Monday, November 23, 2009

Another Tiny Turtle

Lars can't resist posting this photo in response to Sue's photos. Taken on the 11th green this April 2009 in Stow. What do you get when you cross a turtle with a porcupine?

Snapper photos take 2

Here are fewer photos, so hopefully this will go through!

Snapping turtle photos

I (Sue) thought you might enjoy seeing these photos of a snapping turtle who visited my yard in June of 2007, crawled under a rock, dug a hole, and then walked out again. I don't think she laid any eggs there, but it was great to watch her.

Then on July 17, I took some pictures of a baby snapping turtle walking on Cruft Lane.

Later that month, I took some photos of a "toddler" snapping turtle walking on Cruft Lane.

Finally, here is a shot of another turtle nest that had been raided. The turtles always seem to lay some of their eggs in this spot, and each year, it is dug out.

This is my first time trying this, so if my attachments don't appear, I'll try again!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Shell Game

Lars was in the Stow Town Forest between Elizabeth Brook and the Assabet River. I came on an apparently raided clutch of eggs that a carnivore dug out of a sandy embankment of glacial till (SW facing). I counted about thirty eggs dug out of the hole. The hole was 12 x 12 in, and claw marks were visible along the back wall of the hole. Each egg (if whole) would be relatively oval and just less than 1 inch long. They are the consistency of something between a soft ping pong ball and very thin birch bark.

I was in relatively dry surroundings, about 100 yards from the brook. I wonder if it is more likely turtle than snake. Snapper? The site looked more raided than hatched, especially with the manner by which it was dug out.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Lars

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Beaver Crossing photos

Dan writes:

I brought my camera traps in prior to this past weekend's tropical
downpour. Otter Point, which had provided nice photos of three otters a
few weeks ago, didn't get much action. The highlight was a visit by two
shaggy white dogs, who focused in on the fishy scats near the shore.

I was disappointed in the photos, until I checked the camera I'd placed
at a new location, Beaver Crossing. (I'm going to adopt Sue Morse's
habit of giving cute names to every place I track) This spot is right
by the edge of the water, and it looked to me like beaver were starting
to build a scent mount there. I set up a camera focused on the small
pile of bottom muck, and waited.

When I went back to retrieve the camera, I wrote it off as a washout -
the mound hadn't gotten any bigger, and I didn't see any evidence that
animals had visited. When I looked at the photos, however, I realized
that this was a beaver highway!

Beaver and otter haul out of the water here. The pile of debris must
have accumulated from the animals as they exited the water. Raccoon and
red fox also got their photos taken as they worked their way along the
shore. Most of the photos were blurry, but I also recognized a mouse,
and possibly a weasel.

I've reset the camera at Beaver Crossing, and took some time to try to
determine why beaver were choosing this spot to come up on land. I
found an exposed pine root nearby that had been gnawed on, but very
little sign of fresh browse. The vegetation in the area, though, had
been hammered repeatedly in the past. I walked along the bank, and
every place I saw sign of recent beaver activity, the older vegetation
had stump-sprouted and showed significant brooming.

Tree quiz #2

In a forest in Northboro, there were many 1-2 ft diameter white pines
scattered among a variety of much younger deciduous trees. Almost every
large white pine had a forked trunks about 6-15 feet off the ground, as
shown above. What caused this? What does it tell you about the growing
conditions of these pines at the time the tree was affected?

(I'll admit I am not entirely sure I have the right answer. Maybe one
of you will know more about this.)

Tree quiz #1

I saw this tree in the woods in Northboro. What kind of tree is it?
How do you know? What is unusual about that? What is that feature an
adaptation to?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Who made that scat?

Dan writes:
Someone forwarded these photos to me, of a pile of scat they found near
their house in Carlisle. They want to know if this is evidence of the
return of the Carlisle bear. (There WAS a bear in this neighborhood a
year or two ago).

Do you think this is bear scat? If not, what could have made this pile?
What was for dinner?

Dan's guess: Coyote, feasting on apple, berries, and maybe someone's

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Otter Point photos

Dan writes:

I just brought in a camera from a new location, which I'm calling Otter
Point. A group of at least three otters haul out here to roll around
and drop telltale piles of fish scale scat. The camera captured otter
activity here on two consecutive nights, at 10PM, and (surprising to me)
at 5:30PM. The photos here were taken prior to setting the clocks back,
so if you're out roaming a wetland edge just before dusk, you've got a
chance to see otters.

Monday, November 2, 2009

OMG!!! Squirrelz!

Here are photos of that most elusive of Delaney predators, the grey
squirrel, carrying its hapless victim, an acorn, back to its den of
iniquity. Since it is standing in roughly the same location as the
mink/fisher [misher?] [fink?] I photographed earlier, you can use it as
a tape measure. (Which would be really helpful, until you realize that
Wikipedia claims the body length of a grey squirrel is 8-12 inches.)

Incidentally, my neighbor showed up for Halloween dressed as "boy being
attacked by squirrel". What a nut!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Mink, Raccoon, and Deer at Delaney

Dan writes:

I brought in one of my cameras after two weeks monitoring a narrow
channel in the Delaney wetlands. I had really hoped this channel was
being used by beaver and otter to take a shortcut between water bodies.
But so far all I've gotten are photos of raccoon, deer, and grey
squirrel. I did get one new visitor this time - looks like a mink to
me, but I suppose it could also be the tail end of a fisher. What do
you think?