Snow Tracks

10 Feb

Not long after I posted about birds enduring the winter I looked out the back window of my office and saw more evidence of birds doing just that.

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The snowdrifts have gotten so deep that the turkeys, who normally root around on the ground looking for their food have taken to hanging out underneath our bird feeders at all hours of the day to get the sunflower seeds dropped by the other birds.

My friend Shawna pointed out the circles of melted snow around the base of the trees here.  Because the darker trees absorb sunlight they radiate enough heat around them that the snow melts.  (On a sort of related note, there’s a spiffy article about the color of snow here.)

Later that day I set out on snowshoes looking for more signs of life.

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At first all I could find was the occasional squirrel tracks, starting at one tree and ending at another.

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Then I found teeny-tiny rodent tracks boldly trailing out on top of the snow.  I wonder what this little guy thought was worth risking coming out beneath the protective layer of snow for?

However, this is the track that really caught my attention.

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Snow had fallen in the tracks making it hard to see the footprint.  It was even harder to get a good picture of them in the fading light but here’s my best attempt:

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(note to self, next time bring something better for showing scale)

I’m reasonably certain it’s a fox, but we have tons of feral cats here and I can’t quite rule one of them out.  I’m hoping my friends Grace and Mary might be able to assist me with a positive id.

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Whatever it was they had a thing for checking out the base of trees.

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The tracks continued across a steep section of gully.  I debated whether it was worth climbing down into it.  I’m glad I did because I was not expecting what I found next.

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There were at least two other sets of tracks at the entrance to the den making think it was still being occupied.  Rather than disturb this critter anymore when the snow was deep and food scarce, I climbed out of the gully and headed back as the sun went down.

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I left my own set of tracks for them to wonder about.

~Robin

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One Response to “Snow Tracks”

  1. shawna February 13, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

    you have an office? 😉 nice blogging, looks like we’ll have a way to keep track of you after all.

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