25 Nov 2016, Diary of a batman

25 November 2016 entry: ‘Diary of a batman’
I am beginning a series of nature blogs as a way to combine my interest in nature with my need for a creative outlet (rather than dust off my guitar, which is not very ‘naturey’). I will call these blogs simply ‘diary of a batman’, which is of course borrowed from the hit album ‘Diary of a Madman’ by Ozzy Osbourne – kind of fitting for an odd bat biologist raised in the UK on heavy metal music of the early 1980s. I have considered calling it ‘against the grain’, a term that can characterize the life of a bat biologist, which is often isolating/insular and can be pretty lonely. Please note I will mostly use common names when referring to plants and animals, and please excuse any typos, grammatical errors, or mistaken names, places etc that will probably pervade my blogs.

My 1st blog focuses on an upcoming field trip where on Monday, 28 November 2016, the San Diego Natural History Museum (SDNHM) birds and mammals (BnM) department embarks on a Grinnellian resurvey of an eastern portion of the Mojave National Preserve. Specifically, we will be near a site called ‘South Granite Well’ located north of I-40 (Essex) and east of the Providence Mountains. This site is characterized by an odd plateau like geological feature – some of our research target areas include Borrego Canyon, Cave Spring, and an isolated cattle trough that I will be mist netting at for bats. Our team this time around consists of Mr. Phil Unitt (curator of the SDNHM BnM dept), Mr. Scott Tremor (SDNHM mammologist), Dr. Howard Thomas (SDNHM research associate and published east coast mammologist – and Vietnam veteran dog handler, which is particularly cool in my opinion), Ms. Leah Squires (ornithologist and Mr. Unitt’s field assistant), and myself (SDNHM bat specialist).

This is my 1st field trip on this project. The SDNHM BnM team have been on several field trips in 2016 and have already observed what appear to be significant changes from the era of the Grinnell survey team. In particular, in this area is the noticeable reduction of Pinon-Juniper habitat and a very large increase in Joshua Trees – a species apparently declining in southern California but not here in the eastern Mojave. There have been unexpected bird observations, most notably the presence of what appears to be a good population of the Gilded Flicker. This is a rare species endangered in California, but they appear to be undergoing a westward expansion from Arizona into these parts, or so the ornithologists suggest. At this time of year (dead of winter) I am only hopeful that there may be a few western pipistrelles and California myotis active and nettable at the trough, but there is also the extremely exciting potential to catch a spotted bat – known to visit isolated water sources in the high desert – but not sure about here in late November….fingers crossed. Perhaps even more exciting to me is the prospect of seeing the American Porcupine – a species known from these parts and very cool, cute, and cuddly-‘looking’ – of course they would not be very cuddly.

Publicado por dcstokes dcstokes, 25 de noviembre de 2016

Comentarios

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Very cool! Looking forward to learning about your findings in the preserve!

Publicado por cabrillonationalm... hace casi 4 años (Marca)
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Thanks for checking it out!

Publicado por dcstokes hace casi 4 años (Marca)

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