Another exciting week of tracking trips and camera surveys! Lots of beautiful scenery, carnivore tracks (and more!) and plenty of visitors to the cameras.
A Cascadia Wild member was on an independent trip near Tilly Jane this past week and came across some very interesting tracks - BEAR! It's almost January, so finding these tracks came as a bit of a surprise. As you can see, there's no arguing with that ID!
Thank you to this individual who is adding to the knowledge of bears in our area and providing this interesting insight into when bears might go into hibernation. Typically, bears begin hibernating when the first snow begins to fall and food starts becoming scarce.
Bobcat (below) near Tilly Jane
Devil's Half Acre came back with a mystery after their trip this weekend. Was it a squirrel? A weasel? A squeasel!?
While it is difficult to tell, it is possible that these tracks were left by a weasel. It is a jumping pattern of two prints together, with a large stride and a narrow trail width. With squirrels, one would expect to see a bit wider trail width (picture the way their hind legs come around the outside of the front legs when they hop). However, with weasels one would expect to see one foot slightly in front of the other in the pair, which is not apparent in the photo. What do you think?
The trip to White River enjoyed incredible scenery and took some breathtaking photos despite the lack of carnivore tracks left for them to find.
WILDLIFE CAMERA FINDINGS
A red fox visited the Glade camera! We unexpectedly got a photo of a fox near this location last year. Originally it was thought that the foxes mostly used the alpine-forest interface, but these photos continue to show that they are using high elevation forest areas regularly as well.
A rabbit also visited Glade only once during the set, but spent long enough that we could get quite a few clear photos of it.
Meadows was visited by a marten:
A mouse and a bushy tailed woodrat take turns at the bait at Bear Springs Far...
Until a weasel shows up and claims it for itself (perhaps with a few challenges from the mouse!) The weasel visited day and night for the duration of the set.
Additionally at Bear Springs Far, some coyote tracks were found in the area from an individual who came very close but didn't approach the camera close enough for photos.
(Trail pattern below)
Don't forget to check out all of the full photo sets on GoogleDocs
THANK YOU to all of our supporters!
Lots of fun stuff going on over the past week! Tracking Trips went out over the weekend and we have photos from our cameras at Hazel Hollow, Little Zig Zag, Clear Lake, Alpine, and Yellowjacket East and West. Stay warm out there!
Remember: The pictures that you bring back from the wildlife cameras will be posted to Google Drive for you to look at. (the Flickr page will no longer be used.)
It sure has been beautiful for the latest tracking trips! There have been some nice tracks found on the camera trips too, like the perfect squirrel track below.
Looks snowy and beautiful at the Crosstown Trail at Government Camp!
Voles/Mice, Squirrel, and Snowshoe Hare all left tracks for us to find.
Wildlife Camera Findings
Lots of bobcats and marten have been seen lately! Additionally, lots of elk, deer, and multiple types of birds. Check out the full sets on googledocs.
A bobcat leaves a clear track in the snow at Alpine.
A marten at Little Zig Zag
Lots of birds
It looks like we're not the only ones watching this elk!
THANK YOU to all of our supporters!
Wildlife Camera Findings
We're off to an incredible start! Already a Sierra Nevada red fox has visited the camera at Meadows. Here are the highlights, below. Watch our social media pages for more pictures, and check out the full sets on googledocs. We think they're especially fun this week!
An investigative fox at Meadows
A coyote made regular circles around the bait at Meadows, a buck visits Hazel Hollow #2
A buck intently watches a nearby doe...and the chase is on!
The summer season has come to an end. Thanks to all your help, we were able to get new information on 3 different target species, as well many other carnivores.
A wolf pack is now confirmed to be on the Warm Springs Reservation. They also utilize parts of the Mt Hood National Forest, as seen in the photo below. Now that the pack is established, the questions become: will they be able to survive in the area long term and where will they disperse to next? We now need to keep on eye on the rest of the forest and see where they show up next!
Sierra Nevada Red Fox
Two cameras got Sierra Nevada red fox detections this summer, Lambertson Butte and Meadows West. The photo from Lambertson Butte went unnoticed until recently - the fox passed quickly and only left this one blurry photo. But that is enough!
The Meadows West camera detected two different individuals when it was up last winter, based on their coat color. The pictures this summer could be one of the same individuals.
Here are the two individuals from the winter:
And here's the pictures from this summer:
From the grid of cameras we had in the Meadows area, one tentative conclusion is that these fox prefer the higher elevation locations, at least during the summer.
Marten are known to live in high elevation, closed canopy forest, and their pictures from Lambertson Butte, Newton Upper, Meadows Ski Lift, Meadows West, and Meadows Buildings confirm this. But this summer we also got one unusal sighting - from Lemiti Creek! This site borders the Ollallie Lakes area, where they are known to live, but the site itself is in a young lodgepole pine forest that is still recovering from a severe burn. It has a thick regenerating layer of trees less than 10 ftt tall, but hardly any large trees at all. The camera only picked up one picture before it failed for the rest of the summer. Too bad! It would be great to know more about this individual.
Here's a marten from the camera near Mt Hood Meadows Resort:
And here's the one blurry picture from Lemiti Creek:
Here's the final tally of what we found this summer.
The winner for the greatest number of species goes to Jackpot Meadows, and the winner for the least number of species - but still getting a target species - is tied between Lemiti Creek, Newton Upper, and Meadows Ski Lift.
Having so much information on many different species, for many years, has creeated a great opportunity to detect any changes to the wildlife community now that wolves have moved in. We look forward to continuing the study in the years to come!
Thank you all for a great season!!