Back at it again

Finally, my first visit to my spot which I haven’t visited since last semester. It’s been a long while since I’ve visited my old friend, who seems to be holding up far better than I had expected. I assume that my tree died recently before I met her, and that is the reason that she hasn’t rotted through and fallen. Though, in her death, she’s created an ecosystem at the base of her trunk, full of buds and rotting leaves becoming homes for small creatures.

After revisiting my spot and getting reacquainted with my area, picking up on the small changes, I went on the prowl for tracks, and happily spent nearly an hour following the tracks of a variety of small creatures. Surprisingly enough, I was able to identify a few before even looking at my identification guide, and after documenting each print and taking pictures, I went home and researched. Tracking is something I’ve truly always wanted to learn, and I was pleasantly surprised to realize that a bunch of other animals like my sitspot as much as I do.

The first tracks (showcased as the first set of tracks when scrolling down my most recent post) I found to be that of a mink. The footprints were about an inch in length, with tail marks trailing the footprints, which was the deciding factor for me to rule out a gray fox. While this could very well be a weasel as I could not get a clear enough track to see claw imprints, my guess based on size is that this is a mink.

The next tracks on my post Kayla and I found to be a potential altercation between a white footed mouse and either a red fox or a fisher based on the claw prints, shape, size, and dietary habits, though based on the spacing between the claws and the pads, we guessed that this is the tracks of a red fox. The blood in the footprint of a single red fox track led us to believe that maybe the mouse was taken down by the fox, or that the fox was carrying prey from a kill farther away that dripped blood onto the snow. The mouse had a series of frantic tracks, though these weren’t in succession with the tracks of the fox, which caused some confusion for us in our deducing. Though, we had quite the time coming up with stories behind the mysterious blood drip found in the toe of a fox print.

Using similar deduction skills as shown above, I went about exploring more tracks and creating more hypothesis as to who could have left them, and I found what I believe to be some tracks from an opossum, a woodchuck, and a white-tailed deer. We even found the entrance to a subnivean zone that the mouse (if it had in fact escaped the fox) would have escaped to.

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