When I got to Salmon Hole today, the first thing I noticed was the new change in water level. The last time I went, it had just rained for an entire week and the water level had dramatically increased to cover much more of the shoreline and the rocks jutting out into the river. Today, those rocks were mostly uncovered (they were aggressive rapids two weeks ago) but still had some water going over them, and the newly un-submerged banks were still very wet. Some underwater bushes as well as my own memory indicate that the water level has yet to return to how it was at the beginning of fall, though I would not expect that to happen until the summertime. The receding water has created a relatively steep decline to the water, and there is a lot of driftwood on that incline.
At the very beginning of my visit, I had a young woodpecker pointed out to me, drilling a hole in the large snag closest to the water. This woodpecker was very small and fluffy, leading me to believe that it was probably very young. I have not seen an actual woodpecker at my site yet, just signs of their presence, so this was very exciting for me.
Unfortunately, the warmer temperatures of the last few days and the resulting rain melted most of the snow, but there was enough left that I was able to find some animal tracks. The most ubiquitous tracks were these I found, I believe they are of a coyote based on the mammal scat/tracks guide I used. Salmon Hole is also heavily trafficked by people with dogs, so I was careful to not misidentify dog tracks as coyote tracks, but based on the research I did about the two, I identified a major difference that helped me distinguish the tracks present.
The metacarpal pad on dogs does not have a center lobe at the bottom, and thus has three rounded points. A coyote’s metacarpal pad has a center lobe out in the same spot, resulting in four rounded points. Also, the center two toes on coyotes are closer together than that of most dogs. I am not totally confident as I have little experience in tracking, but I feel pretty good about the distinctions I have identified.