Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Intern Update

Hello All,

My name is Hannah Tillmann and I am one of the Hi Mountain summer interns. 

Our teams have been working hard for the past couple of weeks on small mammal
trapping, vegetation analysis and telemetry. We have been focusing our
mammal/vegetation efforts on 30 GPS locations situated in three major
ecosystems: oak woodland, riparian and chaparral. Finding the GPS points has
really let us get a feel for the land, and we have been enjoying finding new
trails, seeing wildlife and exploring. 

Our main focus for the mammal research is to document the species of small
mammals in the area and also to document the existence of a few species that are
not supposed to occur there (according to literature). We have already been
successful in one of these attempts, 5 specimens of Peromyscus boylii(brush
mouse) have been collected, this species has not previously been documented in
the area. These specimens (upon further genetic identification by Dr. V) will
prove that Peromyscus boylii does occur at Hi Mountain. When the summer is over,
we plan on adding all of our mammal data to the CNDDB (California Natural
Diversity Database) which is currently lacking in the Pozo/Lopez Lake/Santa
Margarita Lake small mammal department.

For those interested: here is a list of other mammals that we have trapped so
far: Peromyscus truei (Pinyon mouse), Peromyscus californicus (California
mouse) , Peromyscus maniculatus (deer mouse), Neotoma fuscepes (dusky-footed
woodrat), Neotoma lepida (desert woodrat), Neotoma macrotis (big-eared
woodrat), Chaetodipus californicus (spiney pocket mouse), Reithrodontomys
megalotis (Western Harvest Mouse), Thomomys sp. (Gopher), Microrus sp.
(Vole). We are hoping to get our hands on a few species of Dipodomes (kangaroo
rats) as well. 

We are also working on adding camera stations around the mountain in the hopes
to catch a glimpse of Bassariscus astutus (Ring-tailed cat), which historically
occurs in the area but has not been seen for quite some time. With in the next
few weeks the cameras should be up and if we find anything fun, the pictures
will be attached to future emails.

I have been keeping track of our "weekly highlights" in the Journal at the
lookout, but I wanted to add them to this page so everyone could hear them:

(1) First week of work: Grace Mannell (one of our interns) was sprayed by a
Coastal Horney Toad. FYI - Horney Toads spray blood out of their eyes and this
was quite a comical event (and no, this does not harm the animal).
(2) Second week of work: possible bobcat sighting on Hi Mountain road about 2
miles up the hill from the fire station.
(3) Third week of work: Humming bird seen on nest along Trout Creek Trail.

Stay posted for the feature issue of "A day in the life of Hi Mountain Interns
2011" to see what exactly we do all day.