To all those interested in the natural world. Please add your sightings.

In the woods we return to reason and faith-Emerson


Sunday, January 30, 2011

1.30.11 There weren't a lot of animal tracks where I went snowshoeing today, but I found these two woodpecker holes in beech trees which serve as caches providing easy winter access well above the snow line.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fiercely insectivorous Short-tailed Shrews - which normally eke out and extremely tenuous winter time living under the snow pack - have found easy times in the crawl spaces and stone work under my house. Shelter from the wind, warmer temperatures and prey species can all be found there. Short-tailed shrews eat mostly invertebrates but they also eat larger prey such as other shrews and mice. The saliva of short-tailed shrews is venomous and its bite paralyzes prey species before it eats them. These shrews are very common and they are very fierce; they don't willingly share their territories ... yet they seem to be proliferating under my floors.
That's okay. I don't begrudge them the space, and they keep invertebrate levels in check.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

This morning during the snow storm this mink was hunting around my house and barn, and even under the barn. It circled the house at least twice, often within 1 to 2 feet. It was into and out of all of my stone walls.
Strangely enough I first spotted it coming down out of one of my big old locust trees. I think it was the first time I ever saw a mink up a tree.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

In Westminster, I came upon a deer that was completely eaten by coyotes, even the bones. First is the area of the kill with 10 feet long of just deer hair, and then the remaining parts which is only the skin (pelt). On the other side of the road, I came upon tracks where 4 coyotes were hunting together.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

1.02.11 The river otter I've been following for 2 years is making his rounds of the local ponds again. Today I followed his track as he bounded and slid from one pond to another about one-half mile away. It followed a mostly-open brook, occasionally dipping in and out, but mainly took the snow-slide option. It terminated at a previously-used dugout, making many muddy tracks in and out. If I'm lucky someday, I'll get to see more than tracks!
A small flock of robins was feeding with starlings on the morning of 12-31. They were all eating bittersweet and, I assume, broadcasting its seeds
This morning I saw a Carolina wren near the house of one of my neighbors. Carolina wrens are among the southern species that are expanding their range north.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

I was in Guilford and I started following a deer path and noticed there was blood in the snow. It was not from the leg, but from the center--between the tracks. Then I found what I think is where the deer had a miscarriage. You just never know what you'll find.