Tracking with David Brown 14 January at Barre Falls Dam.
Use TRACKARDS FOR NORTH AMERICAN MAMMALS or other measuring tools and guides to identify Red Fox and other tracks.
Raccoon scat is often found at the base of a large tree since Eastern raccoons (Procyon lotor) depend upon vertical structures for sleeping and for climbing when they feel threatened. Look at the base of trees with rough bark, Beech trees are unsuitable due to their smooth bark.
Three otters, probably a female with two yearling cubs, February, in Hardwick.
This black squirrel in Hardwick is an Eastern Gray Squirrel that is melanistic ( an excess of dark pigmentation caused by a genetic mutation).
Leader Joe Choiniere at Blood Swamp, Rutland, 18 February.
Joe points out an example of geologic uncomformity in this boulder; two different types of rock seem welded together. Unconformities are gaps in the geologic rock record. They are surfaces of contact between older rocks and younger sedimentary rocks, formed due to erosion or lack of sediment deposition over extended periods of time.
One excellent feature of TRACKARDS is the inclusion of scat illustrations for identifying animal sign, such as the scat left behind by a Gray Fox.
Raccoon scat with embedded crustacean fragments. DO NOT break apart or closely examine without breathing protection. The larvae of the Baylisascaris procyonis roundworm, which can be contained in the feces and seldom causes a severe illness in humans, can be ingested when cleaning raccoon latrines or examining scat without wearing breathing protection.
Lichens add color to the winter landscape. Fallen tree branches are covered with with leafy foliose lichens and shrubby fruticose lichens. Their properties are sometimes plant-like, but lichens are not plants. A truly complex organism, lichen is a composite form that arises from algae or cyanobacteria living among filaments of multiple fungi in a symbiotic relationship. It's complicated and fascinating!