Sunday, January 18, 2015

Best Tracks of Colchester Pond

The Keeping Track internship officially started for me this past Saturday at Colchester Pond, a beautiful area just east of Lake Champlain. Ice fishers were set up on the lake as we skirted the edge and headed into the forest.

Sue Morse does a number of wildlife monitoring trainings, generally one Saturday or Sunday a month from October through April. I covered myself in fleece, wool and down, stuck my toe warmers (thanks Mom!) into my boots, and tromped into the woods to support the class. It was a freakin' cold day. Stayed between -5 and -10 degrees most of the day, and we gave out all of our emergency down jackets and all my extra hand and toe warmers to participants. Despite the chill, we had a great time!

Here are my faves. If you want to guess you'll have to cover the captions!

Bear bite (anchors with upper canines on right side, pulls lower canines toward from left to right) on white birch--one of its favorite trees to scent mark

In a mixed conifer/hardwood forest above the lake. Yup, bird of prey lands, swooping up some small mammal. Sue saw this and said, "Often you can find innards or blood near wing marks like this," after which a student promptly reached into a hole in the snow (off the photo to the left) and pulled out the frozen, coagulated blood that I placed next to the ruler!!!

My first fisher tracks! A slow gallop or lope.

Closeup of fisher hind right foot. Note dropped toe one on left side, just as our own right thumb is the lowest digit on our right hand.

Peromyscus species...probably white-footed mouse who favors woodlands and is active in the winter
Strange gait, eh? I kinda flipped out when I spotted this 3-legged dog running on the ice. Glad to capture the trail.

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