RFI: Washington, DC

Hi all,

I’ll have a couple of free days in the DC area at the end of May. Wondering if anyone has any tips on mammals in the area. My main targets would be Southern Flying Squirrel, Allegheny Cottontail, and Allegheny Woodrat. Thinking of trying Long Branch Nature Center (will the Southern Flying Squirrels be there?) and Woodstock Tower. Thanks!

Also, any tips for Big-eared Woodrat, Puma, and Ringtail within an hour of Monterey (Cone Peak and Nacimiento-Ferguson Rd are too far for me)? I’ll be there this weekend and am thinking of trying Tassajara Road/the nearby area.



  • vdinets

    I know a site for puma near Monterey, but some trespassing is required. I’ll email you the details. Also, contact Don Robertson (http://creagrus.home.montereybay.com/index.html), he is very knowledgeable about Monterey County.

    • vdinets

      Also, the squirrels will still be at Long Branch, but the feeders will not be operational, so your chances will be only slightly better than in any other Eastern forest.

    • vnsankar

      Thanks for the Santa Lucia info Vladimir. I went out last night, originally planning to drive up to past China Camp on Tassajara Road to look for Big-eared and Intermediate Woodrats, Puma, Ringtail, California Pocket Mouse, Brush and California Mice, and Narrow-faced K-rat, then visit Hastings for the same rodents (except N. intermedia), Puma, and Western Spotted Skunk (they den in road culverts in Hastings).

      In the end, I bailed on Tassjara at the Los Padres NF boundary (the road started getting muddy in switchbacks, with big puddles in the ruts), and spent a couple hours at Hastings looking for stuff by road and on foot. I saw a Big-eared Woodrat, a Narrow-faced K-rat, and a Brush Mouse as well as a bunch of Deer and a Striped Skunk. So not a bad evening. 🙂

  • John Fox

    Test, this hasn’t been working lately.

  • John Fox

    OK, sorry about that.

    You can smear some peanut butter on the trees next to the boxes, the squirrels may well come to it even in May. The people who work there are incredibly friendly.

    Buteo Books is about 20 miles south of Charlottesville, VA. The owner has had Allegheny Woodrats living under his house for the last 20 years, on and off, and knew about people nearby who had them in their outbuildings. Curtis Hart and I met there and the resident woodrat was gone, but we found an active nest/burrow in a rocky slope right beside the road. Maybe he has the GPS coordinates. If not I might be able to work it out on a map. The rat came out right at dusk.

    Buteo Books, coincidentally, carries just about every field guide ever published, including mammals, and is a lot of fun to visit for the books.

    • vnsankar

      Thanks John. I was really hoping you’d reply as I know you’re an expert on this area. Any tips for the cottontail (I got the Woodstock Tower info from one of your posts from a few years back actually)?

    • cmh78

      I had the GPS coordinates, but that GPS died and they weren’t backed up.

  • John Fox

    The type locality for the cottontail is Dolly Sods in WV, I looked there and many other places where it was reported. It is just random as far as I know, I was very surprised to see the animal at Woodstock Tower.

    Townsend’s Big-eared Bats are easy at Hellhole Cave in WV, but I figure you have that from their western range.

    Good luck

  • vnsankar

    Thanks for all the help. In the end, I had much less time than I thought I would – actually only a free evening. I thought about making the long drive out to Buteo Books or even risk it closer by going to Woodstock Tower but in the end I just spent some time checking out sites for Southern Flying Squirrel near Arlington. In the end, I heard 2 Southern Flying Squirrels very well at Long Branch Nature Center (around the parking area) and got very brief looks at one. A species I’d like to see again…

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