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Deb Robson and Tussah

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March 21, 2011


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Janice in GA

How neat! We rarely have enough snow to be able to see tracks like that. There's a little creek on one of my regular routes where I can go and see tracks in the mud on the banks though. I see raccoon, possum and deer tracks (those are the ones I recognize, mostly.)

I'd've been poking at some of that scat (esp the larger piles) with a stick to see if I could tease out any recognizable components. :)

Deer poop does look kinda like chocolate covered raisins. Patrick McManus has a funny story about that in one of his books. :)

Deb Robson

In the neighborhood where I live (as opposed to this one, where Im an occasional visitor), we have squirrels, raccoons, and foxes. Lots of all of those, even in the (small) city. We get occasional bears right in town (theyre lost, but we still get them), deer in the foothills, and rare mountain lion sightings along the edges.

I didnt do more than quick pictures because I needed to both walk and get back to work {grin}. Im also more inclined by nature to observe than poke. Whatever that says about me.

Susan J. Tweit

I'll make a stab at a few. Photo 1: Did you see individual tracks in the larger wallowing pattern? It looks a bit like snowshoe hare "dancing" on their hind feet. Photo 2: Looks a lot like a bounding snowshoe hare. Photo 4: Definitely deer. Photo 6: Coyote hearing a mouse or vole beneath the snow and pouncing on it (partial digging). Probably the same with photo 7 and 10. Photo 11: The small tracks were probably a shrew, because of their size and direct course. And they probably were not laid at the same time as the larger tracks! Photo 12: Definitely deer scat. Photo 13: Looks like weathered domestic dog to me (very consistent texture and color, which usually means some kind of manufactured food). Photos 18 and 19: Most likely moose scat, unless each pellet had one concave and one convex end, in which case it was elk. Fun stuff!

Deb Robson

Susan, thanks so much! This is, indeed, great fun. I especially like the snowshoe hare, the digging coyotes, and the probable shrew.

Ive added your comments below the photos so I can see which comments correlate with which sign, and I put in my responses to the questions you had about what I saw (on images 1 and 18/19).

Susan J. Tweit

Deb, I should have added that I think you're right about the canine tracks being coyote (you're too high for fox and they don't look big enough for wolves, which have wandered through that part of the state). Also, the big pile in photo 20 could be a marking station for a domestic dog that stops regularly there to denote its territory. Fun stuff!

Deb Robson

Thanks, Susan, for the coyote confirmation on my various canine tracks. Fox are normal where I usually live. Id wondered about wolves: we certainly dont see them, but have had at least one that I know of, in years past, come through.

I do wonder about that huge pile in photo 20. A very LARGE domestic dog, in addition to a consistent one. As weve seen, I do know a very large domestic dog who is sometimes in the area, but . . . well, I walk him, and thats not his sign. So I wonder who else is up there? None heard or seen during my two recent weeks at this location, other than the Pyr/Newf/Golden, who was there for only two days at the end of the second week.


I really appreciate your help in reading these marks!

Susan J. Tweit

Deb, The big pile could also be a bear marking post, but the scat doesn't look right. (From what I can make out, it's much too consistent in texture and color for bear.) But it's hard to tell without seeing it and being able to dissect it a bit... ;~)

Deb Robson

Maybe that big pile will still be there next time Im in the mountains, Susan! Then I could take the next step and poke at it some. It did seem to be significantly older than the other stuff I was looking at.


Couldn't help but think, on seeing the 1/25 Photo 1 "Hmm. Looks like it could be a cable or lace pattern". Obviously, I'm actually jealous that you got snow, when just a bit "down the mountain" at my place, we've had nothing.
Still think those tracks loo like a neat cable pattern

Deb Robson

I love that cable idea, Kris. Perhaps thats why Im drawn to the tracks? It was a lovely snow indeed. Wish we could have shared.

Deborah Robson

I have discovered a wonderful book that I plan to take with me the next time I'm in the mountains. I found it at the library, and it's beautifully written, photographed, and designed. It's Tracking and the Art of Seeing: How to Read Animal Tracks and Sign, by Paul Rezendes (second edition). There's information on Rezendes' website, http://www.paulrezendes.com/books.php#books . I took out most of the library's books on tracking as they became available. This one showed up last: I had to wait because it had been checked out. With very good reason. Rezendes is wholistic in his approach to tracking and reading sign. His philosophy, photos, and text would be worth knowing separately. Together? Fantastic.

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