moles and voles
A few updates from recent trips in Southeastern US:
Hairy-tailed moles are currently easy to (partially) see at Rhododendron Gardens above Roan Mt. State Park (TN). Tunnels crossing unpaved trails get destroyed by tourists every day, then repaired by moles at dusk. Note that the area is closed at night, so you’ll have to walk a few km from the parking lot at the Gap. The moles will only keep working if you use red light.
Allegheny cottontails and woodrats are currently present along the road to Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mts Nat’l Park. In six hours of driving last night, I saw three and one (but cooperative), respectively, plus at least a dozen white-footed mice.
I also found a maternity colony of Rafinesque’s big-eared bats in one of historic log cabins in the park. (In early May, the same cabin had no bats). Email me for directions if interested. Please use red light to minimize disturbance.
Woodland voles are currently abundant in Little River Canyon Nat’l Monument (AL). We saw three in one hr of walking along the E rim of the canyon at dawn. They are probably active at other times as well, but as soon as the sun’s up, the soundscape becomes saturated by countless skinks. You’ll have to visit after a few days of dry weather to be able to hear the voles well.
I saw a golden mouse along the only walking trail at Bogue Chitto NWR (LA) two days ago. The habitat there is perfect for this species.
Finally, Louisiana Ornithological Society has pelagic trips every fall. The most commonly seen mammals are inshore and offshore bottlenose dolphins, but they report also Stenellas, blackfish, beaked whales, pigmy spermies, and other goodies. I haven’t tried it yet, and don’t know if there are any trips scheduled for this fall, but here’s the website: http://losbird.org/pelagic.htm
They live in pretty much any type of woodland, but to be able to find them by sound you need a thick layer of very dry leaf litter. I’ve seen them in hardwood and pine forests, and also in grassy clearings.
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Thanks Vladimir, it’s great to hear reports like that.
If anyone is going to try for the Woodland Voles, Sauta Cave is only about 30 miles away, where ~250,000 Gray Bats emerge every evening. Directions are at: