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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How to find a tree vole's nest

I had the pleasure of meeting Lowell Diller and his staff last week at Green Diamond Resource Company.

This is California's NW coast: redwoods, Douglas fir and banana slugs, the rain forest.

Appropriately, it was raining.

Lowell gave me a lesson in finding tree vole nests.

Drive very slowly with your head out the window, one eye on the road, and one eye on the canopy.

Note: we were on a restricted dirt logging road.

Don't try it on winding roads with traffic, like the coast highway.

When you find what looks like a nest made of fir needles scope it out with binoculars to see if it is occupied.

A mass of brown Douglas fir needles means it is vacant. A spotted owl might have nailed the occupant, or the vole just moved on.

If it is littered with green sprigs of fir and green resin ducts you probably have an active nest.

Diller is a pro at it, but it didn't take long for the codger to catch on.

When I spotted the atypical nest below, I passed the final exam with flying colors.


JK said...

Yes! Yes! Yes! Let's plan a field trip and do this. Great tips and the pictures make it really clear.

Anonymous said...

I photographed a vole up in Limestone canyon. Now I know what a vole nest looks like. Thanks for sharing.

christian said...

hearty ditto to Jake's comment

owlman said...

Hey Codger
It was great having dinner with you and Shirley. We canceled our trip. Dave said you got the news.
I wish that I was with you that day but unfortunately it didn't happen. Next time for sure.

Camera Trap Codger said...

Okay, we're going to do it. I am working on some special mounts that will work up there and we need to get Reno to help us climb the trees safely. Though Christian might be able to reach some of them with stilts.

JK said...

Sounds good. Sorry for the juvenile pestering but this one sounds like too much fun to pass up.

randomtruth said...

Excellent Chris! A reco that you're probably already on top of - reduce the flash setting on your s600s for the sets. I've been trying that recently on some s600 short distance sets for rodents, and am getting great results, with almost no flash blowout, even at distances of less than 24 inches.