was thinking about your approach just this afternoon, Vladimir. I was at the Bayou Sauvage NWR and found three different tracks with various versions of “No Trespassing” signs. One was Fish and Wildlife property and the other two were private. So, is it better to get busted by the Feds or by locals?

    Fortunately, I got great looks at a Swamp Rabbit before the Refuge closed so I didn’t have to guess which one to try.

  9. John Fox 9 years ago

    I was thinking about your approach just this afternoon, Vladimir. I was at the Bayou Sauvage NWR and found three different tracks with various versions of “No Trespassing” signs. One was Fish and Wildlife property and the other two were private. So, is it better to get busted by the Feds or by locals?

    Fortunately, I got great looks at a Swamp Rabbit before the Refuge closed so I didn’t have to guess which one to try.

    Edit to say thanks for the tip a couple months ago!

    • vladimir dinets 9 years ago

      My experience shows that if you trespass between 2 and 5 am, your chances of being busted are very close to zero. Also, I think Texas is the only state where it’s legal to shoot people for trespassing on private land 🙂

  10. Profile photo of Jon Hall
    Jon Hall 9 years ago

    Thank you again for all this advice. I did see Thirteen lined Ground Squirrels at Denver Zoo (and they may in fact be a remnant population rather than a feral one). I didn’t see Colorado Chipmunks or Spotted Ground Squirrels (which I did not look for). I did get some useful information on Spotted Ground Squirrels though that I include here for [posterity (thank you Dave Armstrong from the Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch).

    ” Spotted ground squirrels are not easy to find or see, in my experience. They seem to want shortgrass or sand-sage prairie, and that sort of habitat is present in northeastern eastern Colorado mostly out of the irrigated country that typifies the South Platte Valley, and also well east of the metropolitan area that extends all along Interstate 25 and eastward along I-76 and US Highway 34.

    I suppose if I wanted to see a spotted ground squirrel and had only a weekend to find it, I’d head east of Greeley on US 34 toward Fort Morgan–into the sandhills and rangeland country.

    Or perhaps better, head east on Highway 14 from Ault (which is north of Greeley on US 85 or due east of Fort Collins if you are headed north on I-25) to the Pawnee National Grasslands. There is lots of grassland out there, fairly accessible (because it’s public land), and much of it suitable habitat. Don’t avoid areas that look overgrazed–that’s good habitat for these beasts–and especially look for the margins of sandy blowouts.

    This is not an ideal time of year to be looking, of course, because they retreat to their [indistinct] burrows–usually beneath sagebrush (wormwood)–on cool, windy days, but on a sunny day they might be up and about.”

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