Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lotta Sign

Last week's light snowfall provided the perfect substrate for tracking at Chelmsford/Carlisle Cranberry Bog Reservation; 1st up was an otter trail emerging from a ridge of pine saplings; a daunting upland passage between wetlands. Likely a bold, roving male. I've only found a run at this ridge once since the early 90's. The tracks soon vanished in a tangle of cattails & thin ice.

Next was a rare find in these woods, gray fox. It held up briefly & left assortment of prints.

Last, a couple of mink pairing up. Their prints were found carousing throughout the Res.

One of the better tracking days this winter...


  1. Nice tracks...although of course I have to question if that otter is really a fisher.

    Mink seem to use the 3-4 gait more often than the smaller weasels do, which seem to prefer the 2-2 bound (that is, in my not so vast experience). And it often seems to have a boxy, discrete grouping, just like we see with otters.

    That boxy 3-4 pattern might be less efficient in snow than a direct registering 2-2, and slower than the fisher's more spread out, aerodynamic 3-4. I wonder if this means that, in evolving to a more aquatic lifestyle, mink and otter have lost some efficiency for moving on land, as compared to their more terrestrial cousins. Just rambling....

  2. No doubt this was otter; as I only included the best print pics & left out 3 belly slides, due to upload limits...

    Here's a shot--

  3. Nice to see an otter moving so deliberately. You are right, must be a wise old dude (or getting old like me.) I have followed fisher tracks that end in a sort of slide into the snow, but usually there are two fishers about and I figure the sliding has to do with mating or male posturing