Finding Mammals in North America: last-minute RFI

Dear All,

I am about to receive the final proofs of my new book Finding Mammals in North America; this will be the last chance to add or change something. If you have any tips you haven’t shared yet, or got a new trip report that you haven’t yet posted, or just stumbled across a new taxonomy-changing paper, please don’t hesitate to share them. The final deadline is October 20. The book is already 350+ pages long, and I hope it will become a useful source of information for years to come.


Vladimir Dinets

  1. vnsankar123 8 years ago

    In humboldt county ca, tish tang campground can sometimes turn up western spotted skunk as can willow creek airstrip. Box camp at the end of big hill rd in hoopa is good for snowshoe hare and there is a aplodontia colony in an alder thicket by a log arrangement near the road. Also a site called groves prairie nearby is quite good for northern flying squirrel, very near the main campground; horse mtn botanical area nearby is good for Douglas and w gray squirrel and Allen’s chipmunk, plus occasional snowshoe hare in the evenings.

    • John Fox 8 years ago

      Cool! I can’t think of a place that has been described as good for N Flying Squirrel. I need Siskiyou Chipmunk, that will make the trip all the better.

      • vnsankar 8 years ago

        If you do go up to Humboldt, do not hesitate to contact Rob Fowler. He is officially a birder but is very familiar with the mammals and has lots of connections in the Humboldt mammal scene – a friend of his informed him about the Aplodontia spot and told him of Groves Prairie for the flying squirrels (this site is quite remote). I went up there with him early this summer and found 2-3 within a couple of hours (1 in the trees at the campground near the bathroom, the other 1 or 2 just across the meadow in the Flammulated Owl spot). Birders who do owl banding up there apparently often have the squirrels fly into their nets!

      • Author
        Vladimir Dinets 8 years ago

        I have 16 sites for NFS listed in the book, but none are particularly reliable, so it’s great to finally have a good one. I think I’ll try to get there in the next couple weeks – sounds too interesting to miss, particularly the spotted skunk.

        vnsankar123, would you mind sending me your real name? My email is the same as my last name at That’s for the Acknowledgements part of the book.

      • Author
        Vladimir Dinets 8 years ago

        Also, do you have the contacts for flammulated owl banding? I’d love to participate!

    • vnsankar 8 years ago

      Regarding the Flammulated owl banding, you should contact Rob Fowler — I don’t think he did the banding himself, but he is very well connected in the Humboldt birding scene and knows people who have banded them very well. He might be able to get you some access to it. Groves Prairie is a good spot for the owl.

      If/when you do get to Humboldt, I would recommend you try Big Hill Rd/Hoopa (be sure to explore the Six Rivers forest roads towards Mill Creek Lake trail), Tish Tang Campground (regarding the skunks, you might have a decent chance now as the campground should be quiet), Horse Mountain (main botanical area – a good spot for Sooty Grouse too!), and Groves Prairie – you could probably get to all of these places in one (very late/long) day. Closer to the coast, there is another spot, Kane Rd (Azalea Nature Trail in Humboldt Lagoons SP) where I tried unsuccessfully for NFS. I saw a bunch of small rodents there that I suspect were Red-backed voles, so you may want to have a look there too – this site looked good for NW CA small mammals.

      Regarding my name, I’m Venkat Sankar. Please do to post a report on here if you get up there – I’m hoping to visit again next year!

      • John Fox 8 years ago

        Well, shoot, I need the skunk, the hare, and the owl, too. Booked a flight for Tuesday morning, maybe I’ll see you there V.

      • vnsankar 8 years ago

        One more obscure tip I forgot to mention: Hernandez Valley/Coalinga Road in far S San Benito/Fresno Counties is superb for Bobcat.

  2. John Fox 8 years ago

    Nickajack cave is 15 miles from downtown Chattanooga, TN and has some 100,000 Gray Bats. Maternity colony, evening emergence, it couldn’t be much easier with a boardwalk to a viewing platform.

    That’s all I can think of.

    • Author
      Vladimir Dinets 8 years ago

      Thanks! Got this one already. You can watch the gray myotis emergence at much closer range at Judges Cave near Marianna,FL, and at Sauta Cave, AL. In winter a few are often visible during regular tours of Mammoth Cave. The best place (also for Indiana myotis) is Wyandotte Caves in Indiana, but it is currently closed because of WNS.

  3. Curtis Hart 8 years ago

    The Au Sable River in Michigan is usually pretty good for Mink. I normally see 1-3 when I paddle it.

  4. vnsankar123 8 years ago

    A couple more things:
    Bear valley near pinnacles np for dipodomys venustus elephantinus.
    Panoche hills blm rd for all sorts of rodents; little panoche rd and panoche r w of panoche inn junction for heermanns k rat; panoche rd between creek crossing and jackass pass for giant kangaroo rat, 2 more k rats, pocket mice, grasshopper mouse, badger, kit fox, and antelope squirrel. Panoche rd between jackass pass and tumey hills blm visitor center for the squirrel too. Griswold canyon for pallid bat.

    • Author
      Vladimir Dinets 8 years ago

      Little Panoche Road is great – there is also a good area for San Joaquin k-rat just W of I-5 junction. This year it is much better than Carrizo Plain, which is almost a dead zone.

