Paul Smelter's Diary
Mammals of Nova Scotia

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July 8, 2009: Mammals in the sky and on the ground

Picnic Last night we went bat hunting (by sound) on the local bat population in Cherry Hill. We used a sound echo machine to listen to the sound recording of the little brown bat. There weren't many bats out, but enough to get an idea of what they sound like through the sound machine. We will try again tonight after a meal at Chris & Christina's house. Before we go there we have more field work to do, checking traps and doing more work on the boardwalk. Today our team captured a chipmunk and a vole in the morning and another vole in the afternoon. Much to our surprise, one team finally captured a field mouse. This was the first one in the two weeks of trapping, so you can imagine the elation from not only us but from our research leaders!!! In the afternoon we built some more boardwalk and cut up some old wood to assist in making the pathway a little easier to get through. This area is still under water. The women in the team went off to widen the pathway in Cook's Lake so as to get cars up as far as they can in order to build a new equipment storage shed. The type of critters we are capturing are different from other years. This could be due to the cooler weather. The numbers we have captured are different from the last team's. Both Chris and Christina have said we have placed our traps in just the right positions to trap mice, but they seem not to be using them. It's very odd for there to be so many chipmunks and voles (and the odd shrew or red squirrel) in our traps. It will take more years of research to determine whether this change is significant, whether it correlates with the weather, and whether that in turn is trackable to climate change.

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Paul Smelter, maintenance technician Pt Henry smelter, Victoria, Australia