New (very brief) Trip Report: Central California

I was in San Francisco for the Thanksgiving weekend and, after eating far more than I needed to, I waddled over to Muir Woods, just over the Golden Gate bridge the next morning. This was my third time there looking for Sonoma Chipmunks which are meant to be abundant (in fairness the first time it was foggy and stuffed full with very noisy tourists, the second it was closed because of a Government shutdown). But I saw them this time – a couple were just after the entrance gate at 8am. My last US Sciurid!

Tamias sonomae
Sonoma Chipmunk

I spent saturday afternoon and night around the Los Padres National Forest. Despite several hours of spotlighting along dirt roads looking for rodents I saw only one mouse cross the road. This was very different to Fiona Reid and Vladimir Dinet’s experience a couple of months earlier. Quite possibly because the temp was in the low 40s.

Although driving along the Naciemento-Ferguson road from the coast throught to Fort Hunter-Liggett was good with lots of California Ground Squirrels in the daytime and Mule Deer, Coyotes, Elk, Desert Cottontail and Feral Pigs after dark.

I set a few traps along the roadside between the military base and King City and caught a bunch of Deer and Brush Mice plus my first Big-eared Woodrat in one set of traps (with nothing in the rest). The rat refused to leave the trap into a bag so I pulled the pin to let it go.

Neotoma macrotis
Big-eared Woodrat

And the view wasn’t bad either.

Big Sure


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