  5. sflamand 8 years ago

    I never sent in a report from Theodore Roosevelt National Park

    I visited the Southern Unit of the park. We were only there for about one day. For the most part we traveled the 36 mile loop road and walked a handful of trails. All of these animals were seen from the road.

    I drove the loop road 4 times, twice during the day and twice at night.

    Mammal List:
    Feral Horses
    White-tailed Deer
    Mule Deer
    Black-tailed Prairie Dogs
    Richardson’s Ground Squirrel (just outside of the park)

    • Author
      Vladimir Dinets 8 years ago

      Thanks! I’ve been there once, but only briefly and it was 16 years ago.

  6. stevebabbs 8 years ago

    I haven’t had chance to write up a recent trip to Yellowstone etc. But John Dixon, who I was with, has been writing a report on Birdforum.



    • Author
      Vladimir Dinets 8 years ago

      Nice trip report! The small rabbit on the photo looks suspiciously like a pygmy (note the lack of black ear tips), but was probably out of range (I couldn’t figure out from the text where exactly the photo was taken). Do you have any more photos of it, possibly showing the tail?

      • Farnborough John 8 years ago

        Photo was taken about three miles East of DuBois, in a river valley. I’d have thought considerably out of range for Pygmy Rabbit. My own feeling is that its a young Desert Cottontail (the ears do look broad) but I don’t know enough about pelage changes from infancy through adolescence to adulthood to be certain.



      • Author
        vdinets 8 years ago

        Yes, it is way out of range. Baby DC it is.

  7. John Fox 8 years ago

    FWIW, there was a Siskiyou Chipmunk at the Grayback Campground yesterday, about 10 miles short of the end of the road into Oregon Caves NM (Rt 46, I believe).

    Alpine Chipmunk was relatively easy at Saddlebags Lake, off the east end of Tioga Pass Rd today; quite a distinctive little guy. A Least Chipmunk was also there, and a third species on the road up that I didn’t get much of a look at.

    Willow Creek/Hoopa was a bust. I drove the tish tang campground in the afternoon and it was creepy. Their website says it closes at the end of September but the gate was open, not a soul around, the visitor center had all the windows broken out and there were heaps of trash at some campsites that had been there for weeks, by the looks of it.

    Groves Prairie probably requires at least a high clearance vehicle, the maps show it as a 4wd track. I saw the warning signs of “hidden obstacles” and it was 16 miles of it so I bailed in my rental sedan.

    Then a road delay, when we got to move a guy had rolled his truck over the edge of Rt 299 into the creek, if he had his seat belt on he probably lived, but …

    An hour plus spotlighting at the Willow Creek airstrip only had some Killdeer.

    I was keen to see Port Orford Cedar but I bailed on the whole area and never made it to Horse Mountain botanical area.

    • vnsankar 8 years ago

      Really sorry about this…

      I should have told you more precise info – the road to Groves Prairie is actually paved, albeit rather narrow, pretty much the whole way (only the last spur – a few hundred feet are dirt and perfectly doable in a rental sedan;) and there is a developed forest service campground at the end. I should have given coordinates (the meadow is in front – 40.9556899 N, 123.4847698 W) or something. The one thing I would be careful of going up there is getting lost – there are random paved forks everywhere.

      Horse Mtn BA and Big Hill Road are both really cool places, easily accessible with my light SUV (Lexus RX350), great for birds and mammals, and I reckon probably doable with a regular car (HMBA road is paved and 2-laned). If you ever find time to go back, please give this area another chance. I will also ask someone I know up there about the state of Tish Tang now too…

    • Author
      vdinets 8 years ago

      Are you sure about Alpine Chipmunk? I spent two weeks in Saddlebag Lake area last spring and didn’t see a single one; IUCN map shows the lake to be a few miles out of range. On the other hand, they could still be hibernating, and the habitat there looks perfect.

      • John Fox 8 years ago

        I’m fairly confident about it, small, the last third of the tail had black hairs, and different giss. Several years ago I emailed some chipmunk photos to a biologist who did his Phd work on chipmunks of the Sierra Nevadas and trapped along Tioga Pass Rd. I had found old records of Alpine on Tioga Pass Rd but he said they are gone from there and the best place was at Saddlebag Lake.

        No marmots there.

        • Author
          vdinets 8 years ago

          can’t believe I missed the buggers 🙁

    • Author
      vdinets 8 years ago

      BTW, did you see any marmots at Saddlebag? There were dozens in May, but none at all in September. In fact, marmots were absent or almost absent in September from a few other known “guaranteed” spots, so I wonder if their was a major die-off.

  8. Cheryl Antonucci 8 years ago

    John Fox – If you are still looking for Snowshoe hare and go to Washington in the summer again, Olympic National park had the easiest/best sighting I have ever had. The main trail from the visitor center leading up to hurricane ridge where all the marmots are is the place to look. Once the vegetation turns to fir trees (the subalpine area) maybe 5-10 minutes on the trail is where I watched one for easily 10 minutes under a tree at 10 am staring at me and acting non stressed, and a second went across the trail in front of us in this area as well. The person I was with told me she always sees them in that area in the morning. Supposedly the hares at the park stay brown year long there as well.

    • John Fox 8 years ago

      Thanks, Cheryl. I plan on trying for VI Marmot next summer, that should work out well.

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