Thursday, December 30, 2010

Gray Fox Sit Site

Had a great hike today in Petersham at the Brooks Woodland Preserve. We came across a huge boulder upon which a gray fox had climbed. Its tracks show that it descended, then sat for a bit on the edge before jumping off. Although I failed to get a photo of the unmistakable prints, I did snap a shot of the sit print. (That's my camera case on the right side, for scale.) Also in evidence were lots and lots of deer sign, and mustelid tracks aplenty, including weasel, mink and fisher. I'm attaching a photo of classic mink-on-the-hunt tracks along the edge of the Swift River.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What a Drag - Part 2

Lars has added photos from the "What a Drag!" site. I privately quizzed Janet with these first two photos included here because I was uncertain regarding the animal. I was struck by the roundish nature of the print and wondered about bobcat. Again, this is in the Heath Hen conservation area on Boxboro Rd/Flagg Hill Pond in Stow. The site of this added track is about 30 feet from the dragging print. The area is newly regrown forest next to an open meadow and a large apple orchard. There were rabbit prints and even more squirrel prints. I had followed the drag track but could not find a kill site. The drag track came from the meadow and orchard.

I'd love people's thoughts to put together this mystery. I like Janet's idea of bobcat dining on bunny or squirrel. See her comments on the previous post. I like spending time on/around Flagg Hill Pond in the winter with my skis on the ice. I see lots of fisher, otter (when I can tell the difference), mink, fox, coyote and deer.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What a drag!

Lars was XC skiing in Heath Hen Meadow, Boxboro Rd, Stow today. This track crossed the main path, came from a meadow and went off for a distance into the woods, dragging what? Hmmm. Any ideas?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Delaney Otters!

Dan writes:
One benefit of having a dog along when tracking is that they tend to be
drawn to interesting scents in the woods. So far this month Teddy has
lead me two bird kills (where only a wing remains) that I probably would
have walked past if he hadn't swerved to investigate.

Video of wildlife checking out the first bird kill can be viewed here:
Gray and Red Fox feeding video

In today's photo sequence, a pair of river otter emerge from the river
to relieve themselves on the shore, before continuing their night-time

The next morning when we walked up to check on the camera,
Teddy was photographed with his nose right where the otter had left scat
the night before.

p.s. These photos were taken with the Moultrie game cameras we'll be
using in my camera trapping course in February. I'm pretty impressed
with the image quality and ease-of-use of these cameras!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Curious 'Coon

This little guy couldn't resist checking out the alien camera attached to the stump at the edge of his pond. It was my goal to get a shot or two of the resident muskrats, but they proved more elusive. Stay tuned; I'm still trying.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Who made this scat?

Dan writes:

OK, trackers, here's a scat identification puzzle for you. What animal
made this scat? (Disclaimer: Like with most scat, I can't be 100%
certain of the identification, but we can still discuss what it could
be, and why.)


That's my adult-male-large glove, for scale. My gloved fingers are
about an inch in diameter.

We found several of these hair-filled scats right in the center of the
path, over about 100 feet of trail, at a saddle in the ridge line.

After finding these scats, I spent the rest of the hike looking for
tracks or other sign to confirm my ID. The only fresh tracks I could
find all turned out to be large domestic dog.

There were trailhead signs telling us about this animal (and about feral

This photo was taken on our pre-Thanksgiving hike, above Lake Sonoma in
Healdsburg, California.

Final hint: we saw another mammal in this "family" at Pier 39 in San
Francisco earlier this week.

Happy tracking! We're off to Yosemite next week, so stay tuned for a
"What animal broke into this rental car and stole my Twinkies?" quiz soon!